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That Was Fast:
November 8: Michael Mukasey is confirmed as Attorney General of the United States. November 19: The Justice Department announces that Rachel Paulose, the highly controversial U.S. Attorney for the District of Minnesota, is stepping down.

  Eric Black seems to have the inside scoop on the dynamics inside the U.S. Attorney's Office leading up to the resignation.
Grigor:
PowerLine is characterizing this as essentially a promotion - at any rate, as "obviously an expression of great confidence" in Paulose by the Justice Department. Take that!
11.20.2007 2:04am
cranberries (mail):
What Eric Black has are some buddies amongst the very-very-angry former ruling group of politically-homogenous people who, terminally POed about their loss of importance and power in the office, set about chilling Ms. Paulose out, treating her (and her ideas and initiatives) like the Republican Mongol at the door, and then finally badmouthing her all around the Cities until they hit on a non-charge that was enough for Black to run with.

This was despicable. This was the only way for the locals here to pretend they were punching Bush, and in the process of lengthening their manhood, they rid our government of someone who has the qualities we need in our government.
11.20.2007 2:18am
EH (mail):
That's certainly a florid interpretation. Why didn't The Cabal rear its head under the previous USA?
11.20.2007 2:37am
Kazinski:
It does look like she had a pretty soft landing. Counselor to Mukasey's chief of staff doesn't seem like a step down. From what I can tell it may well be is that she, at this stage in her career, is not a good manager, or at least not good at managing a office of people not used to be subservient. It is not an unusual character flaw in the young and gifted. None of the allegations against her seemed to involve cronyism, politically motivated prosecutions or anything other than a lack of sensitivity. She will probably much better off at her new position.
11.20.2007 2:43am
OrinKerr:
Kazinski writes: Counselor to Mukasey's chief of staff doesn't seem like a step down.

I don't think it matters in the grand scheme of things, but that's just not correct. The position of United States Attorney is a tremendously prestigious, Senate-confirmed position that usually goes only to very experienced and accomplished attorneys. Its a big deal. In light of that, it was news that Paulose had that job at such a young age. As much as I like Brett Gerry, being a member of his staff is not in the same ballpark.
11.20.2007 3:22am
tvk:
Orin's apparent view that this is a demotion is a little bit premature, I think. "Counselor to OLP" is like "Chief of Staff of the Army" or "Vice President", a role that sounds pretty important (and certainly can be more important than a USA), but whether it carries any substantive power entirely depends on whether the person "counseled" pays any attention to the advice given. If she has real policy influence in her new role, it would be a promotion. If it is just a convenient place to dump a discredited hack without hurting anyone's feelings, that would work too.
11.20.2007 3:26am
OrinKerr:
tvk,

I should have been clearer. You're quite right that it's possible that Paulose could in theory have more power in her new position, as positions such as the one she is taking can have influence ranging from zero to a great deal. On average, though, the position of U.S. Attorney is considered something "higher" than that of counselor to an AAG/Chief of Staff. I think it also seems a little unlikely that this is a promotion here, as my understanding is that Paulose's connections were to Gonzales. But as you say, that's a guess, not a certainty. (I should add that it's not clear if Paulose is assigned to OLP or to the Chief of Staff, as Gerry is covering both for now.)
11.20.2007 3:33am
Elioder:

PowerLine is characterizing this as essentially a promotion - at any rate, as "obviously an expression of great confidence" in Paulose by the Justice Department. Take that!



I'll go with Tbogg here:


Loyalty

Shorter Scott Johnson:
Rachel Paulose is my friend. Fuck everyone else.
11.20.2007 6:54am
fishbane (mail):
The mood in the office is described as a combination of relief and euphoria.

I actually have changed jobs once in less than 11 days but thankfully this wasn't the reaction of my cow-orkers, as evidenced by the fact that a majority of us started a company together a few years later.

(The explanation is complicated, and was mutually agreed to be the result of rapidly evolving circumstance. They would have given me a positive recommendation if I asked, but the resume line-item looked too weird, and I don't feel dishonest in leaving it off given that I was there for less than a pay-period. Oh, and the company is no longer in business.)
11.20.2007 7:13am
davod (mail):
I would hold my comments on this person until someone can let me know what prosecutions have proceeded under her watch.
11.20.2007 7:52am
Ralph Phelan (mail):
Great. Now let him call up Ann Waggoner and tell her to either start investigating the Durham Police Department or clean out her desk.
11.20.2007 8:04am
Anderson (mail):
Good move by DOJ, but easy enough, particularly given her soft landing. There are more difficult choices ahead.
11.20.2007 8:15am
AntonK (mail):
Much more thorough, informed, and intelligent coverage than Black's of the Paulose affair can be found here, and here
11.20.2007 8:15am
Richard Aubrey (mail):
I have a suspicion that, if she were a dem, the no-coincidence theory would apply.

Emphasis on prosecuting human trafficking in a city whose municipal LE doesn't seem concerned. Fired.

Hmm.
11.20.2007 8:20am
Temp Guest (mail):
Eric Black hardly seems an unbiase and reliable source on this matter. Do a web search on her name and read her credentials. They are impeccable until she decided to manage an ultra-liberal staff useed to getting their own way. It's worth noting that local law enforcement have publicly expressed their support for this woman during this contretemps. She seems to have attacked serious street-level crime in her district much more efectively than previous incumbents. Perhaps her staff are most upset at having to work on protecting the public for a change. Much less exciting than PC prosecutions that go nowhere but titilate liberal esprit de corps.
11.20.2007 8:41am
Happyshooter:
I am not an X-File type of guy, but:

1) a Bushie

2) in a heavy Dem area and city

3) pushed human whore slavery cases

4) in a town where the local government seems to allow those crimes

5) and didn't stop when she was warned with a brush back pitch

6) from long term leadership level AAs

7) most of whom are dems

8) and now has been kicked upstairs

9) by the new AG or the whitehouse

Thus the Q is, what did the new AG, or the white house, get in return for the investigations coming to a halt?
11.20.2007 8:44am
Happyshooter:
TVK "Chief of Staff of the Army" is the head of the Army, coequal with the Commandant of the Corps, Chief of Naval Operations, and AF Chief of Staff.

The title in the Army (and the AF) is a hold over from when the Army was divided into regiments (operating forces), support branches, and the "General Staff" which directed policy and commanded and staffed large operations (over regiment size)
11.20.2007 8:49am
AntonK (mail):
Elioder says, "...Fuck everyone else."

Note his use of language. We can, with some confidence, assume that Elioder is:

A) an Angry Leftist, and/or
B) a Paulian, and/or
C) a Kos Kid.
11.20.2007 8:55am
Joel Rosenberg (mail) (www):
davod -- the prosecutions in her office were much heavier on human trafficking and gang activity than had been prevalent under both of her predecessors.

The local staff not being happy with her is consistent with two theories: that she was an aggressive/abrasive/incompetent/Republican leader and that she had different legitimate priorities than the locals had. I've been following Scott Johnson's and Eric Black's reporting on this, and I've not seen Johnson defend her management style (although I have seen him, repeatedly, defend his friend against accusations of bigotry and abusiveness) nor seen Black give a hint of acknowledgment to the possibility that her having a different set of legitimate priorities might be a significant part of the local office's dissatisfaction with her.
11.20.2007 9:16am
Just Dropping By (mail):
I'm glad to see everyone received their talking points bright and early this morning.
11.20.2007 9:25am
ronnie dobbs (mail):
From what I can tell, many federal civil servants seem to be under the impression that, along life, liberty and property, they are also entitled to spend their entire careers without unsavory postings (see the Foreign Service Officers' recent town hall meeting where the distinguished diplomat bitched and moaned about potentially being assigned to Iraq) or allegedly dictatorial bosses (e.g., Ms. Paulose). Of course, we all know that the reason for this unpleasantness is George W. Bush's penchant for rewarding his cronies and thereby wantonly inflicting damage on pristine, heretofore apolitical, federal bureaucracies. If only we could go back to the good ol' days of the Clinton Administration, when Americans were loved throughout the world, the federal civil service was crony-free, and all of the bureaucratic bosses were as warm and gentle as a Spring breeze.
11.20.2007 9:29am
Ben P (mail):
Re: AntonK

I don't know enough about Paulose or the interior workings of the Minnesota USA's office to make a judgment as to her capability one way or the other.

However

Erick Black's coverage obviously is not neutral, it begins with the phrase


Paulose Resigns... The mood in the office is described as a combination of relief and euphoria.


But your "through, informed and intelligent" coverage by powerline begins


My friend Rachel Paulose has announced her resignation from the position of United States Attorney for the District of Minnesota to accept a position of high responsibility and honor in the Department of Justice as Counselor to the Assistant Attorney General for Legal Policy ...Rachel's appointment is obviously an expression of great confidence in her by the department.


Quite frankly, I'm at a loss why I'm supposed to assume that pro-Paulose coverage is intrinsically more "intelligent" than anti-Paulose coverage when they say almost the same thing but from opposite political perspectives.

That is, one argues that Paulose failed because her (conservative) political views got in the way of her being an effective USA, the other argues that her Subordinates' (Presumably liberal) political views made them unwilling to work with her.
11.20.2007 9:36am
Bruce Hayden (mail) (www):
Of course, we all know that the reason for this unpleasantness is George W. Bush's penchant for rewarding his cronies and thereby wantonly inflicting damage on pristine, heretofore apolitical, federal bureaucracies. If only we could go back to the good ol' days of the Clinton Administration, when Americans were loved throughout the world, the federal civil service was crony-free, and all of the bureaucratic bosses were as warm and gentle as a Spring breeze.
In other words, go back to a time when the AUSAs, etc. voted for their president, instead of voting against the one they got.

I am not the least bit surprised that some Republican USAs have problems with their staffs. Yes, she may have a poor management style. But as likely, and probably as importantly here, it is likely that many of her subordinates in Minn. were far to the left compared to her. That is the structural problem that we see in a lot of agencies when the top levels are appointed and the lower levels are career civil service and the like. And, obviously, in modern times, the problem is a lot worse with Republican Administrations, since a large percentage of the career civil service, etc. are fairly heavily Democratic.

Finally, I love the comment:
I'm glad to see everyone received their talking points bright and early this morning.
So true. Not from the FAXes that some have accused the political parties of using, but rather, I suspect, because those on each side of the issue have their "go-to" guys to brush up on the facts with. For me, being on the Right, my first stop was, of course, PowerLine. And the equivalent on the Left.
11.20.2007 9:48am
PatHMV (mail) (www):
I clerked in a U.S. Attorney's Office during the transition between the Bush and Clinton administrations, and subsequently kept in touch with several of the AUSAs in the office. The Clinton appointee brought in a lot of lawyers and clerical staff with a decided political bent. When administrations changed again, the new appointee under President Bush had an uphill battle to change the tenor and focus of the office. Worse, during the search for a new U.S. Attorney, several of the "career" AUSAs (many of whom were not recent hires during the Clinton years) actively, though stealthily, opposed reappointment of the previous GOP-leaning U.S. Attorney, making up several charges against him. They didn't like the guy, partly because he was a bit abrasive, mostly because he actually insisted that the AUSAs work hard and be able to actually THINK about what they were doing. Anyway, they slandered him, and the presidential appointment went to someone else. It does happen that disgruntled staff try to damage their boss, just because the boss makes them actually work and requires them to promote the boss's priorities, not their own.
11.20.2007 10:09am
Anderson (mail):
For me, being on the Right, my first stop was, of course, PowerLine.

The notion that PowerLine is representative of "the Right" is a chilling one.

Strangely, when I see a story like the Paulose one, I look at TPM, OTB, the Volokhs, and Balkinization, to see what people given to thinking for themselves have to say.
11.20.2007 10:09am
Aultimer:

It does happen that disgruntled staff try to damage their boss, just because the boss makes them actually work and requires them to promote the boss's priorities, not their own.

It also happens [more often] that staff dislikes the personality or management style of a former boss and prefers trying someone new for ENTIRELY non-political reasons. This is bolstered by the fact that the staff suffers no delusion that the conservative appointer is going to appoint someone in line with the staff's ideology and opposed to appointers.
11.20.2007 10:31am
PatHMV (mail) (www):
This is going wildly off-topic, but I have to say that the view Anderson just expressed represents part of the problem with civil discourse these days. Anybody with a consistent point of view which happens to mesh with the politics of someone in power is deemed by some to just be spewing out talking points, not "thinking for themselves." Frankly, it's rather insulting. It's saying that nobody who thinks for themselves could possibly adopt the positions that (in this instance) Powerline adopts, and thus they must not be thinking for themselves.
11.20.2007 10:35am
PatHMV (mail) (www):
Aultimer... that there is a non-partisan or non-political reason for the dislike was what I was getting at with the "makes them actually work" component of my comment.

I've worked for several bosses with disagreeable personalities (at best). But they have all been quite good at what they do. Many of my colleagues in such situations disliked the boss for their personality, but quite a few other staffers disliked the boss because, well, he was demanding and expected their best performance, day in and day out. Their primary complaint was not his personality, but the fact that he demanded the highest quality of work.

I have no idea if that's the case here, of course. I don't know anybody in Paulose's office and no nothing beyond what I've read on blogs and in the paper. I'm just saying that sometimes, disgruntled staff use personality complaints to mask their real complaint, that the boss is making them work too hard.
11.20.2007 10:42am
Richard Aubrey (mail):
Pat.
Given the progress of this thread, it's not at all off topic.

Or other threads, come to think of it.
11.20.2007 10:44am
Henri Le Compte (mail):
It's amazing to me how many people can offer opinions about people they've never met, and events they know nothing about. How does this thread differ from mere rumor-mongering?

It's the great weakness of the Internet and blogs. People can say anything... and often do. Who needs facts when you have preconceived prejudices?
11.20.2007 10:51am
Sasha Volokh (mail) (www):
fishbane: Good use of the term "cow-orkers."
11.20.2007 10:59am
Adam J:
I think it's kind of sad how so many people have decided to blame the AUSAs.

TempGuest calls the AUSAs "ultraliberal"- however we all know just how "ultraliberal" prosecutors tend to be. Also, the staff had already had six years under a GOP USA with no problems- indeed I suspect the majority of the complaining staff were hired during Bush's reign, and the ones who didn't have spent at least 7 years as public servants, something that should be praised, yet Tempguest resorts to namecalling.

PatHMV makes an unsubstantiated allegation that career AUSAs made up unsubstantiated allegations... oh the irony. I suspect that PatHMV has heard nothing whatsoever regarding the Minnesota AUSAs, and so she's merely attempting to show their guilt by associating them with hearsay she's heard about other AUSAs.

I do however think Bruce Hayden might have a point that there's frequently conflict between top level appointed and lower level employees that are hired due to ideology. However I'm not certain just how liberal the AUSAs tend to be, lets not forget that the United States Attorney offices are basically prosecutors' offices, which tends to attract more conservative individuals (I suspect other offices like the Office for Civil Rights to have employes that are generally much further left). Also, as I mentioned before, theres been a republican in the Presidents office for nearly 7 years now, I would think most of the dust has settled on this conflict at this point. Also, I suspect the new hires during those 7 years tended to be much further right then the ones under Clinton, and thus ideology would not be a significant problem.
11.20.2007 11:13am
Justin (mail):
happyshooter amuses me.
11.20.2007 11:38am
Birdman2 (mail):
I guess I must be in a small minority, but to me this story is way overblown.

From Powerline's perspective, Paulose was the victim of malcontent liberal staff attorneys who didn't like her priorities. But she's very young for the job and evidently has an abrasive style, so the mutiny can't be as starkly political (careerists resisting the Bush Administration's priorities) as Powerline suggests.

From the left's perspective, I guess she's a "loyal Bushie" who tried to inject politics into law enforcement. But how? By emphasizing "human traffickers" as a priority target? It's unclear to me what she did that's substantively wrong or even inapproprirate.

So an evidently bright young lawyer with suboptimal management skills creates a "situation," and it's resolved by sending her elsewhere. Maybe if you're a Minnesotan this has some interest, but why is this a big national issue?

I suppose the answer is that it's the tail of the Gonzales "fire the U.S. Attorneys" story of recent months. But wasn't that about allegations that Gonzales wanted Democrats targeted more than some USA's were doing? Is there any allegation whatever that Paulose's decisions were based on that kind of political partisanship?

What exactly is the big story here?
11.20.2007 11:39am
MDJD2B (mail):

fishbane: Good use of the term "cow-orkers."


And what does he have against fish?
11.20.2007 11:42am
Joel Rosenberg (mail) (www):
Birdman2: from my own perspective -- as somebody who lives in Minnesota, and wants the Feds to put more effort into street crime (gangs, in particular) here -- the big story is that Paulose's priorities are ones that I largely agree with, and the Feds' past neglect of, say, straw man purchase prosecution is likely to come back with her departure.

To me, that's a big deal.
11.20.2007 12:03pm
Ben P (mail):

Is there any allegation whatever that Paulose's decisions were based on that kind of political partisanship?


Some of the sources on Paulose that I read earlier this morning stated that some of the resignation of her subordinates were due to differing opinions over voting rights for Native Americans.

Again, I'm not familiar with this specific situation, but my general understanding was that this was another example of the ongoing dispute between members of the justice department that want to focus on alleged voter fraud among certain groups, and the opposing members that insist this focus on voter fraud is denying members of those (highly democratic leaning) groups voting rights.
11.20.2007 12:06pm
badger (mail):
Birdman2:

What exactly is the big story here?

Paulose and her allies at DOJ have been very skilled at clouding the waters about why her office rebelled against her. I suggest looking at www.talkingpointsmemo.com if you want a real list of grievances.

For instance (from the Star Tribune)

Paulose ordered that an internal memo be prepared for high-ranking Justice Department officials who would be coming to Minneapolis from Washington to highlight the office's high-profile cases, the attorneys said.
Paulose instructed the head of the narcotics section, Andy Dunne, to state in the memo that prosecutors had won convictions that ended drug dealing by St. Paul's Latin Kings gang, they said.
Dunne was told by Paulose to say that the Latin Kings were the biggest gang in St. Paul and that the office's recent convictions would stop the so-called Latin King Nation, the attorneys said.
But Dunne told Paulose he couldn't abide by the request, one of the attorneys said, and when he refused, Dunne was forced to give up his position as chief of the narcotics section. Dunne would not comment Friday.


And my understanding is that her office wasn't particularly mad that they were putting more resources into child pornography and sex crimes, it was that instead of building major cases to take on distributors and producers, Paulose wanted a focus on small-fry cases like this one that Prof Kerr posted a while ago. The logical purpose of going after easier, more numerous, cases was to pump up her office's statistics, possibly in preparation for a political career, at the expense of actual results.
11.20.2007 12:18pm
badger (mail):
Also, the Post seems to have the inside story about why Paulose finally got the boot:

The brief interview [with NRO, where she trashed her employees] provoked some of Paulose's staff, according to her predecessor as Minnesota U.S. attorney, Thomas W. Heffelfinger. He said in an interview last night that "at least one and as many as three of her current staff managers either had resigned or were threatening to resign today."

Such defections would have been the second in Paulose's office in less than a year. This spring, her top assistant and two other senior prosecutors stepped down from their management responsibilities, saying they no longer could work with her.

"Last week she was talking about staying, and today she is leaving," said Heffelfinger, a state and federal prosecutor for nearly 20 years before he resigned last year to enter private practice. "So something happened."

Her departure "was a mutual decision" between Paulose and officials in Justice's headquarters, said one source familiar with the decision, speaking about a personnel matter on the condition of anonymity.
11.20.2007 12:24pm
anym_avey (mail):
So, in other words:

She's a talented individual who is a good attorney, but she has an abbrasive style that created personality conflicts in her capacity as an office manager. A little he-said here, a little she-said there, and it soon became apparent that she would not be able to continue in her current capacity without said office falling apart.

Thus, she was reassigned to a position where she will not be a manager, and the prestige of which is not clearly better or worse, in order to giver her a graceful exit that would neither blemish her income and resume, nor create any new lingering resentments in the office she left behind -- which will, after all, need to work cooperatively with the USAG on occasion.

Do I have the facts right so far? If so, this sounds like a pretty mundane thing which was handled as best as possible under the circumstances (which is not to say that Ms. Paulson is anything other than upset about having to do this).
11.20.2007 1:01pm
Adam J:
anym_avey- Actually you missed quite a bit of alleged wrongdoing by Paulose, nice attempt to gloss it over it all though.
11.20.2007 1:06pm
badger (mail):
Ah, one last thing:

To all those Powerline devotees who really believe that Paulose got promoted, let me ask you something: What exactly did she do to deserve getting promoted over other USAs with more experience (she hasn't even been in Minnesota for a year) and fewer scandals? Are there any major cases I'm missing?

/(Oh right, she eradicated the Latin Kings from Minneapolis. Silly me.)
11.20.2007 1:07pm
arbitraryaardvark (mail) (www):
this just in:
Court agrees to rule on gun case
Tuesday, November 20th, 2007 1:02 pm | Lyle Denniston | Comments (0) | Print This Post

Email this • Share on Facebook • Digg This!

After a hiatus of 68 years, the Supreme Court on Tuesday agreed to rule on the meaning of the Second Amendment — the hotly contested part of the Constitution that guarantees "a right to keep and bear arms."
11.20.2007 1:10pm
Kazinski:
It is obvious the reason why Mukasey gave Paulose a soft landing is because she is a talented but inexperienced attorney that didn't deserve being humiliated by an outright dismissal. It sounds like the kind of compromise solution that gives throws everybody a bone, and removes the point of contention. Despite being a Bush appointee Paulose is not inherently evil, and despite being career employees the AUSA's on her staff are not communists. It is the toughest job in the world for a young inexperienced manager to manage assertive well educated staff that have plenty of higher paying options available to them. Not everyone that is ambitious, young, brilliant, and good looking make great managers on their first big chance.
11.20.2007 1:43pm
hattio1:
Ben P writes;

However

Erick Black's coverage obviously is not neutral, it begins with the phrase


Paulose Resigns... The mood in the office is described as a combination of relief and euphoria.


How exactly is that not neutral? Assuming that somebody in the office truly did describe the mood as euphoria, how is it not neutral to report that? He doesn't say they are right to feel euphoric, merely that they do. I know it's popular to assume the MSM is bent to the left, but this is a bigger stretch than most.
11.20.2007 1:49pm
Joel Rosenberg (mail) (www):
(Oh right, she eradicated the Latin Kings from Minneapolis. Silly me.)
Damaging a major, destructive local gang may not be a big deal to you, badger. I live here; from my POV, it's a major accomplishment.
11.20.2007 2:10pm
Badger (mail):
Kaz: If only they had given her a pamphlet that said:

"Management Tip #1: Do not ask employees to lie to your superiors about your performance.
Managment Tip #2: Do not retaliate against them if and when they refuse to."

Where's the GPO when you need them?

Prof Kerr: In light of the Washington Post's reporting on Paulose's transfer being caused by her NRO piece, do you still believe that Mukasey's confirmation was causal?
11.20.2007 2:16pm
Badger (mail):
Damaging a major, destructive local gang may not be a big deal to you, badger. I live here; from my POV, it's a major accomplishment.


I'm sorry if the sarcasm wasn't clear. Eradicating a gang as large as the LKs from a major American city would, of course, be a major accomplishment, and if she really had done that she should be the new head of the DEA as far as I am concerned.

But, as the story I linked said, she didn't. She wanted her narcotics deputy to exaggerate their accomplishments to her bosses (she was to embarrassed to do it herself, apparently) and he refused.

I don't know what the exaggerated accomplishments were, maybe they really were significant. I seriously doubt she had any direct involvement in the case, since such major drug cases are multi-year affairs and she had only been there a matter of months at the time of the story. But, hey, feel free to prove me wrong Gopher.
11.20.2007 2:28pm
Badger (mail):
Sorry, that should be "unexaggerated" accomplishments in the last paragraph.
11.20.2007 2:33pm
ronnie dobbs (mail):

But, as the story I linked said, she didn't. She wanted her narcotics deputy to exaggerate their accomplishments to her bosses (she was to embarrassed to do it herself, apparently) and he refused.

I don't know what the exaggerated accomplishments were, maybe they really were significant. I seriously doubt she had any direct involvement in the case, since such major drug cases are multi-year affairs and she had only been there a matter of months at the time of the story. But, hey, feel free to prove me wrong Gopher.


If this is the best (i.e., the worst) Ms. Paulose's detractors can come up with, then it seems safe to assume that she probably just wasn't a good manager (plus a little anti-GOP bias in her subordinates). Being a bad manager is a common affliction among attorneys--ask anyone who's ever worked in a large law firm and had to answer to a "genius" partner who couldn't manage a t-ball team.
11.20.2007 2:54pm
Joel Rosenberg (mail) (www):
Badger: I understand what the story said. I also understand that, at least hereabouts in the LEO community (and not just the Police Chief of St. Paul, who has said so explicitly) the prosecution of the LK leadership was done at Paulose's behest and because of her insistence.
11.20.2007 2:57pm
Badger (mail):
Joel: The grand jury brought the indictments in February and Paulose was appointed in January. Now, maybe she lit a fire under some AUSAs to move forward, but I have a hard time believing that the case wasn't already 90% complete at the time of her appointment. Even if she did have a really significant role in the case, why would she feel compelled to wildly exaggerate it to her superiors, and why would she attempt to force a subordinate to do so by proxy?

Ronnie: The conservative definition of "bad management" certainly is expansive. I guess Bill Clinton didn't really sexually harass Paula Jones or Monica Lewinsky, he just "mismanaged" them.

Ordering employees to lie to your superiors in order to make yourself look good, isn't just bad management, it is completely unethical and unbecoming a United States Attorney. It also raises serious questions of the character of a person who would do such a thing. Ditto for someone who retaliates against employees who refuse to lie.

Look, have there been USAs who have done worse, maybe even criminal things during this Administration? Sure, Schlozman in Missouri and Laura Canary in Alabama are the first that come to mind. But that doesn't mean that Paulose's appointment was anything less than a horrible and completely predictable mistake and her behavior lends serious credibility that she was appointed for her partisan loyalty, rather than a genuine belief that she was the best person for the job.
11.20.2007 3:24pm
PatHMV (mail) (www):
Adam J, perhaps you missed the part where I specifically said:

I have no idea if that's the case here, of course. I don't know anybody in Paulose's office and no nothing beyond what I've read on blogs and in the paper. I'm just saying that sometimes, disgruntled staff use personality complaints to mask their real complaint, that the boss is making them work too hard.


I related my own personal experience in order to establish the general point that some employees sometimes do lie about their boss for bad reasons. Therefore, the mere fact that some of Paulose's employees said she was bad does not prove that she was, in fact, bad. Corroborating evidence would be quite helpful. I did NOT, as I made perfectly clear, recite my personal experience in order to claim that Paulose's employees MUST be lying.
11.20.2007 3:31pm
davod (mail):
Joel Rosenberg:

Thanks for giving me a rundown on what she accomplished. Now I read from Badger that she was there less than a year. So we have a bad manager who still manages to pursue her own agenda - Slavery, gangs, etc. Nobody can achieve what she did if they are disfunctional as a manager.

Unless she did all the work herself, someone in the office must have been working with her.
11.20.2007 3:32pm
Joel Rosenberg (mail) (www):
It's pretty obvious -- perhaps wrong, but obvious -- that among Paulose's sins, to her staff, was that she was pushing a different agenda than they had been used to, and that that included a lot more street crime prosecutions.

Since that's my agenda, too -- again: I live here; I can't claim to be an uninterested observer -- I like that, and don't have much sympathy for the offended professionals for whom that was a lower priority.

I know, from talking to folks who know about this stuff more than I do that imprisoning gangbanger types for low-level street crimes isn't what most career types in the US Attorneys' offices are terribly excited by, and I think that helps to explain the venom -- which seemed to increase as she was perceived to be increasingly vulnerable -- as well as her connections to the despised former AG.

I don't think that insulates her from a credible charge that she may have been less than a wonderful, or even less than good, leader who ticked off the the AUSAs working for her.

Not terribly politically adept, certainly. We've had the politically adept, locally -- my former County Attorney, who (metaphorically) installed a fireman's pole from her roost high in the CA's office to slide down to the lobby for press conferences, is now the junior United States senator from Minnesota.

Me, I'd rather have a grouch who likes to jail street thugs in both the USAttorney's and County Attorney's offices.
11.20.2007 4:00pm
Anona:
Paulose was interim USA effective March 1st 2006, being confirmed by the Senate in December of that year.
11.20.2007 4:18pm
Badger (mail):
Shoot, I didn't realize she had been interim. My bad.
11.20.2007 4:26pm
loki13 (mail):

It's pretty obvious -- perhaps wrong, but obvious -- that among Paulose's sins, to her staff, was that she was pushing a different agenda than they had been used to, and that that included a lot more street crime prosecutions.


Hmmm... the Federal USA using their resources to attack local, petty, street crime to puff up her numbers instead of concentrating on large-scale (interstate) crime, which is time-intensive and unlikely to have an immediate political payoff.

Another blow for Federalism, and a great use of national resources. Goodness knows that local, state LEO is incapable of dealing with street crime.
11.20.2007 4:33pm
Adam J:
PatHMV - gosh, I must have missed that qualifier since it was in a later post. Of course you're right, it must have been a vast conspiracy by the employees to get her because they have differing ideologies, because most employees would be willing to risk their careers and their reputation just to get the mean Republican...
11.20.2007 4:43pm
Badger (mail):
Adam J: No, no, no. Didn't you read Powerline and NRO? It was because she was a member of the Federalist Society, a girl, and had brown skin. Oh, and they hated her persecution of sex slave traffickers.
11.20.2007 4:56pm
Anona:
Paulose was accused of using a derogatory racial epithet. In her on the record comments, this is the charge that she most vehemently and specifically repudiates. Johnson's defense of her on this point probably carries the strongest weight of everything he has written.

If Johnson is credible as a character witness on this particular, it means, absent a very bad misunderstanding, that someone on the staff was sufficiently disgruntled to file a false complaint against her.

That, at least, if true, would be a reflection on the character of the staff with which she had to deal - however badly she may have provoked them.
11.20.2007 5:02pm
Adam J:
Anona- just as we don't assume the guilt of the accused, we don't assume that the accuser is lying (even if the accused has "a very good character witness" and she vehemently repudiates it).
11.20.2007 5:13pm
ronnie dobbs (mail):

Ronnie: The conservative definition of "bad management" certainly is expansive. I guess Bill Clinton didn't really sexually harass Paula Jones or Monica Lewinsky, he just "mismanaged" them.


You'll have to fill us in on the lurid details of Ms. Paulose's Clintonian shenanigans. So far, all we've heard is that she asked her underlings to make her look good to her bosses at DOJ. To my conservative mind, that ranks somewhat lower than engaging in oral sex (assuming arguendo that oral sex is sex--Bill Clinton showed us that liberals have a narrow definition in that regard) with a White House intern on the Conservative Scale of Mismanagement.
11.20.2007 5:13pm
Badger (mail):
Anona: Let's just count the assumptions there:
1. Johnson is capable of knowing another human being that he can know whether or not it's even remotely possible that she said something once.
2. Johnson knows Paulose well enough to properly make this assessment of her.
3. Assuming that there was no misunderstanding involved, a member of Paulose's staff filed the complaint out of malice and no other reason.
4. If one member of the staff makes a maliciously false complaint, it is reflective of the character of the entire staff.
11.20.2007 5:17pm
Badger (mail):
Ronnie:

So far, all we've heard is that she asked her underlings to make her look good to her bosses at DOJ.


The story makes clear that she wasn't asking. The nature of the boss-subordinate relationship makes asking the employee to lie pretty unethical anyway.

I'm not interested in ranking this incident with Clinton's actions. My point is simply that "mismanagement" is an improper description of all three incidents.
11.20.2007 5:23pm
Ben P (mail):

How exactly is that not neutral? Assuming that somebody in the office truly did describe the mood as euphoria, how is it not neutral to report that? He doesn't say they are right to feel euphoric, merely that they do. I know it's popular to assume the MSM is bent to the left, but this is a bigger stretch than most.


You can dispute it if you want, but I think it's pretty clear the original blog post takes a negative tack on Paulose. I wasn't even implying "liberal media" with it, it's just pretty clear the post is not amenable to her arguments or explanations for the resignation or her behavior.
11.20.2007 5:28pm
Anona:
I merely wished to point out the stakes: either Paulose used a derogatory racial epithet, or there was a very bad misunderstanding, or someone filed a false complaint. Those are the possibilities.

The charge of racism (or even of readiness to use racial insults) is a very serious charge. If proven, or even sometimes if not disproven, it can be career-ending - because it reveals or suggests something very negative about the character of the accused individual.

The risk to the accuser, however, tends to be materially less. If it comes down finally to she-said / she-said, it is (at least in federal public service) a blacker mark to have in your file an unresolved charge of racism than to have in your file that you complained of being victimized on the basis of your race, without definitive resolution of the matter.

Now, whether Paulose used a racial insult is not something the public record allows us to determine with any material degree of certainty - something I tried to convey with my conditionals. That said, Johnson's commentary on her character is a point in her favor. The public statements of others (including Democrats) who have known her and worked with her is a point in her favor. The unbalance of risk in cases such as this is a point in her favor. The known discontentment in her office (and therefore the possible motivation for a false charge) is a point in her favor.

None of this is dispositive, but what evidence there is, I would suggest, leans (in this one matter) on Paulose's side.

Certainly, even if the charge was false and malicious, it does not reflect upon the character of her staff at large - only on the complainant. But it is, nonetheless, something to consider when assessing the managerial task she faced.
11.20.2007 6:57pm
badger (mail):
Anona:
The charge of racism (or even of readiness to use racial insults) is a very serious charge. If proven, or even sometimes if not disproven, it can be career-ending - because it reveals or suggests something very negative about the character of the accused individual.

Rachel Paulose

"The McCarthyite hysteria that permits the anonymous smearing of any public servant who is now, or ever may have been, a member of the Federalist Society; a person of faith; and/or a conservative (especially a young, conservative woman of color) is truly a disservice to our country."

I guess that's why her willingess to accuse the majority of her staff of being racist was the last straw, eh Anona?
11.20.2007 7:15pm
Anona:
badger,

I largely agree. The available evidence suggests that the staff certainly did not like her managerial style, certainly did not like her priorities, and may well have had cause to resent her efforts at self-promotion. There is no evidence that it disliked her for racist reasons. Her insinuation to that effect, to the degree that it applies to her staff rather than to, say, the perceived agenda of some media outlets, was, on the available evidence, fundamentally wrongheaded. The reaction of the staff to that accusation can well be understood.

None of this, of course, changes the balance of evidence in the matter of the racial complaint.
11.20.2007 7:37pm
anym_avey (mail):
anym_avey- Actually you missed quite a bit of alleged wrongdoing by Paulose, nice attempt to gloss it over it all though.

Beg your pardon? Who missed what and is attempting to gloss over what now?

Perhaps you've never worked in a variety of business environments. I have, and have seen petty personal differences and misunderstanding elevated to minor turf wars, either becuase the air wasn't cleared quickly enough or somebody decided to make the issue at hand into their personal grinding ax. I've also dealt with a few attorneys, and am aware that the mentality that produces a good attorney sometimes comes packaged with a slightly overbearing presence and hint of arrogance, so I can definitely see where there would be the potential for a somewhat extreme version of the above when several attorneys are required to work together by fiat, rather than purely voluntary employment associations.

Based on what has been presented so far, I see nothing here to indicate that Pauslon was anything more ominous than lacking in the necessary interpersonal skills to perform the job title adequately. That snippity little response of yours didn't do anything to convince me, either, and suggests exactly the kind of attitude problem that may have been responsible for alienating Paulson from her staff.
11.20.2007 7:38pm
anym_avey (mail):
*Paulose, that is
11.20.2007 7:40pm
badger (mail):
Anona,

Well, it's good to know we agree on the basics. As for the OPR investigation, I admit that it is the one thing that really is pretty much "he said, she said" and that doesn't necessarily fit neatly into Paulose's pattern of behavior. I think it's helpful to point out, though, that people who are not racist do use racial epithets. Because they are so cruel and do have such power, it's only natural (albeit, not acceptable at all in a work environment) to lash out using them (where applicable). Does that mean Paulose used the words "lazy" "black" and "ass" (the allegations are described kinda oddly in the articles) behind the back of African American coworker? I dunno. I don't have the ability to look into peoples' souls like cups of water and neither does anyone at Powerline. Given all the other stunts she has pulled, it seems like a lesser crime, honestly. All I know is that she's bee removed from the office and my taxes are paying for people who professionally conduct investigations into such things.
11.20.2007 8:42pm
Adam J:
anym_avey - wow, you must have such a more worldly knowledge of business environments than me. Because to my knowledge, the only time that the employees win employee/employer "turf wars" is when the employer is grossly incompetent and/or committed actual wrongdoing. But I'm not going to attempt to use my experience to mask what's really just speculation, as you just did. I'd also think its quite obvious to anyone who read the articles that allegations of the AUSAs amount to far more then "bad management", which is why I called your characterization "glossing over".
11.20.2007 8:44pm
Richard Aubrey (mail):
Paulose' remarks about folks disliked for, among other things, being a woman of color, does not necessarily become an accusation of racism of the normal type.
A woman of color who is conservative is disliked for three reasons. She's a woman who is a conservative, she's a person of color who is a conservative, she's a conservative. See Condi Rice.
None of that is actually racism--it's at least as vile--in the normal sense.
It's possible that's what Paulose referred to.
11.21.2007 12:00pm
Eli Rabett (www):
Where is the evidence post graduation that she was talented?
11.21.2007 12:49pm
Brian G (mail) (www):
Shame she wasn't a liberal. She'd be lauded and there would be a crys of racism everywhere.

Maybe the next non-white up and comer will be smart enough to be openly liberal. Or, maybe, they'll realize that they work for their underlings, the careerists who couldn't make it for an hour in the public sector, not the other way around.
11.21.2007 4:35pm
Anona:

Richard Aubrey probably has Paulose's remarks correct as to intent. Her specific target may also have been the media rather than her staff: there is a case to be made that the Star Tribune and the New York Times, among others, would not have looked so sympathetically on the discontent of staffers chaffing under the leadership of a young Democrat who wanted to implement the priorities of a Democratic administration.

Charitable readings aside, however, it makes sense that her staff perceived her comments as an unjustified slight.
11.21.2007 4:40pm