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9th April
2009
written by Sean Noble

Attorney General Eric Holder has replaced the Justice Department’s ethics chief, H. Marshall Jarrett, a long-time career DOJ employee (who is not a political appointee), in connection to the botched case against former Senator Ted Stevens (R-AK).

As I wrote in my previous post, the dismissal of the case against Stevens may impact other public corruption investigations being pursued by the Justice Department.  Politico reports that legal experts are predicting that cases against public officials like former Congressmen Rick Renzi (R-AZ), William Jefferson (D-LA) and John Doolittle (R-CA) may now be at risk.  Also at risk are investigations into current Congressmen Jack Murtha (D-PA), Don Young (R-AK) and Peter Visclosky (D-IN).

This is why it is critically important that prosecutors have very, very solid cases against those they pursue.  Did Renzi, Jefferson, Doolittle, Murtha, Young and Visclosky actually break the law?  I don’t know.  But they all engaged in conduct that, at a minimum, looked bad.  However, just because an elected official seems squirrely, doesn’t mean they are corrupt.  For the sake of our entire legal system, prosecutors need to get it right.

This whole turn of events reminds me of what former Secretary of Labor, Ray Donovan, said when he was acquitted on some apparently trumped-up fraud charges, “Which office do I go to get my reputation back?”

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