The Washington Gadfly
The Other Valerie Plame

Does a stuffed animal stand between Karl Rove and even more legal trouble?

Rove remains under investigation for the public identification of a CIA agent.

But his carefully calculated effort to silence someone else who embarassed the Bush Administration could prove even more damning--especially since it's Rove's own ally on the Christian Right who has attested to the misconduct.

Free Congress Foundation chairman Paul Weyrich has quietly tied Rove to the illegal dismissal of the Jewish journalist who called him "a demented anti-Semite" for remarks long since renounced.

About two weeks after the journalist, Evan Gahr, was dismissed by the Hudson Institute, a conservative think tank and government contractor with obvious financial incentive to maintain the good graces of Karl Rove, Weyrich asked to meet with him.

At their meeting, Weyrich volunteered that the White House had called him about the controversy, worried about the political fall-out, just days before Mr. Gahr was dismissed. He later elaborated that "right after the story appeared in the New York Times [about the controversy], I received a call from an Assistant to the President asking all sorts of questions about this. The matter of your employment was of great interest to lots of people."

Special Assistant to the President Tim Goeglein, who has said he does nothing without the permission of Mr. Rove, does not deny that he then called Hudson about Evan Gahr, who was abruptly fired two months before his contract would have ended anyway.

Hudson for its part, which initially blamed the dismissal of Mr. Gahr on his use of a stuffed chimp in a television debate with one of Mr. Weyrich's supporters, has long since abandoned that rationale.

"I have no comment on whether the White House got you fired," says Hudson fellow Michael Horowitz. "I have no comment until the end of time."

In a rare public statement about his White House days, however, former Faith Based Initiative director John DiIullio called the Goeglein/Rove inquiries improper and possibly illegal.

According to the New Republic, Goeglein also complained to Hudson about another employee, Marshall Wittmann, who embarassed the administration. He too then left Hudson under mysterious circumstances. Hudson honcho Ken Weinstein hung up the phone when asked why Wittmann left his cushy job at Hudson for the hustle and buslte of Capitol Hill.

But Goelgein may have provided a better answer at a 2003 Hudson lunch where he said he talks to the good folks at Hudson, including Hudson president Herb London, all the time and owes them a debt of gratitude.

Debt of gratitude, indeed.

   Evan Gahr, a former press critic for the late New York Post editorial page editor Eric Breindel, recently broke the story of a race discrimination lawsuit against the Washington Post. He has written for almost every major conservative publication.