Back on March 16, I wrote a fanciful speculation about how Angels owner Arte Moreno might have used his Republican fundraiser connections to find out what federal prosecutors might have on Gary Matthews Jr., whose name was listed as a customer of a human growth hormone pharmacy in Alabama.
The U.S. Attorney in Mobile running the investigation is named Deborah Rhodes. I noted that she replaced her predecessor in September 2005, and was ratified about a year later — which would have been before the purge currently debated in the halls of Congress.
I speculated that Moreno could have called Karl Rove, who could have contacted a "loyal" U.S. attorney to quietly obtain information on what the feds might have on Matthews.
Well, maybe it’s not so fanciful anymore.
The latest documents released on Friday indicated that Ms. Rhodes was on a short list of candidates to replace attorneys that might be fired. The list was part of a January 2006 memo written by Attorney General Alberto Gonzales’ chief of staff.
As I wrote on March 16, Ms. Rhodes had a very distinguished resume with a history of prosecuting drug cases. But if her name appeared on a "short list" because she was viewed as someone "loyal" to the Administration — and let me emphasize yet again that this is just speculation — then it suggests she might be more sympathetic to a discreet inquiry made through the political back-channels.
The Mobile Press-Register on April 2 published an article about the dubious benefits of HGH to an adult, casting further doubt on speculation by some that Matthews’ anomalous 2006 was due to HGH use. Interestingly, it seems that a number of pro wrestlers were regular customers of Applied Pharmacy, the lab that allegedly sold Matthews the substance.
Anyway, for political junkies like me (hey, what’s on C-SPAN3?!) it’s fun to where all this might lead. I’ll have to remember to check the Press-Register web site in the next few days to see if they score an interview with Ms. Rhodes about her political credentials.
UPDATE April 16, 2007 — Researching the Washington Post web site, I found this about Deborah Rhodes in an April 1 article:
Of the nearly four dozen regional chief prosecutors named in Bush’s second term, 20 have been interim appointments. The proportion who have bypassed the Senate has been roughly the same for administration insiders as for the others.
Some of the insiders who had no ties to their new communities have been well received.
When Gonzales was preparing to appoint Deborah Rhodes, counselor in the department’s criminal division, she stopped by to visit with Alabama’s two Republican senators. "I don’t think I’d ever met her, or heard of her for that matter," recalled Sen. Jeff Sessions, a former U.S. attorney in the southern Alabama district in which Rhodes was to work. Sessions said he and Sen. Richard C. Shelby had intended to recommend someone local for the job permanently but ended up urging Bush to nominate Rhodes, because she appeared to be turning around an office beset by low morale and a probe of her predecessor.
Well, that explains what happened to the guy she replaced …