Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Grand Old Police Blotter: Criminal Incompetence Edition

Former Associate Attorney General Robert Litt reports on the phoney-baloney Cisneros investigation, a boondoggle which failed to deliver for even the most sociopathic Clinton haters (scroll up). Writes Litt:

Nonpartisan career lawyers in the department's Criminal Division and in the Tax Division studied the independent counsel's application in great detail over several weeks. They met with his office, reviewed documents and interviewed witnesses. Each of them concluded that, with the exception of a single year's tax return, there were no reasonable grounds to investigate Cisneros for tax violations.

These career lawyers found that the independent counsel's submission was full of legal and factual errors. For example, the independent counsel claimed that Cisneros had failed to report over $100,000 in income during 1991, but he was unable to produce evidence that there was any unreported income at all.

The conclusions of the career lawyers were reviewed in detail by other officials including myself, up to the attorney general. Every single lawyer in the Justice Department who reviewed this matter concurred in the analysis. As a result, [David]Barrett's jurisdiction was expanded to permit him to investigate one tax year, for which there was barely adequate evidence -- although as it turned out, he never brought any tax charges.

Ironically, jurisdiction to investigate one year's tax violations in effect permitted the independent counsel to investigate all tax years. Under established legal principles, evidence of conduct in one year can be relevant to show tax evasion in another year. Everyone at the department recognized this; apparently, the independent counsel did not.

We look forward to Barrett's next enterprise, one where he can apply all of his special skills: a right-wing blog. Maybe a boutique lawblog of dishonest Republican hacks: Barrett, Reynolds, Levin & Hewitt LLP.

(Link via TalkLeft.)

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