An email dump has revealed that the White House pulled the trigger on firing former Department of Agriculture official Shirley Sherrod. Sherrod is suing Andrew Breitbart’s widow and the waggish Larry O’Connor for defamation, alleging that Breitbart’s publication of her remarks made before an NAACP crowd caused her harm, including her firing.
The Obama administration has up until now denied that the White House had any role in Sherrod’s firing. Not true. The AP:
But a newly-released email sent by Vilsack himself suggests he was awaiting a decision from White House officials on how to proceed.
“She has offered her resignation which is appropriate,” reads an email from the initials “TJV” to Dallas Tonsager, then the USDA undersecretary of rural development and Sherrod’s boss. “The WH is involved and we are waiting for the go-ahead to accept her resignation. I suspect some direction from WH soon.“
This email revelation makes Sherrod’s lawsuit even more tenuous. If the White House was entangled in the Sherrod decision, it undermines Sherrrod’s theories of causality by converting the entire event into a saga of racially charged palace intrigue. If the White House was dictating Sherrod’s fate, it is a blow to her claim that Andrew Breitbart (and now his widow) is responsible for causing her termination.
Perhaps Sherrod will file a Rule 19(a) motion to add a necessary party to her lawsuit such as President Obama or other top White House officials as a defendant. If she doesn’t, it will reveal a great deal about what her lawsuit was about all along.
(See more at Rule of Law: Vampires, Shirley Sherrod Lawyers Seek to Sue Widow of Andrew Breitbart)