Attorney General

DOJ Investigates GOP

Posted Jul 27, 2007 10:09 AM CDT
By Debra Cassens Weiss

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The Justice Department is investigating more than a dozen current and former members of Congress for corruption, and most of the targets appear to be Republicans.

Lawyer Jan Baran, who focuses on ethics law, told the New York Times it’s not a surprising state of affairs, given the GOP lock on Congress before this year. “Money follows power,” he said. “Those that don’t hold power are less susceptible to corruption, because they don’t have anything to sell.”

Two of those investigations are playing a part in the congressional investigation of fired U.S. attorneys. Inquiring Democratic lawmakers want to know if federal prosecutors in California and Arizona were ousted because they were investigating Republicans.

Fired U.S. Attorney Carol Lam of San Diego led an investigation into former Republican congressman Randy "Duke" Cunningham, who was sentenced in March 2006 to taking more than $2.4 million from defense contractors. This San Diego Union-Tribune story speculates on reasons for her firing.

Fired U.S. Attorney Paul Charlton of Arizona was leading the investigation of a land deal benefiting an associate of Republican Rep. Rick Renzi. No charges have been filed against Renzi. This April 25 Wall Street Journal story (sub. req.) has details.

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