You are hereRAW Story: Exclusive: DoJ veteran sees ‘dangerous precedent’ in letting Bush officials walk

RAW Story: Exclusive: DoJ veteran sees ‘dangerous precedent’ in letting Bush officials walk


January 17, 2011- In a rare blistering attack on the Department of Justice, a career veteran of the agency recently told Raw Story that the Obama administration handing Bush-era officials "a get out of jail free card” sets “a dangerous precedent" that could encourage other offenses by future leaders.

J. Gerald Hebert, a former acting Justice Department chief who served the government's enforcement wing in various capacities between 1973 and 1994, said in an exclusive interview that the failure of federal prosecutors to charge former House Majority Leader Tom DeLay (R-TX) with even a single crime was indicative of a greater problem.

On the heels of the successful prosecution of DeLay for money laundering and conspiracy in Texas, Hebert said he hoped it was clear that the Department of Justice had nothing to do with that conviction.

Rather, the Obama administration's Justice Department in August closed down a six-year investigation into DeLay -- without filing a single charge.

He said that the success of the Travis County District Attorney’s office, which had DeLay sentenced to three years in jail, not only highlighted the Justice Department’s “unfathomable” failure in one prosecution, but also a “disturbing pattern” of less vigorous pursuit in congressional corruption cases since Obama took office.

As a private citizen, Hebert has worked as executive director of the Campaign Legal Center, a non-partisan group that monitors government ethics, campaign finance and elections, and served as an adjunct professor of law at the Georgetown University Law Center.

The 20-year DOJ veteran also criticized the administration's refusal to investigate or prosecute any serious criminal activities from the Bush-era, such as sanctioning the waterboarding of military detainees and directing the political firings of US Attorneys. These “at a minimum deserve complete investigation,” he said.

The Obama administration’s excuse “to look forward and not backward” fails to fulfill the agency’s “duty” to investigate, he said -- a charge that includes “any federal office holder who violates the Constitution or federal law."

“The department makes decisions based on the facts, evidence and the law, and nothing else," Justice Department spokeswoman Laura Sweeney remarked in an email to Raw Story

FULL STORY HERE:

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