A key ethics investigator at Eric Holder’s Justice Department has contributed $6,100 to Barack Obama’s election campaign even though she has participated in high-profile investigations of political misconduct at the Department of Justice Office of Professional Responsibility.
Mary Aubry is an attorney in the Office of Professional Responsibility. The office has investigated a wide range of politically sensitive matters including the dismissal of the New Black Panther voter intimidation case, terrorist interrogation techniques, and the “investigation” into the firing of United States attorneys who served at the pleasure of President Bush.
After Hans von Spakovsky drew attention to Aubry’s political contributions in this 2011 article, she was removed from investigation into the New Black Panther dismissal. Years after Aubry’s OPR office issued a bungled report on the New Black Panther dismissal, DOJ’s independent inspector general revealed in a subsequent report the deep involvement of political appointees in the matter.
The investigation of the New Black Panther Party case has dragged on for more than a year and a half. OPR had to remove the lawyer initially assigned to investigate the case (Mary Aubry) after it became public that she had made thousands of dollars of political contributions to Barack Obama, other Democratic candidates, and the Democratic National Committee, with the latest contribution to the DNC coming as recently as July 13, 2010.
More recent FEC data show that Aubry didn’t stop her political participation after von Spakovsky’s 2011 story revealed her thousands in contributions. According to the FEC, Aubry made four more contributions to Obama’s 2012 reelection campaign after von Spakovsky’s article was published, all of them listing her employer as the “U.S. Dept. of Justice.”
U.S. Justice Department prosecutor Mary Aubry, 57, who meditates 1 to 2 hours a day, told the Post she will participate in the Kalachakra, which is dedicated to world peace. “If there’s anything I can do to clean up my own act and spread some goodness, I want to do what I can,” she said.
Aubry also has travelled to Congress for lunchtime training of Hill staff “to help folks unwind.”
There is nothing technically illegal about Aubry’s political contributions to Obama’s reelection. The Department of Justice prohibits certain employees from engaging in political activities such as FBI officials and administrative law judges, but the extension does not extend to Aubry’s key ethics office. This is unfortunate. As I wrote in my book Injustice: “Reports from these units have continually echoed campaign themes from Democratic presidential candidates and, in fact, became central themes of Obama’s candidacy.”
People like Aubry happily advance the narrative inside the DOJ that Democrats like Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vermont) are pushing on the outside. The head of OPR is appointed directly by the attorney general, yet many in the media take reports from the unit seriously. Former Attorney General Michael Mukasey, thankfully, did not. Again, from Injustice:
Concluding that Bush-era lawyers John Yoo and Jay Bybee committed professional misconduct in giving advice about interrogation tactics for suspected terrorists, [an OPR lawyer] recommended disciplinary proceedings be opened against the pair. Kessler’s attack mirrored a major theme of the Obama campaign—the Bush administration’s allegedly lawless interrogation tactics—but it was fundamentally bad lawyering. Dana Perino and Bill Burck wrote of Kessler’s work, “In college, OPR couldn’t pull a ‘gentleman’s B’ for this report, even in the era of grade inflation. Since nobody fails any more, let’s call it D-minus work.”
Moreover, then-Attorney General Michael Mukasey and Deputy Attorney General Mark Filip recognized the shoddy nature of Kessler’s analysis. They wrote a letter to the OPR arguing Kessler’s work was “based on factual errors, legal analysis by commentators and scholars with unstated potential biases, unsupported speculation about the motives of Messrs. Bybee and Yoo, and a misunderstanding of certain significant … interagency practices.”
Whether it is the battle against Islamic terrorists, the firing of U.S. attorneys, or the dismissal of the New Black Panther case, OPR can always be trusted to memorialize on DOJ letterhead the left-wing narrative and give it an imprimatur of respectability. Sadly, Aubry’s $6,100 in donations to Obama’s campaign reveal OPR is most useful not in rooting out unethical behavior inside DOJ, but in advancing the latest leftist narrative.