Top Rove aide, implicated in Attorneys firings, clears out office
Update: This article has been updated to reflect that a subpoena was authorized for Ms. Taylor, which the Senate Judiciary Committee had not previously announced.
A top aide to White House political adviser Karl Rove has 'cleared out her office,' according to a report in Monday's Washington Post. Sara Taylor, Rove's top lieutenant, has seen her name brought up in recent months in Congressional hearings relating to the firing of 8 US Attorneys.
"Taylor, 32, was one of the first people put on the payroll of the Bush campaign," writes Michael Fletcher in the new 'At the White House' column. "Taylor cleared out her office early last week. She plans to take her skills to the private sector."
Taylor is described by Fletcher as skilled in 'microtargeting,' the practice of identifying voting constituencies at their most elemental levels. She has also come up as a potential target for a subpoena from the House and Senate Judiciary Committees, as RAW STORY has earlier reported.
The White House political strategist was first identified as playing a role in the removal of US Attorney for the Eastern District of Arkansas H.E. 'Bud' Cummins during the Senate Judiciary Committee hearing with D. Kyle Sampson, the former Chief of Staff to Attorney General Alberto Gonzales.
Taylor was also identified by Monica Goodling, Gonzales's former White House Liaison. After Rep. Sheila Jackson-Lee (D-TX) asked Goodling what Karl Rove knew about the firing of the US Attorneys, she suggested Taylor had signed off on the plan.
"There was an e-mail that Mr. Sampson forwarded to me, I think, on December 4, if I'm remembering correctly, that said that it had been circulated to different offices within the White House and that they had all signed off," Goodling answered. "I think it said that White House political had signed off. Political is actually headed by Sara Taylor but does report to Mr. Rove, so I don't know for sure."
In April, Taylor was threatened with the possibility of facing a subpoena.
"The Committee is expected to vote on [the authorization of a subpoena] next week for Sara M. Taylor, Deputy Assistant to the President and Director of Political Affairs," read an April 12 press release from Senator Patrick leahy (D-VT), the chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee.
A Senate Judiciary Committee spokesperson told RAW STORY that a subpoena was authorized for Taylor on April 25. Additionally, the committee had earlier authorized a subpoena for her assistant, J. Scott Jennings.
While subpoenas have been authorized, White House officials have not yet been compelled to testify. White House Counsel Fred Fielding continues to maintain that their statements cannot be taken on the record because the content of any testimony would be privileged communications.
Congressional investigators have in turn threatened to issue subpoenas as the White House has dug in its heels.
"If the White House persists in refusing to provide information to the House Judiciary Committee, or even to discuss providing such information, on a voluntary basis, we will have no alternative but to begin to resort to the compulsory process in order to carry out our oversight responsibilities," said Rep. John Conyers (D-MI) and Rep. Linda Sanchez (D-CA) in a May 21 letter to Fielding.