What Fresh Hell Is This?

March 17, 2007

US Attorney Scandal - A Western PA Echo

Last week, I blogged on something I'd found in Philly. At its heart was a question Paul Krugman had asked: If those US Attorneys were fired for not playing ball with the Bush Administration, what about the 85 or so who weren't fired? They were the acceptable US Attorneys - the ones identified as "loyal" to the Attorney General and the Administration.

Seems that Andy Sheehan over at KDKA has been looking into our own US Attorney, Mary Beth Buchanan:
Congress wants to know if seven U.S. Attorneys were fired because they were not aggressive enough in prosecuting Democrats.

Now, local leaders are raising questions about our own U.S. Attorney Mary Beth Buchanan and whether her prosecutions of Democrats were politically motivated.
And the charge:

In the past three years, there have been a parade of witnesses appearing before grand juries probing high ranking public officials for alleged corruption: former Sheriff Pete DeFazio, former Mayor Tom Murphy and former Allegheny County Medical Examiner Cyril Wecht.

They are all Democrats…. all investigated by Buchanan, who is a Republican.

Sheehan also wonders if Buchanan's non-investigation of then-Senator Rick Santorum's non-residency in Penn Hills was politically motivated.

There's a surpise of sorts at the end of the piece:

But former Assistant U.S. Attorney Tom Farrell says the D.C. revelations have now tainted the Pittsburgh U.S. Attorney's Office and says Buchanan must take a drastic step to restore public confidence.

"Because I want to see public trust in that office restored," said Farrell. "I think she would serve the people of this district well if she resigned."[Emphasis added]

There is good news, I guess. Sheehan reports that Buchanan is, in fact, investigating a local Republican Congressman - Tim Murphy.

You remember Tim Murphy, right? He's the local Congressman accused of mixing his Congressional staff with his campaign staff (a serious ethics violation - just ask Jeff Habay).

I wonder if with all this negative publicity, we'll learn that Mary Beth Buchanan's investigation of Congressman Murphy is "coincidentally" nearing completion.

UPDATE: Andy Sheehan's piece has made it onto Talkingpointsmemo.


Richmond K. Turner said...

To be fair, it would be hard to examine political corruption in this part of the world and not end up investigating Democrats. While I grant that there are a small number of Republicans out there in the hinterlands who would be worthy of investigation, the U.S. Attorney for Western Pennsylvania could throw a golfball out her office window and be almost guaranteed to score a direct hit on at least one massively corrupt Democrat, and still have a 50% liklihood of pegging another one on the bounce.

Jonathan Potts said...

The admiral's comment raises another point--if you get rid of a local Democratic office holder in Pittsburgh and much of Allegheny County, his or her replacement is going to be a Democrat. The Allegheny County Republican Committee can't even field a candidate for the county executive, an office the GOP held four years ago.

But let's not forget that Mary Beth Buchanan has spent much of her time chasing down head shops and porn distributors. Such prosecutions would seem to appeal to a certain segment of the Republican base.

Anonymous said...

Yeah, but she looks better in a skirt than Farrell does. Or Potts, for that matter.

Jonathan Potts said...

Yeah, but have you seen me in fishnets?

EdHeath said...

I have no idea how small or large the number of republicans worth investigating/prosecuting in the hinterlands is. And I guess the idea is that we aren't going to know because the US attorney's are being discouraged from investigating. Not that the democrat won’t try the same thing themselves, if they get the Presidency. But right now it’s this president targeting democrats.