Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Justice Department Investigations: Do They Go Ever Go Up?

The news reported about Justice Department investigations of a number of Congresspersons, Republicans and Democrats. The Justice Head, Alberto Gonzales said:

"We can't look at what party someone is a member of in deciding whether or not to pursue an investigation. We have to follow the evidence wherever it leads."

While he has called government corruption prosecution one of his top priorities, his focus to date has been on the Legislative branch. Does he ever investigate any of his brothers or sisters in the Executive? Has he looked into why President Bush left out the hospital with the largest death toll in Hurricane Katrina? Why did he or Frances Townsend omit any mention of Carlyle Group affiliate LifeCare’s 24 patient deaths?

The evidence of the 24 deaths is clear. A simple search of the White House Lessons Learned report will find no mention of LifeCare, Memorial Hospital, Tenet Healthcare, or the Louisiana Hospital Association (the trade group that coordinated the evacuation of hospital patients while FEMA fumbled). So who will look into this suspicious evidence available to the common citizen? Will Alberto’s crackerjack team be told to stay away?

The aggressive pursuit of Republican lawmakers by Bush administration prosecutors is a sign of the independent streak of career attorneys inside the public integrity unit, said Paul F. Rothstein, a legal and government ethics professor at Georgetown Law School.

"A lot of them are nonpolitical - they do have a taste for rooting out corruption and wrongdoing," Rothstein said. "There are some tensions coming from it. ... It's probably a very delicate and agonizing situation for the political appointees at the top" of the Justice Department.

Do those Justice Department investigations ever go up?

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