WASHINGTON (CNN) — Two former Republican staffers on the Senate Judiciary Committee may have broken the law when they downloaded thousands of computer files with information about Democratic strategies in the partisan tug-of-war over judicial nominations, according to the results of an investigation by the Senate sergeant-at-arms released Thursday.
Some committee Democrats are calling for a special counsel to investigate the breach, and its Republican chairman, Sen. Orrin Hatch of Utah, who employed the staffers, said “odds are” that the matter may be referred to prosecutors.
“I am mortified that this improper, unethical and simply unacceptable breach of confidential files occurred,” Hatch said. “There is no excuse to justify these improper actions.”
“None of us would walk into another person’s office and take papers from their desk, and this is, in a sense, exactly that.”
However, one of the targets in the investigation is not so mortified.
But one of the staffers involved, Manuel Miranda — who resigned from the staff of Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist, R-Tennessee, earlier this year when the information about the documents came to light — said he would not mind a criminal probe.
“I am worried about absolutely nothing, and at least if it were to go to a criminal investigation, it would go to the hands of adults,” he said.
Ooh, sharp retort there. And there are some who are saying the ends justified the means.
But conservative groups, such as the Coalition for a Fair Judiciary, contend the content of the memos is more important than how they were obtained, charging that they show Democrats were colluding with outside interest groups to develop strategies to block President Bush’s judicial nominations.
“There’s a level of collusion going on that they do not want the American public to understand,” said Kay Daly, president of the coalition. “They are trying their darn best to change the subject as to how these memos got out there.”
In other words, It’s Okay If You’re A Republican (thanks, corrente). Chalk this up to yet another reason to throw the bastards out.