Thursday, July 28, 2005

Tripping Over Their Own Greed? 

This ran yesterday, and I figured that before I could get it posted it would be all over the place. I know it's not a Rove Traitorgate story, or a Roberts Hiding Records story, but this could break open more than might first seem to be the case.

And, as in all good melodramas, if it does lead to getting slime on the record in open court, under oath and all that, it will be the Republican Party's own hypertrophied sense of greed, entitlement and Scroogishness that let it happen:

(via Richmond VA Times-Dispatch)
The Republican Party of Virginia is suing its liability insurance carrier, seeking nearly $1 million in reimbursement for the GOP's payout to settle a lawsuit over the eavesdropping scandal and attorneys' fees the insurer refused to cover.

The state GOP contends in a complaint filed in U.S. District Court in Richmond that the Union Insurance Co. of Lincoln, Neb., breached its contract by not covering the $750,000 the party paid in December to Virginia Democrats who sued over two intercepted conference calls.

The lawsuit also seeks $200,000 for legal bills from the GOP's nine-month court battle with Democratic legislators and other party officials who alleged top Republican operatives violated their privacy rights.

The party contends it should have been covered because it did not know about or condone the espionage on calls made March 22 and 25, 2002, among Democratic lawmakers and, briefly, Gov. Mark R. Warner. The Democrats from across the state met by phone to discuss legal strategy for challenging the 2001 Republican-authored legislative redistricting plan.

The party's former executive director, Edmund A. Matricardi III, secretly monitored the calls and pleaded guilty in 2003 to a single federal count of intercepting a wire communication.

His boss at the time, former state GOP Chairman Gary R. Thomson, pleaded guilty to a related misdemeanor and stepped down as chairman. He listened with Matricardi to part of the second Democratic conference call.

The Republican Party contends that as a corporation, it was harmed by the unsanctioned mischief of rogue operatives.
Yep, you read that right: the party's paid executive director and the state GOP Chairman are "rogue operatives." Hmm, where have we heard this phrasing before? Guantanamo, perhaps? Abu Ghraib, maybe? Ohio?

The Virginia Republican Party wants to be able to break the law AND have their insurance companies pay the fines when they get caught. But now that they've been stupid enough to put this case in US District Court, I would think that Union Insurance Company might be in a position to demand records of anything Messrs. Thompson and Matricardi did, since the claim is that they were "rogue operatives."

Virginia Democrats should be over this like....well, I was going to say "like stink on shit" but that would be crude and lower the discourse.

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