Wexler plans to meet with reporters Wednesday morning in Boca Raton to detail his next move. A Democratic source with knowledge of Wexler’s plans said the seven-term congressman is likely to take a public policy job that deals with the Middle East. The job does not involve working for the Obama administration and does not involve lobbying.
It's not clear what job he'll be taking, though Spencer Ackerman at The Washington Independent speculates it could be U.S. Ambassador to Israel or head of USAID (though both of those, it seems, would be "working for the Obama administration", counter to Sun-Sentinel's report).
Losing Wexler will be a loss to progressive Democrats in the House given his historic tenacity on any number of issues, from taking on the nonsense of the Clinton Impeachment, to fighting for the responsible Bush Impeachment, to fighting for electoral integrity in the state of Florida. That'll be one less bulldog with a "D" by his name, unfortunately, in a House that could use a lot more of 'em.
UPDATE:Miami Herald's coverage is now here and similarly points to the issues we mentioned above. They offer no additional details, however, on either Wexler's future plans or the specific reason for his surprise resignation.
LATER UPDATE: Miami Herald updates their report (same link as the above), to report: "In a conference call Tuesday night with Democratic leaders, Wexler said he will become director of the Washington-based Center for Middle East Peace and Economic Cooperation."
UPDATE 10/14/09: Wexler's official statement is now here. Though questions are still percolating as to the real reasons behind this move. TPM offers a round-up of a few opinions of note, the general consensus so far being his interest in helping to move Obama's Mideast peace effort forward. But the question of why he couldn't have done so from his "dream-job" (as he described it back in January) in Congress still remains a bit of a mystery at this hour.
I should say first off I don't have a dog in the hunt. I support neither Obama nor Clinton in this nomination race and couldn't tell you now whether I'd vote for either of them next November. I've stated long ago that both of those candidates have plenty of supporters, so I'll be supporting the voters this year, since they don't have nearly enough support.
With that said, this morning's meeting in the DNC Rules & Bylaws Committee (RBC) has been an interesting one to watch. All sides in the unfortunate matters of fighting over how to seat (or not) the delegations from Florida and Michigan at this year's national convention have argued smartly for their various cases.
But where the DNC's RBC is concerned --- no matter which candidate the various members of the committee may already be on record as supporting in general --- there should be only one consideration in their ultimate decision: what will be best for the party itself and whichever candidate ends up being their nominee.
Everyone at today's meeting spoke in general consensus that party unity is key. If that's truly their belief, then every side in the dispute needs to place unification first as the top priority for any final rulings on whether and how to seat the MI and FL delegations at the Democratic Convention.
To that end, the version for those with short attention spans: The party must agree to the Florida compromise which nets a 19 delegate advantage for Clinton while giving delegates at the convention a 50% vote. They must also agree to the Michigan state party's compromise of awarding the Michigan delegates 69/59 in Clinton's favor with a 50% vote at the convention.
And while it's not necessarily germane to the decisions being made by the DNC RBC today, Rep. Robert Wexler of Florida should be made Barack Obama's Vice Presidential nominee.
For the longer explanation of the above, please read on...
VIDEO UPDATE - Wexler on Floor: 'Not since Watergate has a President so blatantly ignored the will of Congress...The Constitution demands that we hold these renegade officials in contempt of Congress'...
Buried by a number of other things today, we refer you to Paul Kiel's coverage with a note that Harry Reid's Senate has yet to hold a floor vote on similar contempt citations against Karl Rove and Josh Bolten, as recommended to him by a bi-partisan Senate Judiciary Committee vote last December...
Well, after all that --- after seven months, it's done. The House passed the contempt resolution against White House chief of staff Josh Bolten and Harriet Miers, 223-32. Most Republicans, having staged their walk out, did not vote.
So now the ball's in Attorney General Michael Mukasey's court. He's expected to decline to enforce the citation of contempt, since both Bolten and Miers declined to testify as a result of an assertion of executive privilege.
The resolution included both a criminal contempt citation and the authorization for the House Judiciary Committee to sue the White House if Mukasey refuses to enforce the citation. You can read those here.
UPDATE: Our favorite House member of late, Rep. Robert Wexler (D-FL), speaks in favor of the contempt resolution for a minute and a half. Video at right, full statement below...
Madame Speaker, no one is immune from accountability and the rule of law. Not Harriet Miers or Josh Bolten. And especially not President Bush or Vice-President Cheney. It is high time to defend the Constitution and Congress as a co-equal branch of Government. Our liberty and freedoms as Americans are dependent on the checks and balances that protect our nation.
Not since Watergate...Not since Watergate has a President so openly disregarded the will of Congress. Josh Bolten and Harriet Miers have blatantly ignored Congressional subpoenas, thumbing their nose at Congress and our obligation of legitimate oversight. The power of the Congressional subpoena safeguards our liberty. It protects against an all-powerful President. The Constitution demands that we hold these renegade officials in contempt of Congress. Thank you Madame Chair, Madame Speaker.
In an incredibly heated exchange today during a U.S. House hearing (see video at left) Rep. Robert Wexler (D-FL) grilled Sec. of State Condoleeza Rice on whether she ever saw pre-war intelligence that countered the administration's claims that Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction in Iraq.
In a statement just released by his office, Wexler says she "falsely testified" in response to his questions...
Golly, if only the Democrats had had any idea that AG Michael Mukasey would turn out to be such a stooge for the Bush Administration, maybe they wouldn't have confirmed him. Oh, wait. Yeah, we recall something about that coming up before the Dems decided to give this guy the job anyway.
At right is just one sample from Mukasey's testimony today, answering (or not) Robert Wexler's questions asking if he's been given White House instructions on whether or not he may enforce Contempt of Congress citations. He takes the time to apparently make up a few "facts" along the way while dodging Wexler's questions.
David Swanson reports...
Mukasey said that he would not investigate torture (video) or warrantless spying (video), he would not enforce contempt citations (video), and he would treat Justice Department opinions as providing immunity for crimes (report).
...before he goes on to offer some interesting information suggesting that John Conyers may be "on Edge of Starting Impeachment Hearings" after today's testimony. Whether that happens or not, Swanson offers contact information so that you can weigh in to the Chairman with your opinion on Impeachment (which is, after all, his Constitutional duty, for those of you keeping score at home.)
The Justice Department's Office of Professional Responsibility (OPR) is attempting to build a case of misconduct against Alberto Gonzales by showing that the former attorney general may have played a hands-on role in ousting former New Mexico US Attorney David Iglesias based on pressure he received from former White House political adviser Karl Rove, according to several individuals familiar with the agency's probe.
Succumbing to improper political pressure in firing a US attorney would constitute a violation of Justice Department policy.
Recently, the OPR contacted Iglesias's former executive assistant, Rumaldo Armijo, to interview him about whether he was pressured by Pat Rogers, a Republican attorney in Albuquerque, and Mickey Barnett, a Republican lobbyist, to bring charges of voter fraud against Democrats in the state, individuals with knowledge of the scope of the OPR probe said.
Rogers was affiliated with the American Center for Voting Rights, a now defunct non-profit organization that sought to defend voter rights and increase public confidence in the fairness and outcome of elections. However, it has since emerged that the organization played a major role in suppressing the votes of people who intended to cast ballots for Democrats in various states. Rogers is also the former chief counsel to the New Mexico state Republican party, and was tapped by Sen. Pete Domenici (R-New Mexico) to replace Iglesias as US Attorney for New Mexico.
In an interview with Truthout in May, Iglesias said he had investigated so-called voter fraud allegations and found zero evidence to support the claims. He added that, based on evidence that had surfaced thus far and "Karl Rove's obsession with voter fraud issues throughout the country," he now believes GOP operatives had wanted him to go after Democratic-funded organizations in an attempt to swing the 2006 midterm elections to Republicans.
The BRAD BLOG has, of course, been following the GOP's voter suppression scam, headed by the so-called "American Center for Voting Rights" (ACVR) for years, ever since we first outed them as a phony GOP front group back in March of 2005. See our ACVR Special Coverage page for the entire sordid mess.
As well, in March of 2007, we ran exclusive comments from John Boyd, one of the top Democratic attorneys in New Mexico, who offered his first hand account of the pressure being brought to bear on Iglesias by Republicans in the state to bring phony charges of Democratic "voter fraud" as far back as prior to the 2004 election.
A review of Boyd's insider perspective is instructive, to say the least, particularly as we head into 2008 when disingenuous cries of "voter fraud" will be heard from Republicanists from coast to coast --- as long as they don't concern Ann Coulter's own voter fraud --- and as the U.S. Supreme Court prepares to hear a key case on Photo ID polling place restrictions, described by the Century Foundation's Tova Andrea Wang, in her year-end column, "The Best and Worst of 2007: Voting Rights and Elections," to be "a far more important decision than Bush v. Gore ever was."
But with the continuing --- some might say, snail's paced --- OPR criminal investigation of Gonzales, we should note that the probe, as mentioned above, at least can be said to be moving forward in some fashion. Unfortunately, that's a far cry more than we can say for the job the Democrats are doing in bringing accountability via the U.S. Congress after a full year on the job.
Even the New York Times, in an editorial over the holiday, called on the lackluster Dems to get their act in gear, calling for "a full investigation into the misconduct that may have occurred," in the U.S. Attorney Purge scandal, adding that "it needs to be investigated vigorously and completely."
Then, unfortunately, they offer readers the bad news...
The Reno Gazette Journal reports on Rep. Dennis Kucinich's (D-OH) announcement that he intends to file Articles of Impeachment very shortly against George W. Bush...
"On the way over here, I was reading a 50-page document that relates to Articles of Impeachment for the President of the United States," Kucinich said to a standing ovation. "And I want you to know that I'm actually preparing this document for submission to the House."
The BRAD BLOG can confirm recent efforts by Kucinich's office to prepare such a document. We cannot yet confirm when it will be filed in the U.S. House, but we're told it may be quite soon.
In the meantime, Rep. Robert Wexler (D-FL) demonstrated that he understands both the U.S. Constitution and American politics, by offering this lesson to his fellow Democrats at a speech last week in Florida. (RAW STORY has the short video):
"The way we pass stem-cell research, the way we get implemented a children's health care plan, the way we get higher CAFE [corporate average fuel economy] standards to bring our energy debacle into a better condition for generations to come is to have impeachment hearings," Wexler said, appearing to nearly run out breath at one point during his speech. "Because that'll get the president's eye. That'll get the vice president's eye. That for the first time will show that the Democratic majority is here, and that in fact we have the courage of our convictions, and that we're not bound to be tied by conventional wisdom."
Wexler said that impeachment hearings weren't just an option available to Congress, but a requirement.
"This administration has abused its power in office...and it is the obligation --- not discretionary --- but it is the obligation of this Congress to investigate," he said. "And that's what I and some of my colleagues are beginning to call for."
"If we want to stop Iran from becoming a nuclear power, we need to become more popular. If we want to avoid a traumatic split between Sunnis and Shiites that endangers further our national security, we need to become more popular...If we want to engage with the Chinese in a more beneficial way, we need to become more popular."
"Let me tell you one more thing those impeachment hearings will do," he concluded. "It'll make America more popular."
"I urge the Judiciary Committee to schedule impeachment hearings immediately and not let this issue languish as it has over the last six months," Wexler stated at the time. "Only through hearings can we begin to correct the abuses of Dick Cheney and the Bush Administration; and, if it is determined in these hearings that Vice President Cheney has committed High Crimes and Misdemeanors, he should be impeached and removed from office."
As reported in full by David Swanson, in the wake of yesterday's wild ride (and game of chicken) on the House floor concerning the privileged resolution filed by Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-OH), calling for the Impeachment of Dick Cheney.
The following is from a letter sent to constituents today by Rep. Robert Wexler (D-FL), a member of the House Judiciary Committee, where the matter has been sent again. Wexler is calling for the committee "to schedule impeachment hearings immediately and not let this issue languish as it has over the last six months."...
I share your belief that Vice President Cheney must answer for his deceptive actions in office, particularly with regard to the preparations for the Iraq war and the revelation of the identity of covert agent Valerie Plame Wilson as part of political retribution against her husband. That is why I voted against the motion to table debate on H.Res. 333. Along with only 85 other Democrats, I opposed tabling the measure and supported beginning immediate debate and a vote on the Cheney impeachment resolution. The vote on tabling the Kucinich resolution was rejected, and the House subsequently voted to refer the matter to the Judiciary Committee.
The American people are served well with a legitimate and thorough impeachment inquiry. I will urge the Judiciary Committee to schedule impeachment hearings immediately and not let this issue languish as it has over the last six months. Only through hearings can we bring begin to correct the abuses of Dick Cheney and the Bush Administration; and, if it is determined in these hearings that Vice President Cheney has committed High Crimes and Misdemeanors, he should be impeached and removed from office.