Wednesday, February 07, 2007


Another from the same blog also catching my attention for the day:

The New Republic Weblogs: The Plank
How politicized are investigations by the Justice Department? Check out the results of this new report:
A study of reported federal investigations of elected officials and candidates shows that the Bush administration's Justice Department pursues Democrats far more than Republicans. 79 percent of elected officials and candidates who've faced a federal investigation (a total of 379) between 2001 and 2006 were Democrats, the study found--only 18 percent were Republicans. During that period, Democrats made up 50 percent of elected officeholders and office seekers during the time period, and 41 percent were Republicans during that period, according to the study."The chance of such a heavy Democratic-Republican imbalance occurring at random is 1 in 10,000," according to the study's authors.
And it's about to get worse. Recently, seven federal attorneys were fired by the administration before the end of their terms--including Carol Lam, who oversaw the prosecution of Duke Cunningham. One administration official told the Post that the pressure to replace those prosecutors came from outside the department. And last week, McClatchy reported the following:
Attorney General Alberto Gonzales is transforming the ranks of the nation's top federal prosecutors by firing some and appointing conservative loyalists from the Bush administration's inner circle who critics say are unlikely to buck Washington. The newly appointed U.S. attorneys all have impressive legal credentials, but most of them have few, if any, ties to the communities they've been appointed to serve, and some have had little experience as prosecutors.
Spurred on by these reports, Chuck Schumer held a hearing yesterday, "Preserving Prosecutorial Independence: Is the Department of Justice Politicizing the Hiring and Firing of U.S. Attorneys?" In his Senate testimony, Deputy Attorney General Paul McNulty admitted that "a top federal prosecutor in Arkansas was removed to make room for a former aide to presidential adviser Karl Rove." (He defended the removal of the other six attorneys.) Nothing politicized about that!
--Bradford Plumer

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