Second Shoe Drops on Prosecuter Purge Scandal.

The Prosecuter Purge Scandal (aka Gonzales Gate?) flared into national prominence with the firing of 6 US Attorneys for political reasons. What political reasons? Because they refused to pursue investigations of Democratic candidates or elected officials, or they refused to stop investigations into Republicans.

Now the second shoe drops: The Un-Purged Prosecutor Scandal, namely all the un-fired US Attorneys must have been playing nicey-nicey with the Bush Administration.  Paul Krugman in Friday's NYT picks up the story percolating up from Paul Kiel at TPM Muckraker. H/T also goes to to  Barbara O'Brien at Mahablog.

The original source for the Un-Purged Prosecutor Scandal comes from an article published at The Political Profiling of Elected Democratic Officials. Media reseearchers Donald Shields and John Cragan document the pattern of targetting Democratic investigations and indictments by Bush Justice Deptartment over the 6 years of the Bush Administration. I'll let them talk:

We compare political profiling to racial profiling by presenting the results (January 2001 through December 2006) of the U.S. Attorneys' federal investigation and/or indictment of 375 elected officials. The distribution of party affiliation of the sample is compared to the available normative data (50% Dem, 41% GOP, and 9% Ind.).

Data indicate that the offices of the U.S. Atttorneys across the nation investigate seven (7) times as many Democratic officials as they investigate Republican officials, a number that exceeds even the racial profiling of African Americans in traffic stops.

Below the radar of national journalists.

A second pattern emerges from the data. Local and in-state Democrats were primarily targeted. State-wide and National candidates or officials were treated in a more even-handed way, presumably because partisan profililng at the higher level would draw too much attention.  Ultimately, this use of inuendo and investigation is an attack methodology that bears the imprint of Karl Rove's Standard Operating Procedure.

The Database of political profiling is available for lanyone to pursue more in-depth research. In particular, local bloggers may want to pick up the thread.

Tags: alberto gonzales, bush administration, Prosecutor Purge, US Attorneys (all tags)


1 Comment

What It Looks Like On The Ground.

Point # 5 under "The Harms of Political Profiling of Elected Democratic Officials" reads:

By keeping political profiling at the local level -- in this way the story is most likely not to be viewed nationally -- it makes it harder for reporters to connect the dots between corruption investigations in say Atlanta, Chicago, Las Vegas, or Philadelphia let alone towns like Carson, Colton, East Point, or Escambia, or counties like Cherokee, Harrison, Hudson, or Lake. Each local report of a corruption investigation appears as only an isolated incident rather than as a central example of a broader pattern created by the Bush Justice Department's unethical practice of political profiling.
Carson happens to be in the coverage area of the biweekly I work for, and the corruption case there was pretty open-and-shut, thanks to an incriminating document that was sent to the wrong fax machine.  But what was less open-and-shut was the degree to which the principals caught red-handed were used in further investigtions.  This is precisely the point at which USA Carol Lam was fired.

It's also precisely the point at which (a) prosecutorial discretion is both most important, and most easily  politicized and (b) numbers are most easily run up.  In the Carson, the open exposure of one case was used to flip defendents for another case.  The result was a total of six convictions--including the son of sitting Congresswoman, whom it was widely assumed would have a long political career, almost certainly following her to Congress.

Now, I think it was entirely proper for the USA to proceed that way in this case--at least as far as we know for sure.  (There may have been a failed political attempt to take down the Congresswoman as well, which would not be proper.  This was certainly rumored, but never proven.)  But the question is--how many times could similar expansions of scope yielded multiple convictions, which we not pursued?  And how often did this happen when Republicans were involved?

This is a very difficult question to answer, since it's often quite difficult to evaluate what opportunities exist to build further credible cases. And certainly trying to quantify such possible cases would be highly problematic.

But the interupted expansion of the Cunningham investigation illustrates precisely such a scenario--especially since it's been alleged that Cunningham simply got greedy and went overboard, and that Jerry Lewis is the real kingpin in the broader scheme of things.

While there is no way to quantify such non-prosecutions, the data that has been assembled must be assumed to indicate something about the relative zeal with which prosecutors looked for the possibilities of multiple prosecutions.  There are certainly some notable examples of multiple investigations in the database--19 Baltimore city council members for a "Wide-ranging investigation" for example.  This is very likely a hidden dimension to this story that we should all bear in mind.

by Paul Rosenberg 2007-03-11 08:08AM | 0 recs


Advertise Blogads