Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Omission in the Harriet Miers Questionaire

The Harriet Miers Questionaire is full of spin, but the key item is what is not said.

The key question in the the Harriet Miers Questionaire:

"20. Party to Civil Legal or Administrative Proceedings: State whether you, or any business of which you are or were an officer or any partnership, trust or other business entity with which you are or were involved, have ever been a party or otherwise involved as a party in any civil, legal or administrative proceedings. If so, please describe in detail the nature of your participation in the litigation and the final disposition of the case."

The answer:

"As is the case with any major law firm, my firm was a party to a number of law suits over my thirty years of practice. However, in none of these was I, or my work, the subject of complaint."

Yes, this is the key. The key is what she did not include. She may think no one will notice. But some will. Enough will. Left wing folks will. Her hope is misplaced.

Miss Miers should remember this news account of one item she omitted:

Harriet Miers, co-managing partner of Locke Liddell, says the firm denies liability in connection with its representation of Erxleben.

"Obviously, we evaluated that this was the right time to settle and to resolve this matter and that it was in the best interest of the firm to do so," Miers says.

Perhaps no one will raise the issue, but is it better to mention it? Perhaps people will think she is hiding something. Perhaps they will think this is the tip of the iceberg. Perhaps they know how to search the internet and newspaper data bases.

The White House may not know. She may not have mentioned it. Perhaps no one mentioned it. Perhaps no one googles.

If they do not know, what will they say when they find out? What will Senators say if it is kept from them? Is it in the FBI report? Should it be there?

The omission may indicate that Miers is concerned, and unwilling to reveal it. Or, does she really think it is not worth mentioning?

And what about Stearns?

Is it a big deal? Yes. If it was big enough to omit, it was big enough to include and explain.

Republican Senators may now have a perfect reason to quietly request withdrawal.

The underlying actions are troubling. Failure to disclose may be the reason/excuse to request withdrawal.

If so, she did it to herself. She knew. She omitted.

(Update 10/19 They noticed. They asked. Q20 is Restated, and Miers is given help by telling her that they really would like the information about civil actions against her firm involving multi-million dollar settlements when she was managing it. Picky, picky, picky.

This issue is getting some attention, as it does at Scotusblog.com. http://www.scotusblog.com/movabletype/mt-tb.cgi/943) but it is mostly being missed by the media and the blogosphere. Will the chickens come home to roost? Will the Texas Chicken Feed Tort of Negligent Misrepresentation achieve worldwide fame? We shall see.

The Dallas Morning News, the hometown paper that Miers represented, today reported:

The committee also asked for more information about lawsuits she mentioned involving the Dallas law firm she headed. "There have been press reports of civil actions against your firm involving multi-million dollar settlements that occurred during the time you were either managing partner or president of the firm, about which the Committee would like to have more information."

In November 2001, The Dallas Morning News reported that Miers' firm, Locke, Liddell & Sapp and its insurance carrier had paid out more than $30 million to settle claims that the firm had helped defraud investors in two unrelated investment schemes. The transactions occurred during Miers' tenure as managing partner of Locke Purnell Rain Harrell, the firm's name before its merger with a Houston firm.

Locke, Liddell & Sapp has acknowledged the payouts as an effort to rid itself of potentially costly litigation. Miers was not implicated personally in either case.

http://www.mercurynews.com/mld/mercurynews/news/politics/12945342.htm )


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