Friday, May 11, 2007

New Scandal Brewing at DOJ?

Today, there is a hearing in Denver, CO. On Monday, there is a hearing in Chicago, IL. Depending on the Judge, the Justice Department could find itself in major legal trouble. While I can't discuss everything about the case, I'll give you the basic story.

Here's the background. The Justice Department has been investigating someone for corporate reimbursement. This is one of around a hundred cases being pursued by the Justice Department, citing a Federal law that allows them to criminally prosecute campaign finance violations.

That's where the scandal starts. The law that DOJ has been citing is outdated. A newer law requires a referral from the Federal Election Commission in order for the DOJ to pursue it criminally. The reason for this is that over 99% of campaign finance violations are settled by the FEC by fines. Only the most egregious ever are prosecuted criminally. Think about it. When is the last time you heard of criminal charges for campaign finance reasons?

Today, the Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington just today announced that they are filing a complained against Senator Mel Martinez for violations in his 2004 campaign. He also serves as the Chairman of the Republican National Committee. See their release here to see how far reaching his violations were. So far, there is no criminal prosecution of him. Hmmmm.....I wonder why.

I don't know how many of those hundred cases being pursued by DOJ are against Democrats. Nobody does because they won't tell us. There is probably a reason for that.

So, because they have been using an outdated law to investigate and prosecute, the Attorney General is being sued in Federal Court in several jurisdictions. The first hearings are the ones in Denver and Chicago. This could lead to the dismissal of all pending investigations.

However, it could be a watershed moment for another reason. Because of the recent oversight given to the Executive Branch, we now know that the Justice Department has circumvented the legal process and issued tens of thousands of "national security letters." These documents allow DOJ/FBI to forgo getting a Judge's approval for a subpoena. In other words, it allows bureaucrats to violate the Constitutional rights with no Judicial oversight. It is also done in secret.

But, there are indications that national security letters were issued in these campaign finance investigations. It is possible that this Justice Department abused the law to go on a crusade to investigate Democratic donors. So far, the Government has been unwilling to provide an answer to the question of whether or not this is true. If we're lucky, a Federal Judge in Denver or Chicago will seek the truth and uphold the spirit of the law and our Constitution.

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