Now we learn that Martin is not the only Bush prosecutor who is clinging to the reigns of power for dear life. Scott Horton, of The Daily Beast, reports that Pennsylvania U.S. Attorney Mary Beth Buchanan also is refusing to leave office.
Buchanan is borrowing a page from the Martin playbook, arguing that her district around Pittsburgh is so beset with crooked Democrats that she has to stay on to clean out the vermin.
Traditionally, U.S. attorneys serve at the pleasure of the president, and those who are on board turn in their resignations when administrations change hands. Word of that tradition apparently never reached Martin and Buchanan. Reports Horton:
U.S. attorneys Buchanan and Martin appear girded to make a last stand like Japanese soldiers who never got word that the war was over.
I don't normally laugh when reading about corrupt Bush appointees. But that line made me guffaw. Horton reports that last month Buchanan released a letter stating that she had no intention of submitting her resignation.
So what gives with Buchanan? Horton clues us in:
An ideologically committed Federalist Society member, Buchanan is close to former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum, who actively promoted her as U.S. attorney. Following her appointment in 2001, Buchanan quickly gained the favor and approval of the White House. In the key period of 2004-05, while groundwork was laid for what later became the U.S. attorney's scandal, Buchanan served as director of the Executive Office for U.S. Attorneys, the key position at Justice that oversaw all the 94 U.S. attorneys. A later internal Justice Department probe, in which Buchanan figures prominently, highlights the role played by that office in Karl Rove’s plan to sack U.S. attorneys.
Buchanan is best known for two cases. One involved the prosecution of Tommy Chong, of Cheech and Chong fame, because of a company founded and run by his son. Never mind that Chong had no criminal record and his activities were not considered criminal by many legal experts. The case was the subject of a popular 2005 documentary titled a/k/a Tommy Chong.
The second case involved Dr. Cyril Wecht, one of the country's most prominent medical examiners and a frequent guest on news shows. The case against Wecht involves, among other things, allegations that he used his office phone and fax machine for personal matters. We're not making this up, folks!
Wecht's first trial ended in a hung jury, and Buchanan cites the need to prosecute him again as one reason for staying on.
As for Martin, Horton notes her thirst for political-corruption cases--as long as the targets are Democrats. Some of her most high-profile cases involve Birmingham Mayor Larry Langford, state representative Sue Schmitz, and state senator E.B. McClain. "She is reported to be preparing charges against as many as a dozen other Democratic members of the state legislature," Horton reports.
This would appear to dovetail nicely with the Alabama Republican Party's stated plans to take over the state legislature in 2010. But the clock seems to have struck midnight on Queen Alice's plan to rid Alabama of people who might be a little bit liberal. So many Democrats, so little time!
As you might expect from a loyal Bushie, Martin appears to be playing politics up to the last minute--and beyond:
Martin previously coveted an appointment as a federal judge, but her efforts fell flat, largely as a result of mounting questions over her prosecutorial record. With the new administration approaching, she made clear her desire to hold on to her post as U.S. attorney for another year of prosecutions. Her Kafkaesque argument: she is targeting corrupt Democratic politicians and investigating others. Therefore, her removal under these circumstances and replacement by an Obama appointee would be “unseemly.” Martin has enlisted the support of Alabama Republican Sen. Jeff Sessions, a member of the Judiciary Committee, in her bid to become a holdover. Alabama Democrats, however, led by Cong. Artur Davis do not cotton to Martin’s scheme. They recently sent the Obama transition team a slate of recommendations, focusing on candidates with strong federal prosecutorial experience and a minimum of political baggage.
Like the true believers in a misguided crusade, Martin and Buchanan are hunkering down for one final battle:
Buchanan and Martin seem to be bucking for a fight. Do they want to be fired? So far, it looks like they’re daring Obama to fire them. The fireworks may last beyond Inauguration Day.
If the Obama crowd is reluctant to pull the switch on these two, I'm guessing they will find no shortage of volunteers willing to do it for them. In fact, I know of a certain Legal Schnauzer who would battle for a spot near the front of the line.