Tuesday, March 16, 2004

The Interior Department inspector general found no evidence that Karl Rove or other White House operatives interfered in the Klamath Basin water conflict for political gain last year.

Rove's comments on the ongoing Klamath water battle came in a meeting, and without a tape recording of the comments or some other solid written evidence, it is extremely difficult to prove "political pressure." Indeed, the nut paragraph in the letter the IG sent to Senator John Kerry (who called for the investigation last year before he became the Democratic nominee) seems to be:

"However, we conclude that the (Interior) Department conducted itself in keeping with the administrative process, that the science and information utilized supported the department's decisions, and that no political pressure was perceived by any of the key participants," Devaney's letter said.

Perception is always in the eye of the beholder, and your perception better be damn sure if you're going to testify in an IG investigation against the most powerful political operative in the federal government about an important issue in a swing state in an election year.