Impeach Haley Barbour

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katrina barbour.jpg
Americans want a good impeachment, but the will is just not there yet to seriously go after the President or Vice President.
But what about Haley Barbour?
Mississippi Governor Haley Barbour — former Chairman of the Republican National Committee — would be a great exercise in impeachment for the numerous Katrina-related ethics violations and beyond that he has been party to. Here is the impeachment clause from the Constitution of the State of Mississippi.
Bloomberg’s Timothy Burger deserves a Pulitzer for all that he is digging up in the muck of the Haley Barbour administration’s contracting decisions in the wake of Hurricane Katrina.
Burger writes on August 15th:

Many Mississippians have benefited from Governor Haley Barbour’s efforts to rebuild the state’s devastated Gulf Coast in the two years since Hurricane Katrina. The $15 billion or more in federal aid the former Republican national chairman attracted has reopened casinos and helped residents move to new or repaired homes.
Among the beneficiaries are Barbour’s own family and friends, who have earned hundreds of thousands of dollars from hurricane-related business. A nephew, one of two who are lobbyists, saw his fees more than double in the year after his uncle appointed him to a special reconstruction panel. Federal Bureau of Investigation agents in June raided a company owned by the wife of a third nephew, which maintained federal emergency-management trailers.
Meanwhile, the governor’s own former lobbying firm, which he says is still making payments to him, has represented at least four clients with business linked to the recovery.

To take Barbour’s ethics blurriness a few notches further, it appears that Barbour has had a Bill Frist like problem of not being blind about what was inside his blind trust. According to Burger in an article just out today:

When Haley Barbour was sworn in as governor of Mississippi in 2004, he set up a blind trust to avoid conflicts of interest and said he had severed ties with the Washington lobbying firm he co-founded.
The blind trust document he signed about six weeks later says that on Jan. 13, 2004, the day he took office, Barbour still had a stake worth $786,666 in the publicly traded parent company of Barbour Griffith & Rogers Inc., as well as pension and profit-sharing plan benefits from the lobby firm.
A copy of the notarized trust agreement, obtained from an individual who requested anonymity, says Barbour receives $25,000 per month, or $300,000 a year, from it. He lists the trust in his annual Mississippi ethics filing as his only source of income outside his $122,160 salary as governor.
Barbour, 59, a former Republican National Committee chairman, has refused to discuss his personal finances. His attorney, Ed Brunini Jr., said in a statement yesterday that “the provisions of his blind trust are fully appropriate and legal under Mississippi law.” Brunini alleged that the disclosure of the information was unlawful. Barbour spokesman Pete Smith said Brunini’s statement would have the governor’s approval.
It couldn’t be learned what, if any, interest Barbour had in Barbour Griffith when the members of the firm lobbied the state last year in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina two years ago. The minimal disclosure required by Mississippi law contrasts with federal executive-branch rules that individuals who set up blind trusts report publicly their initial holdings and what they are worth, within ranges.

What we have here is that some times Barbour has made statements that he did hold an equity position in the parent company of Barbour, Griffith and Rogers — now very much in the news for its representation of the Iraq political ambitions of former Iraq Interim Prime Minister Ayad Allawi — and at other times he said he had severed all ties to the firm but was getting a “retirement payment.”
As former head of the firm, he must have known that there was no retirement from BGR, but that he was receiving a kick-out, or dividend, of $25,000/month from his so-called blind trust that was coming out of the growth, gains and principal of whatever equity positions his trust held.
This is important because there is already enough in the public domain to show that Governor Barbour knew that he had an ongoing stake in the work of his former lobbying firm — which “cleaned up” along with many of his family members in the Washington-provided recovery funds after Katrina.
Haley Barbour has flown over the public ethics line in the past as well. The case I am most familiar with and which was investigated by Congressman Henry Waxman’s Government Oversight committee involved Barbour setting up in 1993 a non-profit 501(c)3 organization called the National Policy Forum (NPF).
Barbour allegedly used NPF as a vehicle for funnelling $800,000 in foreign money into the 1996 election cycle after having used NPF as the same kind of vehicle in 1994 congressional races.
The Internal Revenue Service eventually ruled that the NPF was a subsidiary of the Republican National Committee and not entitled ot tax-exempt status. Barbour’s partner in this enterprise when Barbour was serving as Chairman was John Bolton who became president of NPF in 1995.
Barbour, whether as Chairman of the Republican National Committee; Chairman of the National Policy Forum; Chairman and Proprietor of the lobbying firm Barbour Griffith & Rogers; or now Governor of Mississippi, has demonstrated obsessive disregard for the line between public ethics and private gain.
Mississippians should impeach him because he’s undermined the interests of their state — and many around the country should help.
Iraq is an ongoing tragedy — but so is Katrina. Impeaching Haley Barbour could start a healthy trend.
— Steve Clemons

Comments

14 comments on “Impeach Haley Barbour

  1. David Hobbs, Evangelist says:

    It is a shame that Mr Barbour is still in office. I’m not a racist, but if an African American had done the things Barbour and George Bush Jr. has done in and to this countrys’ intregrity, he/she would be incarcerated by now. For the injustices that many of our past and present political leaders have committed. we will be brought into judgment by the Almighty God. One day soon America shall have to be punished, not so much for what she has done, but for what she has failed to do. Barbour needs to be impeached now.

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  2. Brandon says:

    Governor Haley Barbour knows what he’s talking about.He would be an excellent President Candidate in 2012.He’s a family man with family views and values.Hopefully he will run in 2012. HALEY BARBOUR FOR PRESIDENT 2012

    Reply

  3. yallerdog says:

    Hey everybody,
    This is an interesting story but most of the coverage has unfortunately remained up to the local media. I’ve posted all of the details here;
    http://yallerdog.blogspot.com/2007/09/haley-barbour-to-white-house-or-big.html
    -YD

    Reply

  4. racetoinfinity says:

    Haley Barbour is the worst sort of hypocritical greedy corrupt charlatan. I think his impeachment is a great idea.

    Reply

  5. Fred says:

    You should send this post to Chris Matthews of Hardball, he called Barbour a “hero” today citing him as an example of how post-Katrina recovery should be managed. Though, Matthews rarely lets a segment on Katrina go by without at least one plug for Barbour as a VP nod.

    Reply

  6. Steve Clemons says:

    FaceOnMars — just want to make clear that I actually really liked your post. I was just trying to respond to your question of why focus on Barbour when the crimes committed higher up are so much larger….and serious at some level. I think that it’s a tough call — but your question was a perfectly legitimate one. Like your stuff — so keep it up!
    best,
    Steve Clemons

    Reply

  7. FaceOnMars says:

    Steve, I didn’t mean to insinuate the rest of your entry wasn’t worth reading (I did finish) … it’s more of a matter of being frustrated with respect to the enormity of the “balance sheet” with respect to the current situation in Iraq. Yes, 15 billion is a lot. Making matters really worse is the original intention of such funding with respect to people who are in dire need … which might even make this rise above and beyond Bush/Cheney & Co. in terms of “how low can you go”. In any case, I always appreciate your realism/pragmatism with respect to some the mechanics of politics.

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  8. catclub says:

    As a liberal mississippi resident, my assessment
    is: Dream On.
    I expect him to be re-elected with more
    than 60% of the vote this fall.
    He has done lots of terrible things.
    They have not changed his approval ratings.

    Reply

  9. Carroll says:

    We need in “Recall Buttons” for both state and federal reps in every state.

    Reply

  10. pauline says:

    Steve wrote:
    “Barbour…has demonstrated obsessive disregard for the line between public ethics and private gain”
    “They say that patriotism is the last refuge To which a scoundrel clings. Steal a little and they throw you in jail, Steal a lot and they make you king.”

    Reply

  11. Steve Clemons says:

    FaceOnMars — Whenever I go to Chicago I think of Al Capone and the tax evasion charge that brought him down. Large scale corruption is often hard to topple because so many are complicit. While $15 billion is not small and you are right about the scale of funds being shoveled out into the Iraq War, I think it’s easier to take down a Barbour than a Bush…. I understand the desire to impeach Cheney and Bush, but it’s not something that everyone sees the same way, though it certainly puts the Clinton impeachment into an even greater farcical light.
    best regards,
    Steve Clemons

    Reply

  12. Marilyn Mellick says:

    I understand he has also been quite unkind to the very poor and elderly and blandly denies desperately needed medical assistance.

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  13. FaceOnMars says:

    Steve, I couldn’t read past the 15 Billion in federal aid to MS in light of your title – given that our country is currently spending 20 Billion per MONTH on the war in Iraq (and is poised to expand operations in the region). I suppose one needs to start somewhere (as an exercise), but why not spend the time energy to cut off the head of the snake? … less it grows back again

    Reply

  14. Mstessyrue says:

    This country and this war are in desperate need of radical changes. First and foremost is the need to pull our troops out of Iraq and stop the violence, poverty and terror that we are creating overseas as well as in our homes. Even now, President Bush would not admit defeat and the fact that this war is a disaster. The Bush administration has yet to recognize the Iraq war is a complete failure and mistake. There are more critical issues that affecting the lives of millions of americans and people world wide that our president is not taking actions against. Now the war has proven to be a failure and is causing more violence, terror and poverty in this world. According to the Borgen Project, it only takes $19 billion dollars annually to eradicate world hunger and poverty. However, our government has already spent more than $450 billion dollars over this fruitless war in Iraq. It is time for the Bush Administration to take a real interest in the lives of the American people as well as people who are in desperate needs around the world. Stop the lies and stop poverty now. Put away the arrogance and put the needs of the people before political gains.

    Reply

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