Karl Rove on the ropes

The online piranhas attack as allegations of ethics violations swirl around the president's top strategist.

Published June 14, 2001 5:31PM (EDT)

Big buzz

From our "Lucy, you've got some 'splainin to do" department, Pete Yost of The Associated Press reports on possible ethics violations on the part of Bush strategist Karl Rove.

Rove, who owns more than $100,000 in Intel stock, "met in March with the company's chief executive and two lobbyists as they pushed for federal approval of a corporate merger. The administration approved the deal less than two months later," according to the AP.

The webmasters at Democrats.com have graciously offered to serve as judge and jury. "Karl Rove Broke the Law, and Is Trying to Lie His Way Out of It - We Demand a Special Prosecutor!!" they write. "The only way Rove could avoid violating the laws was 'if he were truly mute and he offered no comment then or later' on the Intel matter, said Stephen Gillers, a New York University law professor. We guarantee Rove was not mute and without comment. We demand a special prosecutor!"

Folks at Plastic.com concur. "I think Karl Rove has a lot of explaining to do about how this appears. If this were the Clinton administration and it was somebody who worked for Hillary or Bill, then Karl Rove himself would be denouncing it in the loudest terms possible ... Although it's tough to argue that a $100K position would be enough to buy special consideration, it's an ethical conflict all the same. This event probably would have qualified as a scandal if Clinton's chief strategist had done such a thing, but is that sufficient reason to apply the same unreasonable standard to the Bush administration? Of course it is! Payback's a bitch, ain't it?"

Inside the Plastic thread, posters were equally critical. In response to the thread's question, "Is Karl Rove Corrupt?" one poster writes: "Is a snake's ass close to the ground? By all accounts, this guy is worse than any of the scary people in the Nixon white house. He is a representative of pure political evil - do whatever it takes to ruin your opponents; instead of trying to do what is right for your constituents."

Of course, Clinton haters said the same thing about James Carville. In fact, the Clinton haters at Lucianne.com are still saying it.

"There was nothing but sleaze, graft, and corruption for 8 years under Clinton and no one gave a rat's behind. So I say move on!" writes one poster.

But one other poster seemed to want Rove out. "The Democrats and [their] media employees are doing us a favor: fire Karl Rove. Regardless of these stupid allegations and the partisan allegators his advice sucks."

But enquiring minds want to know: How long before Larry Klayman investigates?

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By Anthony York

Anthony York is Salon's Washington correspondent.

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