When Obama political appointees at the Justice Department interfered in the voter intimidation case against the New Black Panther Party, the Washington Post couldn’t be bothered. But when political appointees overrule career prosecutors and delay the indictment of Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell for corruption, that’s a front page above-the-fold story.
The Washington Post reports today that Deputy Attorney General James Cole overruled the recommendations to seek indictments of McDonnell by both career prosecutors in the United States Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Virginia, as well as the recommendation of United States Attorney Dana Boente.
This same DOJ unit in Virginia was also responsible for the successful prosecution of Congressman William “Frozen Cash” Jefferson (D-LA).
McDonnell is under criminal investigation for a variety of actions related to his relationship with the head of a nutritional supplement company that makes a product based on tobacco. Jonnie R. Williams Sr. gave McDonnell, and his wife Maureen, a variety of gifts and perks such as dresses, loans, rounds of golf, trips and a Rolex watch.
Career prosecutors have been methodically building a criminal case against McDonnell for over a year. Typically, the Justice Department waits until after an election to indict the accused so that the indictment will not have an effect on the election. With the election over weeks ago, indictments of McDonnell were expected. That’s when the political leadership at Justice intervened. The Washington Post:
The plan to seek the felony charges this week changed, however, after attorneys for the state’s first couple met with Deputy Attorney General James M. Cole on Dec. 12. . . . On Friday, the day after the meeting, McDonnell’s attorneys were told that the decision would be put on hold, the people said. A final decision about whether to press charges is now not expected before Jan. 2 and could come as late as February, they said.
James Cole is the #2 man at DOJ. He has been knee-deep in a cornucopia of bad behavior at the Justice Department including Fast and Furious, meddling in the drafting of reports by independent DOJ lawyers appointed by a federal judge in a case infested with DOJ misconduct, and the secret monitoring of reporter’s emails such as James Rosen at Fox.
Some might ask, well isn’t Cole working for a Democrat and McDonnell is a Republican? Sure, but the favors delivered by James Cole to Governor McDonnell aren’t about party. They are all about insiders and connections.
Few Americans facing criminal charges brought by the DOJ would enjoy an audience with the number two man at the Justice Department before those charges are pursued. Few Americans facing criminal charges would enjoy any favors from DOJ.
Consider the case of several New Orleans police officers facing prosecution from Cole’s Civil Rights Division. No favors came from Cole in their case. Instead, Cole dished out a swarm of edits on an internal report about DOJ misconduct demanded by a federal judge. The edits were designed to downplay prosecutorial misconduct by DOJ prosecutors. Cole wasn’t successful in concealing the scope of the misconduct as the federal judge eventually threw out multiple convictions because of Cole’s behavior and the behavior of his subordinate lawyers.
In Washington D.C. these days, the connected get favors. Those without connections feel the full fury of the DOJ, with brazen dishonesty to a federal court thrown in for good measure.
Governor McDonnell, by executive policy, made it a priority of his office to give thousands of felons the ability to vote in the 2013 general election, an election that GOP Attorney General Candidate Mark Obenshain lost by a few hundred votes.