Monday, November 19, 2007

rachel paulose

officials say they regret the resignation of U.S. Attorney Rachel Paulose (PAUL'-ohs).

St. Paul Police Chief John Harrington says Paulose helped make St. Paul a safer place by prosecuting Latin Kings gang members and targeting child predators. Special agent B.J. Zapor of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives says Paulose's departure is a loss for the law enforcement community.

Paulose is leaving her post in Minnesota for Washington to become counselor to the assistant attorney general at the Justice Department.

Paulose has been criticized for her leadership style. In April, three top supervisors stepped down from their management roles in her office -- prompting a visit from a high-ranking Justice official.

Copyright 2007 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
University of Rhode Island professor "suspects" that there is a campaign under way by unnamed Justice Department officials to hound U.S. Attorney Rachel Paulose from office to punish her for her "aggressive commitment" to prosecute human trafficking cases.

She offers no details and no evidence, but Women's Studies Professor Donna M. Hughes, who supports a vigorous federal crackdown on human trafficking, has written a letter to Attorney General Michael Mukasey alerting him to this suspicion. She is circulating it, hoping to pick up signatures of others from across the political spectrum as Mukasey considers what to do about the embattled U.S. attorney for Minnesota. The letter appears to be an effort to lobby Mukasey not to fire Paulose.
Minnesota Monitor
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Breaking: Paulose Resigns
Journalism's Bloodiest War
Some People Don't Count
Iowa Independent Power Rankings -- Democratic Presidential Candidates
Breaking: More Protest Resignations in Paulose Office
Rachel Paulose Plays Seven Victim Cards
Kissing Our Ashes Goodbye
Activists Respond to Archbishop Comments on Homosexuality
Diverse Groups to Gather in Opposition to Child Abuse

The letter was made public (and can be read in full) on Powerline, the conservative blog where attorney (and Paulose friend) Scott Johnson has vigorously defended Paulose's character and performance in office against an array of allegations.

Paulose's job is indeed in jeopardy, but until this breathtaking new theory was introduced by Hughes and Powerline, the jeopardy was attributed to several other causes. She was promoted by the now-discredited circle of Justice Department officials who were implicated in the forced resignations that caused several openings for new U.S. attorneys who were considered to be "loyal Bushies." She had little administrative/managerial experience to run a large office and has alienated most of the staff in the Minneapolis office.

* Several of Paulose's highest-ranking subordinates voluntarily took demotions to non-management positions to protest against her leadership style. Her staff has been in nearly open rebellion against her, on one occasion bursting into applause, in her presence, to honor those who demoted themselves.

* She is the subject of an ongoing investigation by the federal Office of Special Counsel into allegations that she mishandled classified material and mistreated employees. She received a very negative job review by a team of Justice Department specialists, focusing on her shortcomings as a manager and administrator. A pending Equal Employment Opportunity Commission complaint alleges that Paulose created a hostile working environment by making a racist remark about an administrative employee in the office -- a remark that has been corroborated by two witnesses.

* The morale of the office has been in the toilet for many months. One of her predecessors, former U.S. Attorney Todd Jones who hired her for her first federal job, told the New York Times that his former colleagues described the office as "dysfunctional" and said that there was "an inability to have effective leadership move forward in a nonpartisan way."

* The same New York Times article portrayed her situation as "representative of much that went wrong at the [Justice] Department under" former Attorney General Alberto Gonzales and as representing "what [Mukasey] is up against in restoring stability to the Justice Department."

* Sen. Norm Coleman, who sponsored Paulose's appointment, has become a critic, and extracted a promise from Mukasey to look into the problem and take corrective action. Her original sponsors and patrons at Justice and in the White House are gone.

So, yes, as Prof. Hughes' letter suggests, Paulose's tenure is in some jeopardy. But the idea that her problem derives from powerful dark forces in Washington who are soft on human trafficking, child prostitution and related crimes is a breathtakingly new explanation for Paulose's problems since taking office. It is offered without any names, facts or other form of substantiation. Hughes is careful to describe her theory as a "suspicion" and a "surmise" but she offers not even a theory as to why -- in a Justice Department in which the prosecution of human trafficking and child pornography have been officially declared to be priorities -- these unnamed department officials have decided to hound from office anyone who implements the stated policy.

I called Hughes Wednesday and left both voice and email messages asking her for any backup. I haven't heard back, but if she supplies any I will pass along her response.

I also asked Paulose's predecessor, Tom Heffelfinger, to assess the Hughes theory. He made three points.

* Yes, Paulose has aggressively pursued human trafficking prosecutions, and he salutes her for it.

* No, during his years in the Justice Department, he never heard of any element that was opposed to cracking down on these crimes. On the contrary, this policy unites several important departmental factions: those who favor cracking down on street crime; those who want to emphasize crimes against women; and those who want to emphasize border security (since many human trafficking crimes involve women who have come illegally across the border).

* No, from everything he has heard from his former colleagues and subordinates in the U.S. attorney's office, "there's no link" between Paulose's troubles and the priority that she has placed on trafficking cases. Her problem is not based in Washington. Her problem is based in Minneapolis.

Paulose will speak at noon Tuesday at the University of Minnesota's Humphrey Institute. Her talk is titled: "End Slavery Today: Policy Responses to Human Trafficking."
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 (who is also chief of staff to Attorney General Mukasey).

Regular readers of this site know that I have written at great length about my high regard for Rachel since her Senate confirmation last December. She is to assume her new position with the Justice Department in January 2008. Rachel's appointment is obviously an expression of great confidence in her by the department.

The press release announcing Rachel's appointment includes testimonials to her service as United States Attorney over the past eighteen months from law enforcement authorities including St. Paul Chief of Police (and Dartmouth alum) John Harrington:

"Rachel Paulose has been the most aggressive U.S. Attorney that I have ever worked with and the most successful. Working with her has made the city of St. Paul a safer place. If you have any doubts, just ask the Latin Kings gang that terrorized an entire neighborhood with guns and drugs and murder. They are easy to find, since they are all doing time in federal custody. Or ask the kids at McDonough Recreational Center, where Rachel taught about Internet safety. Or better yet, ask the predators whom she put in prison, keeping them from being able to hurt children ever again."
Star Tribune reporter Dan Browning takes the occasion to report on "rumors" that are "circulating in the legal community." Browning also takes the occasion to recycle charges in the indictment of Rachel handed up by the New York Times last week. Browning writes:
[H]er relative youth, Republican credentials and initial selection by the administration made her suspect as a GOP loyalist in the eyes of many.

Suspicions about her grew deeper last winter as congressional hearings began into the firings of eight U.S. Attorneys, allegedly for political reasons. Paulose was tainted by her friendship with White House liaison Monica Goodling. And concerns deepened when it was discovered later that Heffelfinger had been under consideration for firing before he surprised the administration and quit to return to private practice.

But most public complaints about Paulose came from her own staff.

On April 10, several of her top managers quit their posts in a group protest of her management style, which has been described as dictatorial and at times vindictive. They include former First Assistant U.S. Attorney John Marti, former Civil Chief Erika Mozangue, former Criminal Chief James Lackner, and Human Resources Officer Tim Anderson, who had been acting as office manager until the schism.

Let's see. She's a Republican. (The position of United States Attorney is a political appointmet.) She was appointed to the position by the Bush administration. (No one other than the president and the Attorney General had the legal authority to make the appointment.) She knew Monica Goodling. (Liberals used to oppose guilty by association.) And former United States Attorney Tom Heffelfinger might have been fired if he had not resigned when he did. I understand completely.

Motives for the resignations of the office's managment group such as those attributed to them by Browning have been routine, but so far as I know none of them has spoken in his or her own name to that effect. I believe that anonymous leaks have done the talking for the group, as in this April New York Times story. Together with the "rumors" that find their way into his story, Browning apparently thinks he's clearing things up.

I quoted Rachel on the record responding to certain of the charges recirculated
The campaign to save Rachel Paulose's job as U.S. attorney for Minnesota shifted into high gear last week. Perhaps she and her supporters believe that the decision will be made in the days ahead and want to rally some counterpressure. But the tactics and arguments employed make it even less likely that, if she keeps her job, she can reconcile with those she has alienated on her staff or function effectively as the leader of the office.

The Paulose campaign team seeks to portray her as a martyr and as a victim of most of the forms of prejudice and unfair smear tactics known to U.S. history. On Friday, Paulose herself became the spokesperson for the defense team.

Opinion: Rachel Paulose plays seven victim cards
The martyr piece is the argument that Paulose is under attack by dark forces inside the Justice Department who want to destroy Minnesota's chief federal prosecutor as punishment for her aggressive prosecutions against human trafficking. That argument debuted on Wednesday. I'm still waiting for some evidence and a theory as to why these powerful unnamed Washington career-killers prefer that sex slavery go unprosecuted.

On Friday, Paulose, in a single 48-word sentence, played the race card, the gender card, the religion card, the age card, the ideology card, the Federalist Society card, and the Joe McCarthy card. That's a large percentage of the cards available in the victimology deck.

Here's the sentence, published Friday at National Review Online by Powerline blogger and Paulose friend Scott Johnson:

Paulose adds: "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."
Let's parse that sentence.

First, McCarthyism. What does Paulose have in common with the victims of McCarthyism? Is membership in the conservative legal organization The Federalist Society now equivalent to membership in the Communist Party then?

I can think of some important differences. Paulose got her job in part because she was a conservative, a Republican, a Federalist Society member and a loyal Bushie. As Scott Johnson points out, this is normal and too much has been made of Monica Goodling's admission that partisan politics played a role in Paulose's appointment. But there is also clear evidence that Paulose works for an administration of (in McCarthyist terminology) Federalist Society members, sympathizers and fellow travelers. Nothing remotely similar could be said about the "commie symps" whom McCarthy targeted. It's an important difference.

Perhaps in invoking McCarthyism and "anonymous smearing," Paulose refers to the tendency of Sen. Joseph McCarthy to destroy people's reputations and careers without offering any evidence or providing them a chance to defend themselves. Is that what has happened to Paulose?

Doesn't feel that way to me. She is the subject is of two investigations by federal agencies (the Equal Employment Opportunities Commission and the Office of Special Counsel) and is the subject of an extensive (and unflattering) Justice Department review over her job performance. Her accusers have filed complaints, in their own names and on the government record, although the documents have not been made public because the matters are ongoing. Would Paulose like those documents, detailing the complaints against her, released to the public? I wonder.

The agencies are taking evidence, questioning witnesses, and affording Paulose every opportunity to present exculpatory evidence and testimony. Meanwhile, she keeps her job and has been the subject of several interventions from senior officials wanting to teach her how to do it better. How close to McCarthyism is this?

Recklessly, much like Clarence Thomas did in 1991, Paulose plays the race card. (Note that in his NRO piece, Johnson says Paulose has been "the subject of an old-fashioned, low-tech media lynching." Justice Thomas, during his confirmation hearings, said that he was the victim of "a high-tech lynching for uppity blacks." Weird. What was high-tech about his and low-tech about hers?)
Minnesota Monitor
Global Warming: We Have the Technology, But Do We Have the Will?
Breaking: Paulose Resigns
Journalism's Bloodiest War
Some People Don't Count
Iowa Independent Power Rankings -- Democratic Presidential Candidates
Breaking: More Protest Resignations in Paulose Office
Rachel Paulose Plays Seven Victim Cards
Kissing Our Ashes Goodbye
Activists Respond to Archbishop Comments on Homosexuality
Diverse Groups to Gather in Opposition to Child Abuse

Paulose asserts that she is getting the lynch mob treatment because she is "a young, conservative woman of color." She is 34, undeniably female, and of Indian ethnicity (born in India, in fact). Paulose is herself accused of making a racist statement, involving a woman of color who works in an administrative position in the U.S. Attorney's Office. Paulose's statement allegedly included the words "fat," "black," "lazy" and "ass." Friday, in a statement to her friend Johnson, Paulose flatly denied the allegation:
"I NEVER made any such statement. I have told the department so, and the department is defending me against this outrageous and defamatory lie."
(By the way, what does it mean that the department is defending her? Paulose also claims that she has been "absolved" of another of the charges under investigation, that she mishandled classified national security documents. Really? Who granted this absolution, when and on what basis? Perhaps if she made these claims to someone a bit more skeptical than a friend, she would be asked these questions.)

As to the alleged racist comment, Johnson believes her denial implicitly, based on knowing her for 10 years and on the fact that "Rachel is herself an Indian-American immigrant sensitive to racial slights."

But the utterance of the racial slight has been confirmed by two witnesses, both of them women. The subject of the remark is both female and African-American (she's the one who complained to the EEOC that the remark created a hostile work environment). Erika Mozangue, who stepped down as head of the agency's civil division in April 2007 to protest Paulose's management style, is a woman of color. Which of these are biased against Paulose because of her race or gender?

Before Paulose, the Minnesota U.S. Attorney's Office had an excellent reputation as a high-functioning office and a good place to work for career lawyers who were willing to leave their partisan politics at the office door. This reputation continued under Paulose's predecessor, Tom Heffelfinger (at right), who is a staunch lifelong Republican, as it had under Heffelfinger's predecessor, B. Todd Jones (at left), who is African-American.

The atmosphere changed pretty quickly under Paulose, who alienated the staff by her insulting management style, by demanding total personal loyalty of her subordinates (many of whom believed they owed their highest loyalty to the country, the Constitution and the rule of law), and by the way she mistook disagreement for disloyalty and retaliated against those whom she deemed disloyal. Jones, who hired Paulose when he was U.S. attorney, described the office's current state as dysfunctional. The morale of the office is in the toilet. Paulose has cut herself off from contact with much of the staff.

Does Paulose believe her leadership has been so flawless that no one can criticize her unless they are biased against her race, gender, age or ideology? Is she interested in taking any of that famous Republican "personal responsibility" for the decline in the functioning of the office since she arrived?

It has been publicly suggested, at least twice, that those who have criticized Paulose are motivated by some combination of racism, sexism and reverse age-ism, once by the Strib gossip columnist Cheryl Johnson (d.b.a. C.J.) and once in the New York Times by unnamed "Paulose defenders at Justice Department headquarters."

The supervisors who demoted themselves in protest against Paulose's allegedly incompetent and insulting management style took these as personal attacks on them. They wrote a private letter to Paulose asking her to publicly repudiate these assaults on their reputations. She never did. Until Friday. Only instead of repudiating the insults, she repeated them, this time in her own voice, offering no names, no specifics, no evidence, ignoring the irony that she was implying prejudice against women of color by women of color, and providing no opportunity for anyone other than her devoted friend to cross-examine her and no public procedure for those so impugned to rebut the charges.

By defending herself in this fashion, Paulose may have foreclosed any last possibility of reconciliation with the staff. If you want to repair your relationship with someone, don't call them a bigot. They may not like it, agree with it, or forgive it.

Rachel Paulose
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Rachel Kunjummen Paulose (born March 12, 1973, Kerala, India) is the current U.S. Attorney for the District of Minnesota. She is the first Indian American woman[1], the youngest attorney, and the first woman in Minnesota to hold this post.[2]

1 Early life
2 Career
2.1 Appointment as U.S. Attorney
3 Controversies
3.1 Swearing-in ceremony
3.2 "Problem" press
3.3 Staff Resignations
3.4 US Attorney Dismissal Controversy
3.5 Resignation from U.S. Attorney office
4 Memberships
5 References
6 External links

[edit] Early life
Paulose was born to Lucy Paulose, a CEO of an electronics company, and Joseph Paulose, a school administrator. Her maternal grandparents Daniel and Sara Kujummen immigrated to the U.S. from Kerala in the 1960s. Rachel moved to the U.S. a few months after her birth and grew up in Ohio. She moved to Minnesota at the age of 17.[1] Paulose's great-grandfather, Cheruvallethu Mathunni Abraham (Avarachan Upadeshi) was a founder of the Indian Brethren Christian Evangelical movement in Kerala, and a pre-eminent minister. [3][4]

In 1994, she earned a B.A. (summa cum laude) from the University of Minnesota where she was Phi Beta Kappa and a Truman Scholar. She earned her J.D. from the Yale Law School, where she was a Coker Fellow [5], Editor of the Yale Journal of Law & Feminism, Board Member of the Asian American Students' Association and the Yale Law Christian Fellowship [6] as well as Sunday school teacher at the New Haven Westville Bible Chapel. [7]

[edit] Career
Paulose's legal career began in 1997 when she worked as a law clerk under Judge James B. Loken of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit. Her cases included violent crime, illegal drugs, economic crimes, and enforcement of civil rights. She then worked as a trial attorney in the Attorney General's Honors Program from 1998 to 1999.

From 1999 until 2002, she worked as an Assistant United States Attorney. Her work included prosecution in District Court and defense in US Court of appeals. Cases involved narcotics, violent crime, economic crime. Jury trial and Eighth circuit appellate highlights: precedent-setting detention of suspect based on economic threat alone; precedent-setting appellate work rejecting expansion of alien criminal defendants' claims of rights under Vienna Convention.

She worked in private practice after 2002 with the Williams & Connolly law firm in Washington D.C until 2003, where her work focused on health care litigation and business[1]. Work also included defense against class action suit demanding slavery reparations.

She was with the Dorsey & Whitney law firm in Minneapolis from 2003 until December, 2005.[1] Work included successful representation of Republican party in election lawsuit; defense of faith-based health care programs. [2]

[edit] Appointment as U.S. Attorney
In January 2006, Paulose returned to the Justice Department where she served briefly as Senior Counsel to Acting Deputy Attorney General Paul McNulty and she was the Department's Special Counsel for Health Care Fraud. She was a special assistant to Attorney General Alberto Gonzales.[1]

The following month, on February 17th, [3], she was appointed to serve as interim US Attorney for the District of Minnesota. The incumbent U. S. Attorney, Thomas Heffelfinger had announced his resignation effective February 28th.

On February 17th, 2006 Rachel Paulose's appointment was announced "under a controversial provision of the renewed Patriot Act that allowed Attorney General Alberto Gonzales to indefinitely appoint "interim" U.S. attorneys."[8].

On August 3, 2006, while serving as interim U.S. Attorney in Minnesota, [5] Paulose's nomination was sent to the U.S. Senate by President George W. Bush [4]. She was confirmed by the U.S. Senate in a voice vote [5] on December 9, 2006, the last day of the 109th Congress. [6].

The confirmation occurred without a hearing or vote by the Senate Judiciary Committee, but was moved out of committee as part of a rarely used [9] "discharge resolution." [10] Paulose was sworn in as U.S. Attorney on March 9, 2007.

Paulose has pledged to fight child pornographers, and has stated that they are becoming:

" more graphic, more heinous, and frankly appalling. "

She has spoken out against urban crime, stating that it threatens the American way of life, and noted that public officials should be held accountable for their actions.[1]

[edit] Controversies

[edit] Swearing-in ceremony
Paulose's investiture was held before 300 people in the atrium of the University of St. Thomas School of Law in Minneapolis, MN on Friday, March 9, 2007. Subsequently, Minneapolis television station KSTP ran a piece likening it to a "coronation", showing a program that referred to a "processional" and included a U.S. Marine color guard, professional photographer and choir, which was shown singing. Raju D. Kunjummen, Th.M., Paulose's uncle and Associate Professor at Michigan Theological Seminary, offered the invocation.

Swearing-in ceremonies for U.S. Attorneys are normally modest affairs held at the appropriate federal courthouse.[11]

Paulose has dismissed the criticism, saying the program KSTP based its report on was inaccurate and had been discarded long before the ceremony, although the color guard and choir were indeed present. She also added that the cost to taxpayers was minimal since the school donated the use of their atrium (which they normally rent for $1,500) for the investiture ceremony at her request, she paid for everything and the total government cost of the ceremony was only $225,[11] less than half the $500 she was budgeted.[12] Representatives of government watchdog groups said the donation was inappropriate and that the money spent didn't include the cost to taxpayers of event planning by Paulose's employees.[11]

In addition the Minneapolis Star-Tribune reported that it was unusual that "the former U.S. attorney for Minnesota, Thomas Heffelfinger, was not invited" to the ceremony, Paulose's spokesperson, Jeanne Cooney,said "It was a public event. Anybody who wanted to go could have gone."[13] The article speculates that Heffelfinger, a moderate Republican, could have been a candidate for a purge list, had he not stepped aside to make way for a more conservative candidate.

[edit] "Problem" press
While interviewing Paulose, a reporter with KSTP-TV, a local ABC affiliate, stated that he was in possession of a six-page single-spaced document from the U.S. Attorney's office that "identified 'problem-reporters.'" [14] Paulose only denied producing this list, but when asked whether she was "aware" of the list, she only replied that "I don't know why you are asking me this." [15]

[edit] Staff Resignations
On April 5, 2007, three of her top administrators ― First Assistant U.S. Attorney John Marti, second in command; civil division head Erika Monzangue and criminal division head James Lackner ― voluntarily resigned those positions, reverting to simple assistant U.S. attorney status, reportedly in protest over Paulose's management style. According to the Minneapolis Star-Tribune, she was noted for dressing down underlings and quoting Bible verses on the job.[citation needed]

The resignations occurred after a visit from a representative of the Executive Office of the U.S. Attorney in Washington. [16] A later report said that the visit had been a last-ditch attempt by the Bush administration to persuade the three not to resign, and that a fourth official declined to comment on whether he had resigned or not.[17] Paulose's defenders say that three simply had trouble changing their ways to accommodate an aggressive young prosecutor determined to bring the office more into line with the Attorney General's policies, and it has nothing to do with politics.[18]

The St. Paul Pioneer Press later reported that the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee would probably be investigating the resignations.[19]

[edit] US Attorney Dismissal Controversy
Main article: Dismissal of U.S. attorneys controversy
Dismissal of U.S. attorneys controversy
Main issues
Summary of attorneys
Congressional hearings
List of Dismissed Attorneys
Complete list of related articles

On April 17th, the AP reported that Ms. Paulose had been contacted for voluntary questioning by the US House Judiciary Committee in relation to the "firings of 8 U.S. federal prosecutors"[7]

On May 31, 2007, the Los Angeles Times published an article lending credence to the argument that Paulose's predecessor was removed from his post for failing to pursue voter fraud cases that would prevent a significant number of Native Americans in Minnesota from casting ballots in the 2004 election, and that Paulose's appointment stemmed not only from her credentials, but from her work in private law filing "election lawsuits on behalf of the Minnesota GOP."[8]

Heffelfinger and an assistant US Attorney, Rob Lewis, had previously expressed their concern "about possible voter discrimination against Indians," according to the Times article. Also reported is the observation that one of Paulose's "first acts in office was to remove Lewis, who had written the 2004 e-mails to Washington expressing concern about Native American voting rights in Minnesota, from overseeing voting rights cases."

On September 24th the Washington Post reported that Paulose "is the subject of an investigation by the U.S. Office of Special Counsel into allegations that she mishandled classified information, retaliated against those who crossed her, and made racist remarks about a support staff employee, said multiple sources in Minnesota and Washington, who declined to be identified because the probe is still under way.In addition, an internal Justice Department audit completed last month said her employees gave her very low marks, alleging that she treats subordinates harshly and lacks the requisite experience for the job, said several sources familiar with the audit. Her performance review was so poor that Kenneth E. Melson, head of the department's Executive Office for U.S. Attorneys, took the unusual step of meeting with her in Minnesota several weeks ago, two sources said."

Posted: Thu, 11/15/2007 - 15:00


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