Project Shares DOJ Misconduct Revelations & Reform Options With PDA Audience

Progressive Democrats of America (PDA) hosted me Aug. 11 on a nationwide conference call to hear about our recent Justice Integrity Project (JIP) revelations about federal law enforcers. Open to the public, the core of the discussion within PDA’s highly active Accountability and Justice Group involved such familiar names as former Alabama Gov. Don Siegelman (who joined the call as a surprise guest), Kagan, Stevens and Kerik.

A Democrat long prosecuted-under flimsy charges, Siegelman, 64, right, urged pressure on Congress to push the DOJ into thorough internal misconduct probes, not the whitewashes revealed recently. He reiterated the evidence that he was prosecuted to remove him politics. His main convictions in 2006 were for reappointing to a state board in 1999 a donor to a non-profit. The Supreme Court vacated those convictions in June after the Obama administration's DOJ sought 20 additional years in prison for him, and no Supreme Court review. The Obama DOJ also has retained in office the Bush U.S. attorney running the Alabama office that prosecuted the former governor.

In Siegelman's case and others like it around the U.S., we at JIP argue that the Bush and Obama DOJ have each failed to provide credible internal oversight of misconduct allegations against their own personnel and relevant officials at the White House and CIA. Looking ahead, major reports are due soon from the DOJ and Senate on the hot-button issue of federal involvement in torture.

JIP urges cross-party cooperation to preserve our nation’s precious heritage of due process. Promising signs of this include PDA’s willingness to republish JIP findings earlier this year about the unfairness of the federal coercion of a guilty plea from the Republican former New York City Police Commissioner Bernard Kerik. PDA just celebrated its sixth anniversary.

JIP welcomes similar speaking invitations from all groups committed to protecting due process rights. Our revelations often contradict conventional wisdom. They have focused on such decision-makers as the newest Supreme Court Justice Elena Kagan, and such victims of the justice system as the late Alaskan Republican Ted Stevens.

-- By Andrew Kreig. Contact author: Andrew (at) Justice-Integrity (dot) org