Posts Tagged ‘Holder’
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?”
I am no fan of former Senator Ted Stevens of Alaska. This is the man who brought us the “bridge to nowhere,” the granddaddy of earmarks and was an unabashed big-spending Republican.
Last year he was indicted and then later convicted for abuse of office related to business associates in Alaska providing free goods and services to Stevens, who was having his home remodeled.
On Tuesday a federal judge tossed out Steven’s conviction saying, “In nearly 25 years on the bench I have never seen anything approaching the mishandling and misconduct in this case.” He also said the prosecutor’s actions were “shocking and disturbing.”
As a result of the investigation, indictment and conviction, Ted Stevens lost his Senate race last year. Can you imagine the screaming that we’d be hearing if it were a Democrat Senator who had lost a race and then had his conviction thrown out?
Keep in mind that the prosecution was carried out by George W. Bush’s Justice Department. So much for the claims that Bush’s Justice Department was “partisan.”
The bad news is that the Obama/Holder Justice Department is likely to scale back public corruption probes in the future. We will have to wait and see what happens with current investigations into Democrat Congressmen Jack Murtha (PA) and Allen Mollahan (W. VA). My guess is that they are toasting the decision.