President Bush has reversed a pardon for New York mortgage scamster Isaac Toussie on conflict-of-interest grounds because Toussie’s father gave the Republican National Committee $28,500 in April. But Robert Toussie had another favored recipient: Norm Coleman.
Why those two? We don’t yet know. Coleman is the ranking member of the Senate’s Subcommittee on Investigations, while Smith sits on the Finance and Commerce committees. Some might argue Coleman’s committee could investigate a Bush “get-out-of-jail-free” card, but given the president’s absolute pardon power, there’s not much they could do to change it.
There’s no evidence either senator knew the Toussies’ sordid past. According to the New York Times:
“… the name of Isaac Toussie is detested by many working-class people in the New York metropolitan area. In 2001, several hundred of them sued in Federal District Court, accusing Mr. Toussie and his father of masterminding a scheme in which inexperienced or first-time buyers were promised affordable and comfortable suburban houses but instead were sold shoddily built homes in poor neighborhoods and saddled by mortgage payments that shot up surprisingly.”
Here’s one circumstantial theory: by mid-October, many incumbent Republican senators faced certain defeat; the two best hopes to block a filibuster-proof Democratic majority were Coleman and Smith. (North Carolina’s Liddy Dole was already being written off as a sure loser; Georgia’s Saxby Chambliss wasn’t considered vulnerable, even though he was forced to a runoff to win.)
It’s not too farfetched to think the Toussies realized — or were told — that giving in Minnesota and Oregon would help the national GOP the most. That would put their gifts in the same vein as Robert Toussie’s large RNC donation, his first-ever federal contribution.
Among other post-Christmas questions: Given what we now know about the Toussies’ scummy past, will Norm give the $4,600 back?