The DOJ norm of avoiding comments or actions before elections typically guarantees the reëlection of politicians suspected of corruption.
By Progress New York Staff
Besides examining controversies related to the investigation of the alleged use by former First Lady Hillary Rodham Clinton of an unsecured server to transmit and save confidential information, a report released last week by the Office of the Inspector General for the U.S. Department of Justice also confirmed that there is a bias by Federal law enforcement officials, including expressed reservations made by former Federal Bureau of Investigation director James Comey, Jr., to avoid comments or actions about investigations in the time leading up to elections.
In the Executive Summary of the report, the Office of the Inspector General noted that former FBI Director Comey decided to notify the U.S. Congress that the Bureau was going to restart its unsecured e-mail server investigation, which had been closed in the first-half of 2016, due to new developments in an unrelated investigation of former U.S. Rep. Anthony Weiner (D-Queens). Two considerations that the then FBI Director Comey weighed before he decided to notify Congress about restarting the Clinton e-mail server investigation included the Federal law enforcement rule that Federal law enforcement agencies “don’t comment on pending investigations” and that “it was a ‘very important norm’ for the Department to avoid taking actions that could impact an imminent election.” Notwithstanding these considerations, then FBI Director Comey sent a controversial 28 Oct. 2016 letter to Congress, informing Federal legislators of the Bureau’s decision to restart the Clinton-related investigation.
At the time of the making of the controversial Congressional notification, and in the time since, the then FBI Director Comey has faced immense criticism, much of it alongst political partisan lines, that he undermined the credibility of former First Lady Clinton, who was that year’s U.S. presidential nominee for the Democratic Party, and that, by doing so, he tilted the outcome of the election to benefit Donald Trump, the then U.S. presidential nominee for the Republican Party.
Hillary’s political blame game encourages toleration of corrupt political candidates
To nonpartisan Government reform activists, the political blame game that has attempted to pin responsibility for former First Lady Clinton’s electoral loss to President Trump on the FBI’s release of information about its investigatin into the unsecured e-mail server overlooks three major factors, namely, that former First Lady Clinton was selected as her party’s nominee in controversy over her chief rival, U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT), that former First Lady Clinton failed to address accusations that she was a compromised candidate with a corruptive reputation for embracing big money in her politics, or that conflicts of interest in the sale of a uranium company or that large donations made to the Clinton Foundation from state sponsors of terrorism acted to discredit her ability to honestly serve the public.
On the Democrats’ side of the political aisle, partisans blame the former top Federal law enforcement Agency head for undermining former First Lady Clinton by sounding the alarum bell about possible corruption or criminal wrong-doing in her former role as the U.S. Secretary of State. On the Republicans’ side, there are gripes against former FBI Director Comey, too, namely that he was secretly and illegally investigating the Trump campaign for possible collusion with Russian agents to also throw the 2016 U.S. presidential election. Overlooked by all is the seemingly implicit or explicit expectation that U.S. politicians suspected of corruption should not be exposed at any cost prior to an election.
Indeed, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for New York’s southern district, formerly headed by U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara, was criticised by Government reform activist Richard Barr during the question-and-answer period following a speech given by then U.S. Attorney Bharara at New York Law School. Mr. Barr raised the spectre that Federal prosecutors have been disenfranchising voters in connection with past corruption probes, in particular, by allowing voters from The Bronx to continue to blindly elect former Assemblymember Nelson Castro (D-The Bronx) to office, even though then Assemblymember Castro had been under investigation and was, consequently, secretly coöperating with Federal prosecutors in connection with a bribery probe of Albany officials.
Law enforcement policies tolerate public corruption in election years, disenfranchising voters
Cynicism over the institutionalised corruption of Government that seemingly is tolerated by Federal law enforcement Agencies, including the preference that politicians under investigation should be allowed to quietly seek reëlection, contributes not only to voter disenfranchisement, as Mr. Barr had argued, but to a further nihilism amongst voters that voting isn’t a valid path toward renewing or reforming Government.
In the wake of the report by the Office of the Inspector General, voters in Queens and in the Bronx face the prospect that, although it has been reported by Progress New York that there is Federal law enforcement interest in the activities of the Queens Democratic Party county committee, the chair of the county committee, U.S. Rep. Joseph Crowley (D-Queens), may coast to reëlection in next week’s primary, because the Bureau and the DOJ place a greater importance on the semblance of smooth elections than on fighting corruption amongst some of the nation’s highest elected officials.
For this article, Adrienne Senatore, a spokesperson for the Bureau’s New York Field Office, declined to comment by phone and did not answer a follow-up press inquiry by e-mail.
In the past, U.S. Rep. Crowley has faced probes or criticism regarding his campaign finances, his acceptance of real estate-related donations before his vote on legislation affecting the real estate industry, his acceptance of more real estate-related donations in the lead up to his selection of the New York City Council speaker, the way his votes on Wall Street- and pharmaceutical industry-related legislation may be being influenced by big money campaign donations, the way his brother has made money from U.S. Rep. Crowley’s committee to reëlect, and the way his associates profit from the Queens County court system, amongst other controversies.
Absent any action by Federal law enforcement Agencies, voters in the Fourteenth Congressional District will be mistakenly led to believe the corporate political narrative that U.S. Rep. Crowley is fit for reëlection.