Squaring the Culture

"...and I will make justice the plumb line, and righteousness the level;
then hail will sweep away the refuge of lies,
and the waters will overflow the secret place."
Isaiah 28:17

02/08/2009 (5:51 pm)

The De-politicized Justice Department (Updated)

Leftists have been raging for the past two years over the alleged politicizing of the Justice Department by the Bush administration. Their evidence consists of the perfectly legal firings of several Justice Department attorneys for various reasons, a few of which include failure to carry out Justice Department policy in investigating and prosecuting voter fraud by Democrats. Also included in the case file is an admission by mid-level attorneys that they would not hire Democrats, a move unfortunately motivated by the desire to change the mix of the Department after the Clinton administration refused to hire Republicans for 8 years. And finally, a couple of conspiracy theorists insist that Karl Rove fomented a plot to falsely indict Don Siegelman, Democratic Governor of Alabama, in a pay-for-play scheme in which three other men plead guilty. For these offenses against justice, Democrats seethe with rage against those crooked, unscrupulous Republicans.

Today, within the first week after Michael Steele was elected chairman of the Republican National Committee, a “mistake” by a US Attorney sent a sealed sentencing memo “inadvertently” to the Washington Post, containing unsubstantiated allegations against Steele by a felon seeking a reduced sentence. The Post ran the story on the front page above the fold, as would be expected. Now the RNC chairman, instead of being properly investigated out of the public eye as demanded by the court (with no need for exoneration if the accusations don’t check out,) gets to have his case judged by the entire American public without proper investigation. Obama’s justice: change we can believe in.

From the Washington Post story:

The U.S. attorney’s office inadvertently sent the confidential document, a defense sentencing memorandum filed under seal, to The Washington Post after the newspaper requested the prosecution’s sentencing memorandum.

The charges in the memo have to do with improper handling of campaign funds. It’s hard to say whether the funds were handled improperly or not; all we have is an accusation. Steele will have to live with the allegations for the rest of his life.

Meanwhile, I wonder what the Justice Department is doing to investigate the tens of millions of dollars apparently raised illegally from foreign sources by the Obama campaign? How far along do you suppose that investigation has gone?

[sarcasm]I’m just so absolutely relieved that the Justice Department is now in the hands of those who will not politicize it.[/sarcasm]

[more sarcasm]I’ll be interested in reading the outrage that is certain to come from Scott Horton of Harper’s and Glenn Greenwald of Salon.com. After all, Messrs. Horton and Greenwald have been the champions of a Justice Department above partisan bias these last years; surely they will object to this barely veiled cheap shot.[/more sarcasm]

The US Attorney who committed this “error” must be fired immediately. This is an unconscionable act, and unlike the piddling nonsense touted by the hypocrites of the Democratic party, a genuine politicizing of justice.

Tips o’ the plumb bob to Steve Hayward of The Corner, whose attorney spouse observes that its entirely unclear that any law has been broken, and to Hot Air which reports more detail.

Scott Horton, who writes for Harper’s and is mentioned in this post, commented that the Obama administration’s appointments have not yet been seated, and that the US Attorney responsible for the case in which Steele peripherally is involved, was a Bush appointee and probably a conservative. If this is true, it changes the picture somewhat, and makes this a case of covert partisan opportunism rather than any overt malfeasance of the Obama administration. To wit: even if Horton’s claims are true, surely the timing of the leak is suspect. The question becomes “who leaked the sealed sentencing document?”

My call for the firing of the US Attorney is obviously premature, and I regret the error. However, I maintain that the leak is manifestly the result of partisan opportunism, and should be of concern to anyone who claims interest in keeping the Justice Dept. bias-free, Mr. Horton included. If the law ever becomes a weapon to be used by partisans against their opponents, then none of us will be safe, and the US political landscape will take on the worst characteristics of third-world politics. More to the point, breaking the law to achieve partisan advantage cannot be tolerated. Whoever leaked this document to the Post should be fired.

The law has clearly been the tool of Democratic partisans against Republicans, a development of the past few decades that must be reversed if the Republic is to be saved. The Clinton Justice Department was, by far, the most partisan in our history. Some of these partisans have been working overtime to create the appearance of comparable lawlessness by Republican partisans against Democrats, while ignoring or deliberately obscuring far worse Democratic malfeasance. These may be well-meaning dupes, which is forgivable, but on the whole they’re either too well educated to be considered dupes, or too partisan to be considered well-meaning.

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