Impeached judge may chair House Intelligence Committee
By Jim Kouri
The scuttlebutt circulating in Washington, DC is that Florida Rep. Alcee Hastings may become the next chairman of the House of Representative's Intelligence Committee. The Congressional Black Caucus has been pressuring the new House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to appoint blacks to key leadership positions and Hastings may benefit from the pressure on the radical left Pelosi.
Besides Pelosi isn't too happy with the ranking committee member, Rep. Jane Harman. Harman's cooperation with the House Republicans to secure the US angered Pelosi with her San Francisco counterculture mentality.
But anyone who knows Rep. Hastings' history should be afraid -- very afraid -- of having him so close to national security secrets.
Alcee Hastings is currently a member of the powerful House Rules Committee and is a senior member of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence (HPSCI). On the HPSCI, Hastings is the ranking Democratic member of the Subcommittee on Terrorism and Homeland Security.
The terrorism subcommittee is the primary committee in Congress which has direct oversight of the programs and activities of the intelligence community that relate to US homeland security and to counterterrorism, including capabilities, resources, policies and procedures (he has said the Patriot Act is unacceptable). As a senior Democratic whip, Hastings is an influential member of the Democratic leadership.
Prior to his election to congress, Hastings worked as a private-practice attorney, a civil rights activist, and a Florida judge. Appointed by President Jimmy Carter in 1979, he became the first African-American federal judge in the state of Florida, and served in that position for ten years. He's still called "Judge" by some of his colleagues, but one would think he'd rather forget his days on the federal bench.
In 1989, Judge Hastings was impeached by the US House of Representatives for bribery and perjury. The Democratic-controlled Senate convicted Hastings of accepting a $150,000 bribe in 1981 in exchange for a lenient sentence and of perjury in his testimony about the case. Hastings said the charges against him smacked of racism.
He distinguished himself by being only the sixth Judge in US history to be removed from office by the US Senate. So damning was the evidence against him that Rep. John Conyers (D-MI), a founding member of the CBC, favored impeaching him.
Conyers, who is also black, said he "found no trace of racism during the investigation." He urged his colleagues to remove Hastings from the bench. He said, "[Hastings] is unfit to serve."
His impeachment was remanded back to the Senate by Judge Stanley Sporkin after Hastings filed lawsuit claiming that his impeachment trial was invalid because he was tried by a Senate committee, not in front of the full Senate, and that he had been acquitted in a criminal trial.
But the US Supreme Court had ruled in a similar case, regarding Judge Walter Nixon, who had also been impeached and removed. The SCOTUS stated that the courts had no jurisdiction to review Senate impeachment procedures and Hastings' impeachment and removal were reinstated. The Senate had the option to forbid Hastings from ever seeking federal office again when it removed him, but did not do so. Which opened the door for Hastings to get himself elected to Congress.
An editorial in South Florida Sun-Sentinel denounced Rep. Hastings with this tidbit: "Personal and political paybacks are the first order of business for Hastings."
The biting editorial resulted from Hastings putting his girlfriend, a disgraced former lawyer who was disbarred by the Florida Supreme Court for "multiple offenses," on the public payroll as his "office liaison and staff assistant."
According to the Sentinel, Alcee Hastings owed her "more than $500,000 in legal fees for representing him during his 1983 bribery trial and his 1989 impeachment hearings before Congress." Alcee Hastings continues to employ her as his scheduling assistant, paying her more money than even his chief of staff gets, causing another reporter to comment, "She must be some scheduler."
And Rep.Hastings treated his scheduler Vanessa Griddine to many perks. For instance, he spent over $14,000 on a taxpayer-paid trip to Belgium. Almost $3000 of this was listed as per diem expenses for the lucky couple and 11,400 was spent on what must have been a marvelous flight across the pond.
Upon returning from the junket, Hastings told reporters that he was very concerned that the House Ethics Committee had not taken Rep. Tom DeLay's case more seriously.
According to journalist James Joyner, several moderate-to-conservative Democrats in the House, who spoke on the condition of anonymity for fear of fraying party unity, specifically mentioned two members they had problems with: Hastings and his fellow Black Caucus member John Conyers who'll take over as chairman of the House judiciary committee.
In addition, Rep. Charles Rangel of New York will become the chairman of the House Appropriations Committee, making it three top committees to be headed by left-wing members of the Congressional Black Caucus. According to one Democrat, race-baiting during congressional elections is paying off bigtime thanks to Speaker Pelosi.
However, the Hastings chairmanship should raise a lot of eyebrows within the Beltway and one can only hope the Republicans become vocal about their objections.
Pelosi is under enormous pressure from the CBC to elevate Hasting, according to Joyner. Yet the idea of putting this sleazebag in a position where he would be privy to the most sensitive national security secrets is untenable. If nothing else, it would virtually ensure that the Bush administration, already ridiculously paranoid about sharing information that Congress rightfully should have in order to conduct its oversight duties, would be even more reticent.
The fact that Hastings is being seriously considered for such a sensitive position and the mainstream news media don't appear outraged adds to the enormous amount of evidence that the MSM are lapdogs for the Democrats. Imagine if Republican Speaker Dennis Hastert appointed an impeached judge to a key committee chairmanship. Would not that be tied into the mantra "a culture of corruption" by the elite news media?
Jim Kouri, CPP is currently fifth vice-president of the National Association of Chiefs of Police and he's a staff writer for the New Media Alliance. He's former chief at a New York City housing project in Washington Heights nicknamed "Crack City" by reporters covering the drug war in the 1980s. In addition, he served as director of public safety at a New Jersey university and director of security for several major organizations.Â He's also served on the National Drug Task Force and trained police and security officers throughout the country. Â Kouri writes for many police and security magazines including Chief of Police, Police Times, The Narc Officer and others. He's a news writer for TheConservativeVoice.Com and PHXnews.com. He's also a columnist for AmericanDaily.Com, MensNewsDaily.Com, MichNews.Com, and he's syndicated by AXcessNews.Com. He's appeared as on-air commentator for over 100 TV and radio news and talk shows including Oprah, McLaughlin Report, CNN Headline News, MTV, Fox News, etc. His book Assume The Position is available at Amazon.Com. Kouri's own website is located at http://jimkouri.us.