One of the talking points being offered in defense of Nancy Pelosi's plan to dump Jane Harman as House Intel Chair is that she is "currently under federal investigation" for her "possible illegal enlistment of AIPAC in lobbying for her committee post" (quoting Matt Yglesias); Glenn Greenwald offers this as "is currently under investigation for her work on behalf of AIPAC".
From Mr. Yglesias I expect better - let me offer a steaming mug of reality to the reality based community, from the NY Times, with helpful emphasis added:
The officials, confirming a Time magazine report, said the bureau had been looking into whether she had made improper promises to the group in exchange for its efforts to lobby Ms. Pelosi on her behalf.
But the officials also said that the accusations had not been proved and that although the inquiry remained open, it was no longer being actively pursued.
[Folks who don't like the Times may prefer Dan Eggen of the WaPo, who led with this:
Federal law enforcement sources confirmed yesterday that the FBI opened an investigation in 2005 into whether Rep. Jane Harman (D-Calif.) improperly enlisted the aid of a pro-Israel lobbying group, but they cautioned that no evidence of wrongdoing was found.
...Although the case is still considered open, officials said, the allegations have not been substantiated, and there has been no significant investigative activity on the issue in recent months. The inquiry was first reported by Time magazine.
Or let's try the AP:
Last week, the Web site time.com reported that the FBI had begun probing whether [Harman] enlisted the American Israel Public Affairs Committee's help in lobbying Pelosi to keep her job.
A federal law enforcement official, speaking on condition of anonymity because of the ongoing investigation, told The Associated Press that Harman's ties with AIPAC have been under scrutiny since last year.
However, the inquiry has been dormant in recent months and so far has failed to turn up evidence of illegal activity, said the official, who would not detail any concerns there might be.]
It is quite rare for the Feds to formally close an investigation, because who knows what tomorrow may bring in the way of new evidence. But neither Greenwald nor Yglesias have offered any evidence to support their contention that the investigation is current. She was under investigation for engaging in politics, and now she is not.
As to the substance of the charge against her, my goodness - she calls the DoJ to inquire about an intel-related case (perfectly legal), AIPAC tells Pelosi she is doing a great job (perfectly legal), and that adds up to a crime?
By that standard, let me propose another criminal investigation - the Congressional Black Caucus throws their support to Pelosi in exchange for a promise that one of their own will be elevated to chair of the House Intel committee. The quid, the pro, and the quo all seem to be there - where is the investigation?
Well, there won't be one, nor should there be, because that is absolutely politics as usual, as was Harman's phone call on behalf of AIPAC.
All that said, if the leading lights of the left could sail back to reality and correct this "current" problem, I know we would welcome them. We'll leave the light on.
WHILE I'M PLAYING EDITOR: Ezra Klein of TAPPED offers this bit of incomplete history in defense of Pelosi's acumen:
And Crowley should inform "Reader A. M." that the Hammer would have understood. In 1995, he ran for Majority Whip and defeated the preferred candidate of that Definer Of The Rules Of Civilization, Newt Gingrich. I don't recall anyone commenting at the time how weak Gingrich "seemed" or that he put on a "game face" after this crushing blow to his new Republican majority.
Let's go the incomparable Times archives, a compelling value as part of the Times Select package which also includes daily access to great commentary by the Times top columnists (NO, I am not paid enough for this; go with the "it's five o'clock somewhere" theory):
WASHINGTON, Nov. 15 (Special to The New York Times) -- Representative Newt Gingrich announced today that he would support a longtime ally, Representative Robert S. Walker of Pennsylvania, in a three-way contest for the No. 3 leadership position in the House.
Mr. Walker, who is beginning his 19th year in Congress, is running against Tom DeLay of Texas and Bill McCollum of Florida for majority whip. Representative Dick Armey of Texas faces no opposition in his pursuit of the No. 2 job, majority leader.
Mr. Gingrich's press secretary, Tony Blankley, said tonight that Mr. Gingrich, who is expected to become Speaker, would vote for Mr. Walker but not actively campaign for him.
Just a guess, but it was Ms. Pelosi's decision to actively push for Murtha that turned this into a spectacle and her into a Peloser.
CLASSIC GREENWALD: Folks who can't endure the link will miss this old rhetorical standby from Greenwald. Here we are in paragraphs fifteen-sixteen, learning that the cause of the Pelosi-Harman personal rift is reported but unproven:
I'd like to see proof that Pelosi's opposition to Harman is purely or even principally personal. I keep hearing this from [reporters], but what is it based on? ...
How do these all-knowing analysts know that Pelosi's opposition to Harman isn't based on these obvious and compelling substantive grounds, as opposed to the bitchy personal "cat fights" they allegedly have had?
Clear? Reporters say their is a personal animosity, but they don't say why.
Yet by paragraph twenty-one, the reporters have no foundation at all for their beliefs:
...these self-styled "serious" journalists are already trying to cripple Pelosi's ability to do anything before she has even begun, all based on giggly chit-chat and gossipy garbage that has no legitimacy other than the fact that they all repeat it in unison on television and in print.
Somewhere in those five paragraphs Greenwald made it from not knowing their proof to knowing they had no proof, reminding me yet again that I could never cut it in the reality based community.