NYT: Did US attorneys probe Democrats to 'impress' their DC bosses?
Published: Tuesday May 1, 2007
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An article in Tuesday's New York Times explores whether or not US attorneys may have probed Democrats in order to "impress" their DC bosses.

A former county prosecutor in Detroit, Michigan, acquitted of bribery charges, notes that the charges occurred while he was running for Congress as a Democrat.

"Was there some extra pressure on the United States attorney’s office, whether articulated or tacitly understood, by their superiors in Washington who would not look favorably upon the office if this case was not pursued?” Carl J. Marlinga asks. "I have to wonder."

Eric Lipton writes, "That kind of second guessing has surfaced with increasing frequency in recent weeks in states including Alabama, Maryland, Michigan, New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin. Since the dismissals of eight United States attorneys, local lawyers, politicians, editorial writers, members of Congress and defendants are questioning what they say is a pattern of investigating Democrats. They point to inquiries that drag on for years but end with no charges, an acquittal or convictions for relatively modest infractions."

While "Department officials point out that several prominent Republicans have been prosecuted in recent years, including former Representatives Randy Cunningham of California and Bob Ney of Ohio," Lipton notes that "[s]ome critics, though, are suggesting that the department dismissed some prosecutors to squelch corruption investigations of Republicans, while encouraging other prosecutors to go after Democrats."

Excerpts from article:


In Eastern Michigan since 2001, at least 21 Democratic public officials have been charged or linked to corruption inquiries, including the governor, the mayor of Detroit and several local officials, including Mr. Marlinga. Officials at the United States attorney’s office in Detroit identified one Republican who had been charged and said they did not have a list by party that would allow them to identify others.


And in Pennsylvania, Democratic Party officials and Mr. Farrell, the former federal prosecutor, are questioning if Mary Beth Buchanan, the United States attorney there, has tried to impress her bosses in Washington by investigating Democrats.

Her office spent more than two years looking into whether former Mayor Tom Murphy of Pittsburgh, offered firefighters a favorable labor contract in exchange for their endorsement. After Mr. Murphy left office, Ms. Buchanan announced she would not indict him.

She did not pursue charges against a Republican state legislator, Jeffrey E. Habay, or former Senator Rick Santorum, when they were accused of wrongdoing, Mr. Farrell said.