Loose Lips

AG Nathan To Councilmembers: Quit Torturing Me

What is up with all these letter wars going on with D.C. politicians? Don't they know that the in thing these days are Twitter fights?

First, there's the war of words between Mayor Vince Gray and Council Chairman Kwame "Fully Loaded" Brown (and Ward 3 Councilmember Mary Cheh) over Gray's decision to pocket veto a delayed implementation of a municipal bond tax. Now Attorney General Irv Nathan just sent a mocking letter to Cheh and Councilmember David Catania comparing them to former President George W. Bush after they penned a nasty note to Nathan calling him a hack for issuing a legal opinion that cleared Chief Financial Officer Nat Gandhi of failing to collect millions in commercial property taxes. (Phew, that was a long sentence.)

Say Nathan:

Apparently, you did not like our opinion, since it did not accord with your pre-conceived notions. By letter dated August 4, 2011, co-signed by the two of you, you ask that we give you a new opinion letter restating your views as ours. In other words, as a famous wit once said: "When I want your opinion, .. .I'll tell you what it is."

More seriously, this is precisely the problem that many of us perceived about the torture memos produced by the Office of Legal Counsel ofthe U.S. Department of Justice during the Administration of President George W. Bush. Those opinions, while far more consequential than one about a recordation tax, smacked of political coercion, rather than dispassionate legal analysis. They appear designed to suit the preconceptions of the requesters of legal advice to justify actions the requesters had taken or wanted to take. I do not intend to have this office succumb to any political pressure to revise a fully considered legal opinion that is legally sound.

Nathan then goes on to basically accuse the council's lawyer (and Cheh's former chief of staff) Dave Zvenyach of being a Bush-league (get it?) lawyer who "provided an opinion with the conclusion you demand from us" even after writing a "well-research, well written opinion" that "actually supports" Nathan's own conclusion.

Looks like it's your turn to write a letter, Dave.

  • deborah

    Good for you Nathan, stand up to those bullies. First of all Mary Cheh and David Catania don't even speak to each other, but they will come together on a you know what the rest is. I am so proud of you for standing your ground. Now I know for sure that we don't need David Catania or Mary Cheh as AG.

  • ADM Faragut

    Good for Irv Nathan. Catania and Cheh needed to be "recalibrated" and reminded that they are in office to serve interests of their constituents. All this posturing on the DC Counsel without any real action to clean things up has become tedious and frustrating. Sadly we're left with only one option - vote the bums out.

  • Samantha

    An opinion wwitten by Dave is like a PK writing an opinion against Justice John Marshall. This guy only got out of GW because he carried Mary's purse around campus and is supposedly a Scott Walker clone from Wisconsin . THe AG comes with a record of honesty and integrety . It is a pity that a REAL LAWYER with a record of high morals has to answer to so called ,self described experts on constitutional law and health care issues when their closets may soon be opened and exposed by the AG . These CM's have opinions that are self-serving and are a diversion to threaten opions that don't endorse theirs .As for Little Dave, give him a one way ticket back to Wisconsin. Daddy Scott Walker needs him !

  • Sally

    Here's a story: How many attorneys in the Council General Counsel's office have quit since Brian Flowers left?

  • NoneOtherThan

    Yes - that is a good story. Try and find out how many attorneys have quit since Brian Flowers left.