September 21, 2008

An update on Dr. Cyril Wecht: Meteor Blades

Fri Sep 19, 2008 at 09:42:09 PM PDT

Today, at his "No Comment" blog at Harper's, Scott Horton took note that when some bureaucrats at the Interior Department's Minerals Management Service that handle federal oil leasing royalties were found to be literally in bed with corporate officials with whom they do the public's business, the Public Integrity Section of Cheney-Bush Department of Justice chose not to prosecute. And they gave no reasons why.

Like wise with Mark Foley. You remember him, surely, the Republican Representative from Florida whose sexually graphic emails and instant messages to former and currently serving Congressional pages made a big splash in 2006. The DoJ is letting that go without prosecution, too.

Public Integrity, Redefined

If you’re trying to understand why the Justice Department under Bush has reached a modern low water level in public confidence, look no further.

Or perhaps consider some of the public integrity cases which are being prosecuted, at a cost of millions in taxpayer dollars. Graft, cocaine and sexual favors at Interior is considered nothing serious. Improper dealings with minors and the texting of sexually explicit solicitations apparently can just be overlooked. Compare this with Sue Schmitz, the Alabama legislator who allegedly underperformed on a series of consultancy contracts, and was sued for fraud as a result: the prosecution’s thundering condemnation was that she kept bad time records on a contract to promote the interests of a secondary education contractor at the legislature. Schmitz’s first trial, at a cost to the public of some $2 million, produced no conviction, so now the Justice Department indicates it will try a second time—rushing to get the prosecution done before regime change in Washington brings an end to the charade.

Or consider the case of Pittsburgh’s Cyril Wecht, also prosecuted in a high-profile case on a series of bizarre petty offenses. That prosecution also failed. In the Wecht case as well, Justice insists on a new trial, and is racing to complete it before the coach turns into a pumpkin on January 20. In the Wecht case, the appeals court has just removed the George W. Bush-appointed judge who presided over the case and whose consistently less-than-even-handed management of the case was the subject of widespread comment.

So how to differentiate the decision not to prosecute the coke-snorting, party-animal Bush appointees at Interior and the party-animal Congressman chasing after young pages from the 63-year-old school teacher in Alabama who kept bad time records and the prominent Pittsburgh medical examiner who had the indecency to make personal use of his fax machine? The latter two are Democrats. [My emphasis - MB]

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