Students draw parallels between Ladner and Libby scandals

Some AU students are drawing a connection between the recent removal of former AU president Benjamin Ladner and the indictment of Vice President Dick Cheney's chief of staff, Lewis "Scooter" Libby.

Ladner resigned as president after a months-long investigation into his dining and entertainment accounts showed he used university money for personal expenses. Libby was indicted last Friday on five counts of lying, perjury and obstructing justice in connection with the leak of a covert CIA operative's name, according to The Washington Post.

Calvin Beaulier, president of College Libertarians, said both Libby and Ladner were powerful executives with no one to check and balance their actions.

"Ladner had unrestricted power both in terms of contract and in terms of what a chief executive is allowed to do," he said. "The people that were to check him were irresponsible and just as corrupt as him. The real failure was the AU charter that failed to provide for significant restrictions."

Danielle Zook, president of College Republicans, said the important thing about the indictment is Libby is being held accountable for his actions, and the same can be said for the resignation of Ladner.

"Hopefully the American public can realize that we are all human and can make mistakes and from there move on, and learn, from this unfortunate incident," she said.

Others, however, said they saw a significant difference between the Ladner case and the Libby indictment. Ashley Mushnick, president of College Democrats, said there is a significant difference between how both cases were handled.

"The major difference between the Libby controversy and the Ladner scandal is that while the Bush administration has attempted to cover up a corruption of the most serious nature, the American University community including students, faculty and staff have sought to expose, admit and repair the monetary problems that have plagued us during the Ladner administration," she said.

The CIA leak investigation began almost two years ago when news agencies revealed Valerie Plame, wife of then-ambassador Joseph Wilson, was a CIA operative. New York Times reporter Judith Miller spent 85 days in prison for refusing to name Libby as her source.

Libby was spared the more serious charge of intentionally revealing Plame's name although there is a specific law prohibiting the release of covert operatives' names, according to The Wall Street Journal.

President Bush accepted Libby's resignation shortly after the indictments were announced. Many Democrats in Congress are calling for presidential aide Karl Rove's firing and a continued investigation into Vice President Cheney's role in the leak scandal.

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