Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Smoking gun: Trial lawyer asked Pelosi and Waxman to 'initiate' hearings

A California trial lawyer who stands to make millions of dollars in a pending lawsuit against Blackwater is behind the Waxman hearings against the private security company.

The letter shows the extent to which the Waxman "investigation" is motivated by partisan politics and a prominent member of one of the Democratic party's most deep-pocketed donor groups.

Daniel Callahan, a prominent trial lawyer based in Santa Ana, wrote Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) shortly after the November, 2006 elections that swept the Democrats back to power in the House, but before Pelosi became speaker. (See image above at left, and full image of three-page letter below. For a PDF copy, click here.)
Callahan sent copies to Rep. Henry Waxman (D-CA), who would again become chairman of the House Committee on Oversight; Rep. Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), Chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee; and Senators Byron Dorgan (D-ND), Chairman of the Senate Democratic Policy Committee; and Harry Reid (D-NV), Senate Democratic leader.

The tone of the letter and the duties of the recipients show how Callahan used highly partisan terms to motivate the lawmakers to probe the company he was suing.

Callahan referred to "democratic subcommittees" that had been "looking into the issue of war profiteering" prior to the election, and that the pre-election "position of the democrats [sic] in Congress" led to evasiveness on the part of those being probed.

Saying that Blackwater's motivations have been no more than "corporate greed," the trial lawyer referred to his own civil lawsuit against the company in North Carolina, where Blackwater is based. Callahan is not on record as saying that his involvement in the suit is pro bono; he is reportedly suing on a contingency for whatever judgment he might receive.

After summing up his litigation activity, Callahan puts on his citizen hat: "Nevertheless, as American citizens, we hereby petition you to initiate, support and continue the Congressional investigations" especially on "Blackwater's conduct."

"Now that there has been a shift in power in Congress, we are hopeful that your investigation, as well as the investigations by Senator Dorgan and Congressman Waxman, will be taken seriously by these extremely Republican companies, such as Blackwater, who [sic] have been uncooperative to date, and that these investigations will be fruitful and meaningful."

The trial lawyer then offered his assistance: "To the extent that we can provide any assistance to you or these Congressional committees, we will do so to the extent permitted by law."

In February, 2007, Waxman held his first Blackwater hearing as oversight committee chairman. Waxman called Callahan's clients as witnesses. In September, 2007, Waxman's committee staff released a report on Blackwater that the committee's Republican staff chief, David Marin, denounced as having been based on the trial lawyer's information. On October 2, the trial lawyer attended the hearings; Waxman recognized the plaintiffs from the podium.

See below for images of Callahan's three-page letter.


omelas said...

If you are looking for accountability and fair representation of the issues, why do you avoid the issue of which law firm this happens to be? Callahan's lawfirm isn't unconnected to the issue of Blackwater previous to the elections of 2006.

For those who don't know, this is the law firm suing Blackwater on behalf of the families of the 4 Blackwater employees killed in Fallujah. Those families have a private fund set up which helps pay for their legal fees, and that is on record.

Given the interesting legal manuevers by the five law firms Blackwater hired to defend itself, Callahan's law firm would have an interest in having both Blackwater deposed by a congressional committee, and by pressure on a national level to decide once and for all under which laws it's employees might be tried for crimes, and under what laws the company itself can be tried.

TexasFred said...

I think they may wish they had left BW USA alone before this is over with...

Wouldn't it be a hoot if BW had some serious 'files'?? And that is not at all out of the question, you don't get to be the very best by being stupid, and yes, they may have had a few 'loose cannons' in the field, all operations do, but they dealt with them in an orderly and proficient manner from all indications...

I'm pulling for BW, I have friends that have been involved, some fairly recent, and I think this 'wild gun' thing is pure BS...

And BTW, you guys can add MY site to your 'friendlies' as well... OooRah...