Barbara Comstock, Defender of the Indefensible


    Cross-posted at Daily Kos

    Barbara Comstock, who wants to be the 10th District’s chief lawmaker, has a fatal attraction to law-breakers.  She has literally made a career of defending Republicans guilty of crimes, corruption, even treason.  And by “defending”, I don’t mean saying a few nice things about — I mean creating and leading big legal defense funds and PR campaigns aimed to keep these crooks out of jail.  

    Don’t believe me?  Here are two names to recall from the recent past: “Scooter” Libby and Tom De Lay.

    Exhibit A: I. Lewis “Scooter” Libby, Dick Cheney’s Chief of Staff, was notorious for leaking the name of undercover CIA agent Valerie Plame in 2003 — to punish her husband for revealing the faulty intelligence underlying George Bush’s claims that Saddam Hussein’s Iraq had weapons of mass destruction.  With this act of political retribution, the man threatened the lives of agents in the field.

    So who stepped forward to “mastermind the Scooter Libby defense committee”?  None other than Comstock, “a corporate lobbyist and Bush loyalist bearing checks with Libby’s name on them.”  

    But she was just helping a friend defend his innocence, right? No, actually the very guilty Libby was convicted on four counts.

    But at least she did this all out in the open, right?  Well, not exactly:

    The fund is not obliged under the law to disclose any details, including the number of donors, their identities or the amounts given. Barbara Comstock, a Republican communications strategist and an official of the fund, declined to disclose any of those details, except to say that there had been “hundreds of individuals.”

    Well that’s helpful!

    Exhibit B: Tom Delay:There are few people who’ve done more to create the current poisoned, unproductive, hyperpartisan atmosphere in Washington than Tom Delay.  As House Majority Leader (2003-2005), he worked to build a Republican majority by any means necessary, legal or…not so much.  

    His severe abuse of campaign finance laws began to catch up with him when he was censured by the House Ethics Committee in 2004 for giving special treatment to energy donors and for trying to get Federal agencies to intervene in a Texas state dispute kicked off by GOP efforts to conduct a mid-decade gerrymander of state Congressional districts.

    The latter dispute also led to his indictment on very serious charges including conspiracy and money laundering, based on his illegal funneling of big donations to Texas state GOP candidates.  

    Wait, a sleazy Republican leader in ethics trouble?  Sounds like a job for…Comstock!

    DeLay staff members are linking with outside lawyers — including Barbara Comstock, former research director of the Republican National Committee — to form what is essentially a campaign organization aimed at minimizing damage to DeLay and building support despite what they believe will be a continuing torrent of news stories about his travel, fundraising and dealings with lobbyists.

    A “campaign organization” indeed, for which Comstock;

    – Was identified as “head of DeLay’s PR offensive”;

    – Went on CNN’s Crosstalk to defend DeLay;

    – Made personal attacks on the judge responsible for DeLay’s indictment;

    -Blamed it all on DeLay’s enemies, who she called “sore losers”;

    – Offered up irrelevant hypotheticals to try to excuse DeLay’s illegal funneling of Federal campaign contributions to state politicians.  

    Indeed, this whirlwind of activity — as well as her career since then — has shown that Comstock is a tough, smart, energetic opponent.  The sad part is that she has chosen to use these gifts in the service of defending corruption and promoting obfuscation and hyperpartisanship.  

    Tom DeLay, like Scooter Libby, was convicted and sentenced to prison for his crimes.  (A Texas appeals court overturned this conviction last year, although the case is still under appeal.)

    So this history of strenuously supporting ultraconservative rogues raises a few questions that need to be asked of Comstock:

    1. Does she believe in any definition of right and wrong outside of partisan politics?  Or does she believe that her side is always right, even when they break the law?

    2. Does she still believe that Libby and DeLay were right?

    3. If she is elected to the House and Republican leaders engage in ethical misconduct, which will she put first, her loyalty to them — or her duty to the law?

    Based on her history, should we expect her to represent the interests of the people of Virginia — or those of the most dishonest slimeballs in Washington?  Examine the evidence, and then you make the call.


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