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Friday, January 19, 2007

Politicizing U.S. attorneys

Good-government advocates and, yes, Democrats are decrying the removal of several U.S. attorneys nationwide who have shown their independence by aggressively investigating people close to the Bush administration. One of them, Carol Lam of San Diego, pursued the probe that led to the bribery arrest and eventual resignation of Rep. Randy "Duke" Cunningham, R-Calif. The ostensible reason for her ouster: She didn't make catching smugglers the priority Washington wants it to be.

Maybe even worse, these critics say, their replacements don't have to be approved by the Senate, thanks to a loophole written into the revised USA Patriot Act that allows the U.S. attorney general to fill vacancies indefinitely without time-consuming confirmation hearings.

This practice politicizes an office that should be above politics. It's apt to discourage U.S. attorneys from going after the bad guys, regardless of political connections, for fear of incurring the Justice Department's wrath.

Let's hope the A.G. isn't looking over the shoulder of Christopher Christie here in New Jersey. Christie has made political corruption a hallmark of his tenure, with members of both political parties stung by the investigations by his staff and the FBI. Christie has become a hero to New Jerseyans fed up with corruption involving their elected officials. He exercises the kind of independence law enforcement everywhere needs.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

The President, Mr. Benjamin, is ultimately responsible for enforcing the laws of the United States. If the President directs his Attorney General to focus on smuggling, then those US Attorneys who serve at the pleasure of the President had better do what the boss wants done.

If those US Attorneys want independence, they can get elected President themselves. Until then, and like every other employee of the Executive Branch, they are accountable to man the American people put in the White House.

4:31 AM, January 22, 2007  
Blogger Ray said...

The President is an ass. And a corrupt one at that. If Not-Too-Curious-George were really the "law and order Republican" he pretends to be, he wouldn't be getting rid of people who do their jobs and route out crime and corruption as their oaths of office require. To say that they're not focusing where the President would like, "at his pleasure", is simply a partisan excuse and the same sort of technical subterfuge that we've come to expect from rogue Republicans who live for power and who are quite happy to tear down the Constitution for their own political ends. To remove prosecutors who've gone after cronies is corruption, pure and simple, and no posturing can hide that fact.

11:43 PM, January 31, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...
See you.

8:02 PM, February 04, 2007  

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