Saturday, March 17, 2007

Political Prosecutions

Res Ipsa posted below on the cloud of suspicion now likely hanging over every case brought by US Attorneys in the last six years all because of, well you know. So here's one for you, from Friday's Des Moines Register:

Second, it appears the U.S. attorney, Matt Whitaker, is aggressively going after the city's south-side Democratic organization and the way it does business. He recently indicted former south-side Des Moines City Council member Archie Brooks in connection with the CIETC scandal. That probe continues, and other local Democratic politicians and leaders with ties to CIETC still face scrutiny.

McCoy has represented portions of the south and east sides of Des Moines for years in the Iowa Legislature and is pals with most of the players in that affair.

Anyone familiar with south-side politicians understands that making threats — or at least huffing and puffing with a lot of salty bravado — is a way of life for them. That may be what got McCoy into trouble.

Third, Whitaker is a Republican. And not just any Republican, but a socially conservative one who ran unsuccessfully for state treasurer in 2002 and could well be a candidate for office again.

He recently was in the news when he was scheduled to emcee an event for the Iowa Christian Alliance, a successor group to the Iowa Christian Coalition.

After first granting him permission to host the event, Whitaker said the Justice Department revoked it after objections from liberal groups. Instead, he just attended the meeting.

Active involvement in ideological political action groups like that is rare for U.S. attorneys in Iowa — and even the Justice Department higher-ups seemed to think better of it. For good reason. McCoy is a Democrat. And not just any Democrat but an openly gay one.

So we now have the specter of a politically ambitious, evangelical Republican with ties to the religious right going after a gay Democrat.

Does this seem fair? Even if Whitaker has the goods on a south-side political kingpin like McCoy, there will always be those who wonder whether his actions are driven more by his desire to ferret out public corruption, his own political ambition or a dislike for McCoy's sexual orientation.

Sounds familiar, no? Whitaker hasn't been known to do a lot of controversial things, but this one has the makings of quite the shitstorm, and all because of Abu Al, Kylr Samson, and the gang. So Whitaker, who seems like a good guy generally, and also generally who stays out of the press, gets caught on this one and automatically the charges are under a cloud.

No comments: