SEPTEMBER 16, 2014
The Department of Justice (DOJ) is responsible for enforcing the law, providing federal leadership in preventing crime and punishing those guilty of illegal behavior yet it allows its own officials to get away with all sorts of appalling crimes and transgressions.
As if this weren’t bad enough, the DOJ also protects its perpetrators, covering up their name and allowing them to keep their lucrative government jobs. Even the agency watchdog, which is charged with rooting out corruption, conceals crucial information about unscrupulous DOJ officials, including those in high-ranking positions. Now a national newspaper chain offers insight into this astounding cover-up scheme with documents obtained through the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), a federal law often used by Judicial Watch to expose government corruption.
The records don’t include names, but they do reveal a “startling array” of transgressions and misconduct in which DOJ officials nevertheless escaped prosecution or firing. It’s like the fox guarding the henhouse because the DOJ is responsible for prosecuting corruption in the public sector. This includes government agencies and elected officials at most levels. The records show that dozens of DOJ officials, ranging from FBI special agents and prison wardens to high-level federal prosecutors, have faced no consequences for criminal behavior or serious misconduct.
In at least 27 cases the inspector general identified evidence of criminal wrongdoing yet no one was prosecuted, the records show. These cases have been kept secret, the news agency’s analysis found, and reveal “more than an underside to federal law enforcement.” It also proves that federal prosecutors have way too much power in deciding whether to press charges, usually choosing not to when it comes to friends and colleagues. In fact, the DOJ Inspector General expressed concern about “two standards of justice at the Department of Justice.”
Yet the DOJ watchdog won’t release most of the names of those accused with wrongdoing or discuss details of the individual cases, further shielding the offenders as well as agency officials who refuse to take action. What we do know is that the DOJ Inspector General got about 5,900 misconduct complaints during a recent six-month period, opened 195 probes and had a hand in 32 arrests. This clearly indicates that there are serious problems inside the DOJ that aren’t likely to improve as long as the agency is allowed to police itself.
Here are some examples of what’s occurring; a U.S. Attorney violated federal laws and regulations by accepting a partially paid trip to a foreign country yet nothing happened to the presidential appointee. Another U.S. Attorney helped cover up her husband’s criminal activity by, among other things, misleading federal agents investigating the case. Two FBI supervisory special agents took free tickets to a professional basketball game and lied under oath about it. One of the agents misused government resources to engage in extramarital affairs with three women.
The list of transgressions and violations goes on and on and in most cases DOJ officials got off with little or no consequences. In fact, there has been an overall decline in public corruption prosecutions during the Obama administration, the newspaper analysis found. Only 34% of investigators’ referrals of public corruption allegations have been accepted this year compared to 41.6% prosecuted during the George W. Bush presidency.
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