Monday, November 2, 2009

Two Contracts in Mississippi

Disgraced U.S. Attorney Jim Greenlee of the Northern District of Mississippi, who ethnically targeted "Islamic-name sounding" convenience store owners and fumbled the ball 27 times in a high profile criminal prostitution case, has won the ultimate prize: political stupidity.

According to Main Justice, in January, Greenlee signed off on rewarding former Assistant U.S. Attorney Tom Dawson with a six-month, secret contract only days after he retired.

Some months beforehand, as early as the summer of 2008, while attending an Ole Miss football game, Dawson also met with Republican blogger Alan Lange of Y'All Politics, according to a local Oxford, Mississippi newspaper. (These are the two authors we told you about last week who are cashing in and seeing green.)

According to Main Justice, at some point in the summer of 2008, Dawson, who was still an Assistant U.S. Attorney, discussed the book project with Lange. Then, at some undisclosed point in time, the two agreed to write a book and later signed a book contract.

What are they going to write about? The prosecution of Democratic Mississippi fund-raiser Paul Minor and those Mississippi Democratic trial lawyers and others involved in the Scruggs bribery cases.

And who was the lead prosecutor in those cases? Tom Dawson. Who appeared to be planning, outlining, and thinking about writing a book while still serving as an AUSA and/or USA consultant? Tom Dawson.

Main Justice writes:

The circumstances of Dawson’s employment with the Northern District of Mississippi office were unusual, raising questions about whether he may have skirted Justice Department ethics rules when he began discussing the book project with Lange last summer. Dawson officially retired on Jan. 2, after nearly 36 years as a prosecutor. But he returned to the office on Jan. 15 under contract, working part time behind the scenes on ongoing Scruggs-related investigations until early June.

“It wouldn’t be any conflict necessarily because it was only about two days a week,” [Dawson] said. “But just to remove any criticism of that, I decided to cease the contract.” According to the Justice Department, Dawson was a part-time consultant from Jan. 15 to June 7. His contract originally was to run through the end of June. Justice Department ethics rules advise employees wishing to undertake writing projects to be “cautious to avoid any conflict of interest with their position and to ensure that no interference with the performance of their official duties occurs.”
Looks like Dawson's conscience finally got to him!

Greenlee and his friends in the Rove Republican Racket have been attacked and criticized (including by this blog) for turning the U.S. Department of Justice into the political arm of the Republican Party and now there is proof in the pudding.

We hope Greenlee's irregular and secret contract to a moonlighting writer/active prosecutor--who was joined at the hip to a right-wing blogger a year ago--ignites renewed Congressional scrutiny and catches the ear of U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder.