The Jurisdiction of DOJ’s Inspector General

This is a follow-up on my post on the loophole in the jurisdiction of DOJ’s Inspector General, which appears to be preventing DOJ’s IG from investigating the role of any lawyer in the USA Purge–which is, after all, just about everyone involved. Here’s how Senator Leahy laid out the problem:

Other Inspectors General can investigate misconduct throughout their agencies.  Apparently, the Department of Justice Inspector General suffers under a limitation that restricts his ability to investigation misconduct by you, the Deputy Attorney General, and other senior Department lawyers.  Will you agree to the removal of this limitation on the Department of Justice Inspector General so that the Inspector General may investigate misconduct by you, other senior Department of Justice officials, lawyers, and law enforcement agents?

DOJ’s Inspector General, Glenn Fine, explained the problem at a recent appearance before the Senate Committee on Homeland Security (I know, shocker, Holy Joe held a hearing! I bet he regrets it now).

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  1. Neil says:

    EW. Fantastic job tracking down the facts about how the USA investigation is being handled/subverted.

  2. phred says:

    How joint can the investigation be if you were so summarily ushered off the phone? Seems to me another piece of evidence that BushCo is insulating themselves from the reach of the law entirely.

  3. Anonymous says:

    Shocking. Ok, maybe not so much shock at all. When, exactly, will enough be enough for our, the people’s representative, Congress, to actually get off their collective ass and do the duty the Constitution, and the founding history that supports it, compels them to do?

  4. shaker o’ salt says:

    The whole fucking administration makes me uncomfortable. Everything (and I mean everything) is fucked up beyond all reason.

  5. earlofhuntingdon says:

    Presumably, the OPR’s jurisidction was meant to mimic the jurisdiction of a state bar association or state supreme court in its investigation of attorney misconduct. In that regard, its jurisdiction was made exclusive of the IG’s.

    As we now see all too clearly, the IG’s jurisdiction should at least overlap with the OPR, at least where the misconduct complained of is not the malpractice of law – as in failing to respond on time to court filings or revealing secret grand jury testimony – but the commission of corrupt political or administrative acts.

    One more mess for Congress to clearn up. Fortunately, the statutes of limitation on most illegal acts committed by this administration extend beyond January 2009. But as with Errol Flynn’s lament about so many women, so little time, Congress will have too many bad acts to choose from. They should start a priority list now, if they haven’t already.

  6. Anonymous says:

    earl

    Yes, I think that’s precisely it. THough as Fine points out, all the lawyers from other agencies fall under their own IGs. It is only DOJ that insists on having a separate entity for the lawyers.

    Furthermore, if I’m understanding how it works (particularly now that OPR cannot initiate criminal prosecutions), it means that lawyers cannot be punished criminally for any wrongdoing–only professionally.

  7. Tross says:

    Where can we find the legislative history of the IG Act? I couldn’t find any info on Congressapedia or Wikipedia. I’d like to know if there was any reasoning offered, or an alternative envisioned, for why top DOJ lawyers were excluded from the IG’s oversight.

  8. Anonymous says:

    Tross

    You can start by reading the stuff that appears when I’ve â€snipped†Fine’s statement–it explains what happened. The short version is that OPR preceded the IG Act. And then when they passed the IG Act, they made an exception for ALL law enforcement aspects of DOJ. Then first they ceded on law enforcement issues except for FBI and DEA; they’ve since added FBI and DEA under OIG jurisdiction (I think Ruby Ridge was a factor).

    Which leaves the lawyers. Particularly the high-ranking ones.

  9. jazz says:

    I agree with everyone else this is utterly depressing. However there is still something we all can still do. We do not have to wait for impeachment. We all need to file bar complaints against all of the gang at the DOJ. I know some of you think this is like throwing rocks at a tank. This is just not the case. How embarrassing and humiliating for the AG to be brought down by a simple bar complaint. There is no pardon for this action and if there is a refusal to provide evidence at the hearing then the bar can make a decision based upon the evidence in front of them. No one has yet said this will not work.

  10. Neil says:

    I would dedicate some time to understanding the basis of a complaint about AGAG or others at DOJ who are clearly acting in an unethical way in order to draft a letter of complaint to the bar.

  11. jazz says:

    Neil,

    Call the bar association in Texas and DC. They will give you direction on the requirements and the process to filing a bar complaint against Gonzo. The complaint can only be filed in the jurisdiction where an attorney is licensed to practice law. The actions for which a complaint maybe filed will be cotrolled by bar rules as promulgated under stae law. In some cases the actions of an attorney outside of the jurisdiction may still be actionable, depending upon the circumstaces.

  12. earlofhuntingdon says:

    The rationale for the OPR’s limited jurisdiction may have been self-protective, something lawyers and medical doctors have been known to be quite good at.

    I suggest that Congress revise the scheme and give the IG jurisdiction over all investigations. After a preliminary review, the IG could delegate specific cases (not whole classes of investigations) to the OPR. Those would relate only to routine lawyerly misconduct or incompetence, which often implicates poor hiring, training or supervision practices. That would limit the DOJ’s ability to bury investigations in the OPR, which cannot report publicly on its findings.

    The IG should also have authority to clawback a case from the OPR where subsequent developments implicate corrupt acts rather than incompetence (eg, political interference with the tobacco litigation or the prosecution of former Alabama governor Don Siegelman).

    In any event, by January 2009, the DOJ will be so broken and demoralized that Congress cannot afford to miss the opportunity to reinvigorate it while taking steps to prevent future abuse.

  13. radiofreewill says:

    â€Aw, geez, it’s fucked up.â€

    â€What’s fucked up?â€

    â€This DoJ IG exemption for Gonzo and his Senior Staff is what’s fucked up.â€

    â€How do you know it’s fucked up?â€

    â€Because EW says BushCo can claim ’on-going’ investigation on any of the senior people at DoJ, while hiding all the facts and reports from us in the OPR, and – you know – that’s fucked up.â€

    â€Maybe at the DoJ they should call it the I-Peep, short for the ’Inspector of the Little People Below the General,’ I don’t know, but it does sound fucked up.â€

    â€Ya see, just like I said, it’s fucked up.â€

  14. Anonymous says:

    Sieg Hiel Fuhrer Bush .. The Germans looked the other way, now the heroes of WWII are ignoring fascism in Amerika…so so so sad that dirty rotten bastards like GW Sr. can profit off of the blood sacrifices of our fellow Americans. I am so so heart sick.. I am beyond anger reminds me of the book The Iron Triangle the Carlile Group (in just 15 years a $14 billion company) a bunch of elitist from the corporate military political culture Eisenhower warned us about… Viligance is the duty of freedom, The corporate octopus has it’s tentacles on everything of value, principles are for sale to the high bidder There was a reason why they hated the peace movement, the free press which they bought and all the wonderful peace groups that were painted as anti American. Goddamn bastard traitors should be hung like Saddam in a gallows lining Pennsylvania Avenue. They used their offices of goverment to serve themselves and enrich each other while stealing from the national treasury. Bush was in the defense industry business in the early 1990’s with his father and the ex secretaries of defense. WHEN THE COLD WAR WAS ENDED THE PIG TROUGH OF NATIOANAL DEFENSE DRIED UP so they promoted a war in the middle east shoring up sales. All this is about money and oil alternative energy be damned. In ground Texas/Oklahoma oil was worthless and capped off at $30 a barrel now they have all made huge fortunes and have paid their political debts. Bush should be like we the shah of iran…welcome nowhere, to bad that won’t happen. Meanwhile poor folks kids are being blown to hell and the nation has a huge debt to pay in the decades to come. All the regulatory agencies are run by the foxes, guarding the hen house, and Karl Rove is dancing the arrogant turkey trot to some hip hop tune. Our healthcare is the worst of the developed countries and the most expensive if you can get it.
    Other than that every thing is just grand all the rich people have left the rest of us in a big wake that is rocking our boat. And the populace is medicated with alcohol, drugs and media. Sure sounds like 1984 has arrived, So where is Bruce Willis and his air taxi? Just can’t get a cab these days.
    Bushco has enabled massive amounts of heroin to be available. More privatised prisons are housing more people of color. The homeless population is growing. There is $30 billion less food stamps and the food bank cupboards are bare. Housing prices are at an all time high and in the county I live only 8% of the population can qualify for a medium priced home. Unions that protect worker rights have been busted or those jobs have been shipped off shore. The sex industry is dominated by Neocon republican politicians who have stood for christian values!! If that doesn’t make you sick then you need to pull the herion needle out of your arm. The hypocracy is so thick in America that muslims over the world must wonder how our president/dicktator characterizes them as part of the Axis of evil. I have paid taxs and obeyed the laws and lived in poverty most of my existence as I have mental health challenges while doing public servise to my community the last 12 years full time.What have these pigs contributrd? I refuse to take part in any of this and I consider any participant a major criminal against humanity. I am not mad or amgry or upset. I am motivated. Let’s Impeach these asshole. You do not come back from impeachment.