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Maybe I ought to reconsider my opinion of Alcee Hastings...

There's been a lot of talk about Alcee Hastings, the Representative who is likely to end up chairing the House Select Committee on Intelligence after the Democrats formally take over. Hastings is being backed by Speaker Presumptive Nancy Pelosi, who is giving in to the Congressional Black Caucus, who in turn is upset over the treatment of William Jefferson Clinton, the Louisiana Congressman who was caught with $90,000 in his freezer and commandeered a National Guard unit during Katrina to rescue possessions from his home.

A lot of people -- myself included -- are deeply troubled by the likely ascension of Hastings. Considering that the Democrats ran on a "end the culture of corruption" plank (among others), the notion of putting in charge of such a sensitive committee a man who was impeached and removed from his judgeship for corruption is quite disturbing.

Hastings' defenders point out that the impeachment only removed Hastings from office; Congress could have also banned him from ever holding public office, but did not. Also, Hastings was tried and acquitted of criminal charges, when another defendant refused to testify against him.

Well, Boston-area columnist, talk-show host, and gadfly Howie Carr has been taking a look at the Hastings mess, and spotted a familiar name. It turns out that the seldom-named retired FBI agent who went undercover as a gangster in the investigation was one H. Paul Rico, and the reason he was so good at playing a gangster was that he had been one.

Rico was one of the several Boston-area FBI agents who were part of the biggest black eye the FBI has ever experienced. While telling their bosses that they had recruited James "Whitey" Bulger as an informant, they were in reality on Whitey's payroll and helping him wipe out his enemies and maintain his iron grip on crime in Boston. They also kept Whitey out of trouble, tipping him off about investigations and even framing his rivals for crimes they didn't commit -- some even spending decades in prison.

In the big scheme of things, Rico's involvement in Hastings' downfall is probably little more than an ironic footnote. But regardless of Rico's other crimes, it seems that his conduct in the Hastings matter was pretty much aboveboard, and Hastings' removal from office was more than justified.

It's just a damned shame that Congress (which, by the way, was Democratically-controlled, and several of the big figures in the House today voted to remove him back in 1989 didn't take the further step of banning him from public office as well.


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Comments (13)

"...Alcee Hastings, the ... (Below threshold)

"...Alcee Hastings, the Representative who is likely to end up chairing the House Select Committee on Intelligence after the Democrats formally take over. Hastings is being backed by Speaker Presumptive Nancy Pelosi..."

And we saw how much Pelosi's backing meant to Murtha, right?

Oh wait -- reality is "off the table" at this blog. My bad...

No, Lee, if I were to say c... (Below threshold)

No, Lee, if I were to say conclusively that Hastings will get the slot, THEN you'd have grounds for your typical whining. But as the Murtha brouhaha demonstrated, the Dems are as astonishingly inept at running things as expected. Nice to see they're wasting no time in living down to so many's expectations...


"But as the Murtha brouh... (Below threshold)

"But as the Murtha brouhaha demonstrated, the Dems are as astonishingly inept at running things as expected"

What are you talking about, Jay? The "brouhaha" was a creation of the fact-challenged right! The actual selection and vote by Democrats was correct, and Murtha was rejected.

OOPS! More reality - sorry. I have to get this penchant for the truth under control or I will never be accepted by conservatives....

Lee...in this case Pelosi g... (Below threshold)

Lee...in this case Pelosi gets to CHOOSE...not vote gets taken.

This will be PURE "S.F. Values" if she DOES choose Hastings. But if she DOES, then the Republicans and EVERY REMAINING Decomcrat with a f**king brain needs to fight him being seated!

And if the rest of the House is not able to block him being seated, then the President needs to instruct our Intelligence agencies to restrict the information they pass to the Hill.

Time to go to the matresses!!

Lee, just what "facts" were... (Below threshold)

Lee, just what "facts" were challengeable? That a lot of people had very little faith in Murtha as Majority Leader, and somehow the Right managed to sway a vote that was restricted to just the Democratic members of the House? Or did someone manage to move Okinawa several thousand miles west while I was asleep?

Is it time to bring out Karl Rove and Halliburton, and blame THEM for Hoyer's election?

Put up or shut up, Lee, you whiny little git.


Hey someone else knows old ... (Below threshold)

Hey someone else knows old "pucker puss" (lee lee) for what he is!!!

"...Lee, you whiny li... (Below threshold)

"...Lee, you whiny little git."

I do love a well-turned, and ACCURATE, phrase!!

"That a lot of people ha... (Below threshold)

"That a lot of people had very little faith in Murtha as Majority Leader, and somehow the Right managed to sway a vote that was restricted to just the Democratic members of the House?"

Pompous assitude not withstanding, Mr. Tea, do you conservatives really believe anyone outside of the conservoblog echo-chamber listens and reacts to the criticism of you wingnuts?

Didn't the last election teach you anything about the sway conservatives have over the American political scene today?

Deep, displaced delusions of grandeur... no surprise there. It starts in the White House and works its way down. You clowns will be the last to figure it out, but that's par for the course.

Can someone help me out her... (Below threshold)

Can someone help me out here? First off Lee seemed to say that the right wing kept Murtha out of the majority leadership, then he says that we're all a bunch of impotent yelpers...

It's kind of like how George W. Bush is the biggest moron on the face of the earth, AND an evil genius... or how both rising and falling oil prices are a cynical plot to help the Republicans.


Jay Tea, please just ban Le... (Below threshold)

Jay Tea, please just ban Lee. He's been a pest ever since he came to this blog. I'd have no problem with him if he were a real critic of the posts on Wizbang, but he takes the opposite stance every time just to cause trouble.

Really, does he contribute anything to the discussions? More often than not he hijacks the comments and distracts everyone from the real point. I'm getting sick of it.

It's just you, Jay. I said ... (Below threshold)

It's just you, Jay. I said the brouhaha stemmed largely in the minds of conservatives. I never gave conservatives credit for keeping Murtha out. Quite the opposite, Democrats did the right thing when the vote came.

Do you really believe that conservatives hold sway over how Democrats vote in Congress?!?! This goes back to my "delusion of granduer" comment, which you probably fail to understand as well.

Lee, let's back things up a... (Below threshold)

Lee, let's back things up and actually deal with reality for a change. Hope it's not too much of a shock.

1) Pelosi garners enough support to feel pretty comfortable acting as the next Speaker.

2) Pelosi announces her favored candidates for various positions, including John Murtha for majority leader.

3) House Dems resoundingly spank Murtha.

4) Pelosi intimates that she will appoint Hastings head of Intelligence Committee.

5) Hastings is one of only a handful of judges to be impeached and removed from office.

6) Pelosi is skipping over another Democrat with seniority over Hastings -- Jane Harman -- because of petty, personal, vindictive reasons.

6A) Harman opposed Pelosi several years ago on a political matter, and this is Pelosi's form of "payback."

6B) The Black Congressional Caucus is pushing Hastings as a form of "reparations" for the investigation and (presumptive) downfall of Representative William Jefferson over serious corruption allegations.

I'm finding it tremendously entertaining to watch the Democratic majority self-destruct before it even takes office. Pelosi can't get her choice as Majority Leader, her committee chairmen (whom she appoints without any oversight) are already turning into disasters (Hastings, as above, and Rangel's push for a draft), and in the Senate, they're having to kiss Joe Lieberman's ass after spending months kicking it.

And not a Republican is anywhere near these slow-motion train wrecks. It's entirely self-inflicted.

Oh, and Lee: my incoming representative is a Democrat, so I think I'm entitled to discuss the matter.


Alcee Hastings came out tod... (Below threshold)

Alcee Hastings came out today defending himself saying he would make the nation proud if he served as Chairman of the IC.

The man is rotten to the core. I'm surprised his current ethics violations aren't coming to light. For example the way he pays his employees: Over 100k per year to a "staff assistant" (a disbarred lawyer) who defended him during his bribery case, who he owes hundreds of thousands to in legal fees. How about that for transfering your debts to the taxpayer?







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