March 20, 2007

More on Mary Beth Buchanan

On Saturday, I blogged on Andy Sheehan's story on KDKA about Mary Beth Buchanan. Sunday, the P-G had it's own story on her - written by Paula Reed Ward.

While the KDKA piece had a far more accusatory tone, the P-G's at least tried to offer some balance. I'm just not sure it did much to help Buchanan's reputation. The piece paints her as extremely ambitious while being a true Bush team player:

While the firing of eight U.S. attorneys across the country has focused attention on those who didn't get with the administration's program, Ms. Buchanan has proved herself to be a perfect fit.

She's loyal, hard-working and smart.

"She is very focused to the department first of all," said one current assistant U.S. attorney, who asked not to be named. "She's not independent, and I don't think she wants to be."

Considering that the fired US Attorneys were let go (or asked to leave or whatever) for not being loyal enough, non-independence might not be the best course for Buchanan. But, as they say, the die is cast. The deal is set. You gotta dance with the one that brought ya.

At the beginning of this month, I linked to a dailykos post that quoted something New York Times Columnist Paul Krugman wrote:
The Gonzales Eight were fired because they wouldn’t go along with the Bush administration’s politicization of justice. But statistical evidence suggests that many other prosecutors decided to protect their jobs or further their careers by doing what the administration wanted them to do: harass Democrats while turning a blind eye to Republican malfeasance.
The P-G piece notes that "statistical evidence" as well:

A recently released study by two retired communication professors found that under the Bush administration, the Department of Justice has investigated elected Democratic officeholders and office seekers locally seven times more than their Republican counterparts.

The authors looked at 375 federal criminal cases across the country that targeted public officials from 2001 to 2006.

They found that of those, 298 defendants were Democrats; 67 were Republicans and 10 were independents.

That number comes despite a statistic that shows that Democratic officeholders outnumber Republicans nationally by only 50 percent to 41 percent, said one of the authors, Donald C. Shields, a professor emeritus of communication at the University of Missouri at St. Louis.

And while it's true that there are far more Democrats in power in Allegheny County, Allegheny County is not the only county in Western PA - Mary Beth Buchanan's geographic area of responsibility.

At the end of the KDKA piece Former Assistant US Attorney Tom Farrell calls for Buchanan's resignation. In today's P-G, he expands on that call:
The Bush administration's efforts to use an obscure provision of the Patriot Act to replace U.S. attorneys it deemed too vigorous in investigating Republican officials, too slow in indicting Democratic public officials or too reluctant to investigate "voter fraud" -- a euphemism for attempting to suppress the minority vote -- caused me to re-think my opinion of the fairness of Western Pennsylvania's U.S. attorney, Mary Beth Buchanan. I began to wonder why all of the recent public-corruption investigations in our region have been of Democrats.
She's "inflated law enforcement successes" by misclassifying routine immigration cases as "anti-terrorism" cases. She's repeated administration falsehoods in her defense of the USAPatriot Act, for instance falsely claiming (according to Farrell) that:
...until enactment of the Patriot Act, federal prosecutors could not obtain emergency wiretaps to prevent imminent terrorist attacks; to the contrary, a 1995 Justice Department bulletin instructed prosecutors like me and Ms. Buchanan how the pre-Patriot law could be used to do just that.
But all this regards what Buchanan has done - what has she left undone?

Why apparently no investigation into Republican U.S. Rep. Tim Murphy's use of government office staff to support his campaign -- which is not unlike what happened in the Allegheny County sheriff's office? Ms. Buchanan also left to local authorities the prosecution of Republican state Rep. Jeff Habay after similar accusations arose.

And what of ex-U.S. Sen. Rick Santorum, Ms. Buchanan's political sponsor? He misrepresented his family's residency in order to obtain state-funded cyber schooling for his children. Yet there appears to have been no investigation. I fear the worst.

Lil Ricky was her sponsor? I fear the worst, too.

Farrell has great faith in the staff over there, just not in the US Attorney herself. The US Attorney's office must be beyond reproach, he said. If it isn't, the trust among the faithful must be restored.

Mary Beth Buchanan must resign.


EdHeath said...

Um, decent (if a little strident) post, but I have to ask, what does this sentence mean: "Considering that the fired US Attorneys were let go (or asked to leave or whatever) for not being loyal enough, non-independence might not be the best course for Buchanan."? Um, isn’t *non*-independence in fact the *best* course for MB considering a White House that favors loyalty.

I thought the Tim Murphy investigation was federal, but that’s not because I actually read it anywhere. Mary Beth has done some things with women’s protection legislation, but I don’t get the impression that she is all that serious about it. I guess she’d better concentrate more on disenfranchisement, otherwise Pennsylvania might go even blue-r in two years (“Together we can” … keep the republicans in power)..

Anonymous said...

Perhaps it's true, perhaps it's not. One thing to consider is that Mary Beth did not consider that prosecuting Mel and John Weinstein for voter fraud was worthwhile. From my perspective it was a slam dunk case, and yet there were no charges filed. They are Democrats, and one is the county treasurer.

Stevie Z said...

Interesting stuff. I've been blogging about AttorneyGate and have been looking for more info on the specific cases being worked upon by the Gonzales 8. It didn't even occur to me to fully consider the flip side- those US attorneys who played ball and went along with the evil plans of Bush/Cheney/Rove and used their office in much the same way Nixon et al used various federal offices to harrass and punish their "enemies" and to what extent this occurred.

Dayvoe said...


My point was that it entangles MBB into the web of the administration's firing scandal.

OF COURSE an independent USAttorney is the best thing. But touting her loyalty and non-independence is only going to get her in deeper trouble.

That's what I was aiming for.

I'll strive to write clearer in the future.

"Strident"? Oh, Ed. You haven't seen what they're writing over at the BurghReport this morning (3/20/07) about Luke Ravenstahl, have you???

THAT'S strident (and that's NOT a criticism on my part, of course). My stuff above is dishwater dull in comparision.



Anonymous said...

Mary Beth needs a good spanking.

Anonymous said...

Mary got her job because her old man,Tom Buchanan(a partner with Buchanan/Ingersoll)donated a large sum to the Bush campaign.The reason that Tom Murphy got a pass was that the City of Pittsburgh did million$ worth of business with B & I.Hopefully when W's house of cards collapses,it will fall on Mary's head.She doesn't deserve to be the U.S.Attorney for W.D.of PA.