Kansas City Star political reporter Steve Kraske pulls his punches today in a column about former U. S. Attorney Todd Graves.
Graves has been back in the news recently with the revelation that he was one of the U. S. attorneys who had been targeted by the Bush Administration. Of course, one of those who was eventually fired was Bud Cummins of Arkansas, who was in the middle of an investigation of Governor Matt Blunt's awarding of lucrative license fee offices, including one to Graves' wife.
Kraske has an interesting phrase to deal with that situation:
Graves was a John Ashcroft guy. He had few, if any, ties to Alberto Gonzales and the new gang at Justice after Ashcroft announced he was stepping down as attorney general in November 2004.
All those things — and maybe even the widely noted, but awkward, fact that Graves’ wife accepted a driver’s license fee office appointment — could have added up to make Graves a replacement target.
Kraske may consider it awkward, I consider it a blatant conflict of interest. U. S. attorneys' wives and other close family members have no business being involved in situations that smack of political patronage. Common sense should have told the Graves family to reject this political plum, but apparently greed or arrogance or both got in the way.