Karl Rove’s US Attorney Project, Mary Beth Buchanan Edition

Remember the stated reason Karl Rove gave for firing a bunch of US Attorneys? He saw these US Attorney positions as a great stepping stone for rising political stars.

And now it looks like Mary Beth Buchanan, best known for her politicized prosecution of Dr. Cyril Wecht, may join Chris Christie and Tim Griffin in pursuit of elected office, in her case to run against Blue Dog Jason Altmire.

U.S. Attorney Mary Beth Buchanan is pondering a run for Congress to challenge Democrat Rep. Jason Altmire next fall.

Ms. Buchanan, a Republican and appointee of former President George W. Bush, has been considering a run for at least a month, Allegheny County Republican Party Chairman Jim Roddey said yesterday.


Mr. Roddey said he has met with her, and Ms. Buchanan is consulting with state and national Republican leaders to gauge support and her chances against the second-term Democrat from McCandless.

But remember. Buchanan is still the acting US Attorney. Which puts her in the same position Chris Christie got in when it came out he was working politics while still in office.

The county GOP leader said he did not see any ethical qualms with exploring a run while sitting as the chief federal prosecutor for Western Pennsylvania, and said Ms. Buchanan should step down only if she announces her candidacy.

Mr. Altmire, who said he has heard Ms. Buchanan’s name mentioned as a possible opponent, disagreed.

"She’s in a position that’s supposed to be nonpolitical," Mr. Altmire said. "If that’s true, I think it would be an inappropriate use of her time."

Who knows? Maybe like Christie she’ll go on to boast about discussing offering AUSAs political jobs when she wins (though a Congresswoman would have fewer patronage jobs than a Governor to dole out).  Or, maybe like Christie, it’ll become clear she has no platform (save, in Christie’s case, a plan to prevent women like Jane and me from getting mammograms) and her campaign will stall out.

In any case, it’s probably time to start tracking these races as a whole (including whatever race Troy Eid decides he’s going to run for) to monitor how effective the second part of Rove’s scheme to politicize US Attorneys turns out to be.

12 replies
  1. hate2haggle says:

    I’d embrace any reason for Mary Beth Buchanan to leave as USA, even a run for Congress. I cannot imagine why or how she could be elected with all the bad blood still smelling up Pennsylvania over the failed Wecht prosecutions, yet I welcome her to give it a shot. Run Mary Beth run.

    • cbl2 says:

      was just coming over here to link that. don’t get out of the Silo enough these days to know if it was news. thanks

  2. scribe says:

    One is compelled to wonder why the performance of Mary Beth Buchanan continues to please the President.

    One is compelled to wonder whether she has already set up some stay-behinds in the US Attorneys’ office, and whether she has structured some investigations to provide oppo-research for her coming campaing.

    It also needs be noted, though some of you may already know this, that she is part of the Buchanan family for which the large, Pittsburgh-centered corporate law firm Buchanan Ingersoll is named. Just saying.

    Time to FOIA the crap out of her US Attorneys’ office, too.

  3. dakine01 says:

    IIRC, didn’t Buchanan basically challenge Obama to fire her? I think she was claiming that her “ongoing” investigations were SO important, that she and she alone should be the person running them.

    • emptywheel says:

      I suspect that MBB is still there for the same reason that keeping Pat Fitz in place was the easiest way for Obama to innoculate himself against any blowback from Blago. MBB is AFAIK still investigating Murtha and other big donors to Dems. The best way to make sure no one can say it was not thoroughly investigated is to keep MBB in place for a bit longer.

      • bmaz says:

        Exactly why he should have noticed her for dismissal immediately on taking office and the rest of them too. Just like Bush did. Then he could pick and choose.

  4. freepatriot says:

    in a day when just being a repuglitard is enough to disqualify any asshole for office, it’s nice to know that having the triple stain of bush rove and abu gonzo still works against these people

    the fact that they know not what they have wrought is fun too

    what part of “social outcast” do these people fail to understand ???

    as yea sow, shall yea reap

    the repuglitards can’t understand why they can only reap hatred

  5. Mary says:

    The only silver lining on any of this is that protecting a Dem incumbent who votes like a Republican is one of the few things that will motivate the Dems to take action. They might actually dig in and go for a jugular.

  6. JohnnyTable70 says:

    Buchanan was also behind the reprehensible prosecution of Tommy Chong (see the movie AKA Tommy Chong). Watch the movie and tell me if it is textbook entrapment.

  7. earlofhuntingdon says:

    These sorts of developments make Obama look like a political fool and a legal incompetent.

    I assume his argument about not replacing the US Attorneys promptly was that they had all performed so remarkably and objectively in their tenure, they deserved to stay. That was manifestly untrue, so what gives?

    If he was waiting for the infamous 60th Senator, he has it. But he’s also now lost momentum. He seems flummoxed. I can’t help feeling that he see each new issue or problem as a reason not to deal with the old.

    If he’s hoping to de-politicize the USA’s by intentionally not immediately replacing the lot (and by rehiring a select few of them), then given their Bush-era history, that seems remarkably naive.

  8. Gerald says:

    Speaking of Rove.

    I remember your thread, emptywheel:


    “The Rove Interview Materials, Working Thread
    By: emptywheel Tuesday August 11, 2009 11:15 am

    The House Judiciary Committee has just released all its materials from the Rove and Miers interviews. They are linked below.

    I’m going to take a quick glance before I hop in the car to drive to Pittsburgh. But I’ll take a closer look tonight.”

    So what is going to happen?
    Is Rove going to “skate” again like he did with the Fitzgerald grand juries? Is he still the Teflon Kid?

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