Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Karl and Alberto Might Be Gone But The "Just Us" Department Is Still Doing Its Dirty Work In Pittsburg

Just when you begin to forget about the culture of partisan corruption that has swallowed the Justice Department, George H. W. Bush's former Attorney General, Dick Thornburgh tells a House subcommittee that the Federal case against his client, Dr. Cyril Wecht, is a collection of "nickel and dime transgressions" including use of the county coroner's office fax machine for personal business.

Thornburgh, who should know, says this case against Wecht is atypical for a Federal corruption prosecution, at least before this administration, because there is "no evidence of a bribe or kickback" and no evidence that Wecht traded on his position or engaged in a conflict of interest. The charges grew out of allegations that he used county equipment and staff to assist him in his private pathology practice. Wecht is a nationally known forensics expert used by prosecutors and defense attorneys across the country. Purely state court stuff, at best. More likely a juicy issue for his next Republican opponent. Hardly a Federal case.

Thornburgh believes that because Wecht is a high-profile Democrat, he is "an ideal target for a Republican U .S. Attorney trying to curry favor with a Department which demonstrated that if you play by its rules, you will advance." The former AG pointed out that the U.S. Attorney handling the case, Pittsburgh's Mary Beth Buchanan, has prosecuted "not one" Republican, while prosecuting several Democrats in a "highly visible manner." Apparently all of her political prosecutions have been timed to influence elections. Watch TPM's video for the rest of the story.

More after the break.

First, Georgia Thompson and now this. Thornburgh thinks there is a pattern. Maybe the rest of us should take him seriously.

Again I ask how many more Georgia Thompsons are out there the victim of frivolous charges were brought by hyper partisan Republican U.S. Attorneys against members of Democrats in support of a craven effort to influence elections?

For more on yesterdays hearing you might want to read this editorial in the New York times.