Raise your hand if you can identify the inspector general of the United States.
I certainly couldn't do it until I came across this article from The New York Times. Glenn A. Fine, it turns out, is the inspector general, and he seems to be taking a serious interest in a number of matters involving the Bush Department of Justice (DOJ), including the firing of nine U.S. Attorneys.
In a letter to the Senate Judiciary Committee, Fine stated that he is looking into the actions of Attorney General Alberto Gonzalez and other high DOJ officials in the dismissals of nine U.S. attorneys last year. The issue of selective prosecution by the Bush DOJ has focused in recent months on Alabama, where former Governor Don Siegelman, a Democrat, was convicted on a variety of corruption charges.
Evidence has been mounting that the Siegelman prosecution was politically motivated. And your humble Legal Schnauzer blogger has overwhelming evidence regarding the flip side of the selective-prosecution equation. In my case, multiple Republican judges (and at least one attorney) in Alabama committed federal crimes and seem to be getting away with it because the Bush DOJ looks the other way.
Alice Martin, U.S. attorney for the northern district of Alabama, played a major role in the first attempt to prosecute Siegelman. And in the coming weeks, we will show the affirmative steps Ms. Martin has taken to keep a lid on the wrongdoing in the Legal Schnauzer case. Selective prosecution indeed.
So is Glenn Fine the type of upright public servant who can get to the bottom of the DOJ mess? Well, here is some biographical information. He certainly has an impressive academic background, and it sounds like he can play a mean game of hoops. The guy was drafted by the San Antonio Spurs after graduating from Harvard.
Let's hope he's not another Noel Hillman, a current federal judge and former head of the DOJ's Public Integrity Section. Scott Horton, of Harper's, notes the vital role that Hillman and Michael Chertoff played in pursuing political prosecutions while serving in the DOJ. It was Chertoff, then head of the criminal division, who appointed Hillman, a key political protege, to lead the Public Integrity Section. And it was Hillman who chose to go after Siegelman rather than pursuing connections between disgraced Republican lobbyist Jack Abramoff and current Alabama Governor Bob Riley.
Horton notes that while the Public Integrity Section did go after Abramoff, Michael Scanlon, and other key figures, Hillman managed to control the scandal, keeping it from being much worse for the GOP. Meanwhile, evidence that millions of dollars in Mississippi Choctaw Indian money had been funneled into Riley's campaign went cold.
All of this is of considerable interest here at Legal Schnauzer because Dax Swatek, a Riley aide with ties to Abramoff, is the son of Bill Swatek. It was Bill Swatek, an Alabama attorney with a lengthy history of ethical violations, who filed a bogus lawsuit against me that touched off a string of unlawful rulings by Republican judges.
Is it possible that Glenn Fine will pick up on a trail of corruption that Noel Hillman allowed to grow cold? Is it possible that Glenn Fine will get to the bottom of injustice in Alabama rather than covering it up?
We will be watching.