Other than Ashley Swearengin, the start of an “absentee” political campaign month for statewide Republicans

My wife and I received our absentee ballots this week, on Wednesday, surrounded by the fewest pieces of campaign mail and the most deftly absent television and radio advertising for statewide GOP candidates that we have ever seen in the critical first week of an election campaign.  Typically absentee ballots are mailed to “permanent” early voters by mail, like us, four weeks before an election.  Catching early voters with direct-mail and other advertising before they return their ballots, which could be completed and returned right now and not on election day, is important in smart election campaigns because candidates and measures can rack up votes “in the bank” before any uncertainties may emerge in the subsequent four weeks of campaigning.

We are Republicans with a good voting history, so usually our house is flooded with campaign mail during absentee ballot week.    But not this week.  We received two different mailings from the California GOP, one entirely dedicated to opposing Proposition 45, and another entirely dedicated to opposing Proposition 46.  Neither of the mailings listed “Neel Kashkari for Governor” or any statewide or local GOP candidate.  We received just one slate mailer during the whole week, that featured Republican Ashley Swearengin for Controller but did not include any advertising for Neel Kashkari for Governor or any other statewide GOP candidate.  (It was a mailer produced by a company we own.)  We did receive two different mailers from Dana Point City Council candidates, but that was it.  We didn’t receive any dedicated mail from Kashkari or any other Republican  statewide candidate, no other slate mail, and we did not hear or see one radio or television advertisement for Kashkari or any other statewide GOP candidate.  The only advertising we saw during absentee voter week was the one slate mailer mentioned above, that featured advertising just from Republican Ashley Swearengin for Controller.

On the Democratic side, we did see television advertisements featuring Governor Jerry Brown, who is running for re-election, but it was about supporting Propositions 1 and 2, regarding the state water bond and establishing a state “rainy day fund” to even out financial ups and downs for the state.  Brown appears so confident of victory, that he is using his political capital to promote ballot initiatives rather than a “direct ask” of voters for his re-election.

There are many conclusions to be drawn from the first week of the last four weeks of this election campaign, but top among them is that other than Swearengin, the statewide GOP candidates are placing an awesome amount of trust and confidence in regular GOP voters to simply turn out and vote for them, because they are not spending any money to communicate with these voters at all during this critical stage.  I think that is a huge mistake for those GOP candidates, especially Peter Peterson running for Secretary of State, who thinks he has a chance to win, but hasn’t raised or put up the money for advertising to do so.  If a candidate does not make any real effort other than an email campaign to whip up the GOP base to vote for them, and are otherwise totally silent to them, even GOP base voters will not have a compelling reason to vote for the candidate of their own party when the ballot is in their hands.  My takeaway is that, win or lose, Ashley Swearengin will surely be the leading candidate in the GOP field of statewide offices this election, because she is actually making an effort and running a campaign during the absentee voting period, unlike Kashkari and the others.  My view is that the votes for each of the rest of the GOP team on election night, as I see the election right now, will be dismal in comparison to Swearengin, who has also gleaned dozens of major newspaper endorsements and can be seen to be working really hard to try to win her race.  In a recent interview on Fox Business News, Swearengin came out strongly for tax cuts and regulatory reform, unlike her opponent.  She was stronger on these important issues than anything I have heard from Kashkari.

Jerry Brown is a very popular Governor.  It is good that Kashkari stepped forward to offer an opposing view on the November ballot.  But his campaign and the campaigns of all the other GOP candidates are shaping up to be depressingly weak and unworthy, almost insulting, of the precious time, support and capital of the rest of us GOP activists who want to see Republican candidates and causes victorious.  Just getting on the ballot and then doing no advertising or true voter outreach other than sending out some emails, does not help us rebuild California’s Republican Party.  We need some success in gaining votes and changing voter attitudes about the GOP, and to my mind Swearengin, in making the only real effort to win this election, is where Republicans should be returning the favor of their maximum ASMainPortraitTealsupport.

Los Angeles Times new editor predictably a New York blue-blood

One would think that the editor of a major California newspaper would not only be an exceptional journalist – but an exceptional Californian, too.  But that is not the case at the Los Angeles Times, which announced yesterday that an exceptional former New York City investment banker, Austin Bueter, would be the new editor.

Beuter, 54, served as Democratic Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa’s deputy for a year in 2010.  Previous to that he did a stint in the Clinton Administration as a political appointee working on foreign affairs.

According to the Times, Beutner was born in New York, and grew up in Michigan.  He attended the Ivy League’s Dartmouth College earning a degree in economics, became a financial analyst for Smith Barney and then became a partner in New York City’s Blackstone Group.  He became wealthy.  He eventually started his own New York City-based investment banking firm, Evercore Partners.

There is little doubt Beuter is an accomplished and intelligent person.  And he has even admirably overcome personal tragedy, working through a year-long recovery from a very serious bicycle accident.

Yet Beuter really has only a tenuous connection to Los Angeles and it is based on money, politics and philanthropy, not education and real work experience in journalism.  And he is not a journalist.  He is a rich liberal from New York, educated in the Ivy League, who has served as a Democratic political appointee, and is now making editorial decisions for California’s most important newspaper.  Thus, he is a pillar of the East Coast Liberal establishment, no doubt.  Is that what California and the Times needs now?  Will he succeed?

Beuter’s California experience is lacking.  He has not lived through any of California’s major earthquakes, a Dodger World Series, an NFL Football team in Los Angeles, or a real Republican Governor.  His experience in life is about Ivory Towers rather than the dinner special at Norm’s, and it is as distant from the experience of a Tea Party meeting in Palmdale that one can get.  One might expect this lack of “living California” to inspire a disrespect in him for a number of California’s unique qualities, including the important initiative process, often seen by liberals as “too populist” and “dysfunctional” – because liberals can’t always control it.

With all the fine, highly educated award winning journalists available to chose, even liberals, the Times has gone with a rich East Coast Left-wing political insider and funder as their new editor.  The Times makes this decision as the age of print newspapers reaches its twilight and continues its decline, and as the Times itself is meeting stiff competition from more centrist and conservative newspapers such as The Valley’s Daily News, and the new Los Angeles Register, published by the owners of the Orange County Register.

There is little doubt that Los Angeles itself is marching down a road to eminent bankruptcy.  According to the UCLA/Anderson School, not one new job has been added to the rolls of the employed in the city in the last 23 years.   In the meantime, public employee pension obligations are sucking close to 20% of the city’s annual General Fund, forcing reductions to taxpayers in 911 safety services and street maintenance.  Major employers like Toyota are pulling out of the area for more business-friendly locations in states like Texas.  The Los Angeles tax base is shrinking but government spending is not.  And taxpayers are tired of the taxes, having rejected a sales tax increase last year by 55% at the polls.

It is against this looming backdrop of failure that Beuter takes the helm of the Times, as a man representing old liberal ideas that are in fact failing in Los Angeles.  He is not a “Man of the People,” rather, he is a man of the wealthy, connected and liberal.  On the question of Beuter’s success, surely time will tell, but we are predictably 0511unpoliticiannot expecting much at all.

The Wiz, Mayor Jean Quan of Oakland Stops Driving

According to a report in the Oakland Tribune, Oakland Mayor Jean Quan has decided to stop driving.  In what amounts to a voluntary surrender of her driver’s license after a fender bender in her illegally unregistered city-owned and self-insured Lexus SUV (Oakland is near bankrupt according to USA Today), and after numerous digitally recorded images of her surfaced illegally using her cell phone while driving her own Toyota Prius.

Quan is seeking re-election as Oakland’s Mayor.  Oakland is the seventh largest city in California with a port that is more active than San Francisco’s.  In recent years it has also been identified by the Federal Bureau of Investigation as one of the most dangerous cities in the nation to live in, with a high murder rate, and as many as 600 people a year being victims of violent crime in a city of 600,000.  Quan’s boosters say the stats are getting better under her reign and Jean Quan Wizardsince Jerry Brown was the Mayor, but Mayor Quan’s own flirtations with law breaking probably don’t help the statistics much.

Oakland Mayor Jean Quan is the Wiz!

Jean Quan WizardIn what major city in America can the Mayor run a redlight, slam into a fellow citizen’s car, fail to offer proof of insurance, and get away with it?  Oakland of course!  Our nation’s third most dangerous city according to the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s violent crime statistics.

Yes in early June, according to her nurse’s assistant victim, Oakland Mayor Jean Quan rammed her city-owned Lexus SUV into the nurse’s assistant’s car while the Mayor was running a red light and yapping into her cell phone.  After the accident, Quan failed to provide proof of insurance, as required by state law, saying the Lexus was “self-insured” by the near bankrupt city (near bankruptcy, according to USA Today).  The upscale wheels also had a delinquent state registration, which expired in March, when Quan’s crack staff back at city hall failed to renew it.

In the meantime, the victim’s little Nissan is sitting in the body shop, awaiting word on how the city intends to pay for its repair,  and the victim sits home on doctor’s orders with mounting unpaid medical bills.  Her attorney says Quan is “foot-dragging” on taking responsibility, and she remains unticketed for running the red light, too.  Is Quan  worried?  Nah!  She’s the Wiz!

Awful SF City College Gets “Double-Secret Probation”

City College of San Francisco, the largest public school in California with 80,000 students, was so poorly managed and lacked such basic financial controls that its unionized teachers were routinely receiving pay for classes they didn’t teach, and keeping the money.  That problem in fiscal mismanagement was just one of the reasons why the Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges, after a very long review process, found 24 or so different areas where San Francisco City short-changed its students on a wide range of issues, and would not make progress in fixing them, including poor academic standards, and de-accredited the institution as a full-fledged Community College.  The elected Board of Trustees was then thrown out of office in favor of an appointed trustee administrator.  But when SF City was on the verge of absolute final de-accreditation, the teachers’ union and liberal Democratic politicians in the Bay Area including Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi swung into action to restore degree-giving by the failed College.  They did it, not by improving the academics at San Francisco City, not by fixing the the finances, but by threatening and suing the Accrediting Commission, saying they didn’t handle the years long review and de-accreditiation process quite properly enough.  It was a form of the ancient ruse known as “killing the messenger.”

It does not take a rocket-scientist to understand that there is something terribly wrong with the internal controls of a public school in paying teachers for classes they never taught.  While the San Francisco Chronicle and the liberal media has widely reported on alleged failings of the Accrediting Commission, they have hardly pierced the veil of the evidence the Commission had before it justifying defrocking SF City’s degree giving rights.  Public disclosure of all those facts would be quite instructive about what exactly was wrong at SF City but this observer senses there is a willing cover-up by the media to protect the faulty teachers and teacher administrators – who get off without consequences for their failures.  But facing a lawsuit and with heavy political pressure, the Accrediting Commission recently announced it is “revising its rules” and will give the College another two years to fix itself, but the Commission has not yet revealed exactly what those rule changes are.  So now, SF City College is on what amounts to “double-secret probation”.  That would mean that the College would have had five years to figure out how to improve itself, and that is outrageous, not only toGetContent the taxpayers being drained in the process, but to the students dependent on the college who are getting a worthless education.

Late Polling Tips in Favor of Brown vs. Kashkari in November

The LA Times poll released June 1 indicates that Republican Neel Kashkari has picked up some steam from prior polling and for the first time is leading Tim Donnelly and appears headed to finish second in the race for Governor in Tuesday’s primary Election, thus assuring a runoff against Jerry Brown in the Fall.  Though margins are slim between them, Kashkari is showing 18% support among likely voters, Donnelly is at 13%, and Jerry Brown is well in the lead with 50% support in the poll.  The timing may be just right for a Kashkari victory on the Republican side.

With respect to Brown, the polling data indicates he has strong support and surely will be the odds-on favorite to win an unprecedented 4th term in November, given his $20 million warchest and the support he will receive from California’s powerful public employee unions.  Brown’s popularity is not universal in the state, but it is safe at 58%.  61% of Republicans and 42% of “other parties” disapprove of his job performance.  And 40% of all voters say they will not vote for him, with an additional 10% undecided.

But even with Brown’s positive numbers, Californians reveal in the poll that they are quite unhappy about how the state is being managed.  47% of Californians think the direction of California is “on the wrong track.”  About the same percentage of Californians express disapproval for the Democratic super-majorities controlling the state legislature, with only 9% of respondents “strongly approving” of the work the Legislature is doing.  82% in the poll are concerned about corruption in Sacramento, only 12% feel that Legislators put the interests of the people they represent first.

Kashkari’s late advertising blitz has clearly helped his race.  He has lifted his support from 10% to 18% over a prior poll and Donnelly has had a slight dip from 15voting-booth% to about 13%.  The polling however is close to the margin of error, and with predictions of a historic low voter turn-out on June 3, some say below 25% of eligible voters, the winner between Kashkari and Donnelly may well be determined by “get out the vote efforts” and by which candidate has the more passionate voters getting into voting booths on election day.  With Tea Party support, Donnelly may have the “passion” edge, though Kashkari’s apparent strong surge may become hard to overtake given the most recent data.

Welcome Stephen Frank’s California Political News and Views!

California Political Review is pleased to welcome and serve as the new internet home for Stephen Frank’s Political News and Views!  CPR’s incorporation of Steve’s robust website and email newsletter will now bring important content on California political news and thinking to well over 30,000 daily subscribers and close to 20,000 Facebook fans!  And just in time for the 2014 elections!

Here is some background on CPR’s new dedicated content section from Steve Frank:  The original California Political News and Views (CPNV) started in the early 1990’s, as a faxed document sent once a week to about 200 people. It was then called “Frankly Speaking”. By the late 1990’s it was sent to several thousand subscribers.  It has grown to over 20,000 email newsletter subscribers today.

The purpose of the CPNV is to provide information the mainstream media either downplays, misleads or denies existing.  It is created, each day by Stephen Frank, a long time political activist and now consultant. Steve has a long and accomplished resume: he started in 1960 working for Richard Nixon for President, moved on to Goldwater in 1964 and Reagan for Governor in 1966.

He then spent two years in the Army, including a tour of duty in Viet Nam, with the First Infantry Division (Big Red One). After coming home Steve became state Chairman Youth for Nixon, replacing Dan Lungren who was on his way to law school.

Then he, along with Bob Dornan created the POW/MIA bracelet. Steve spent seven years, full time working on behalf of the families of these men, including opening over 100 offices nationwide, met with representatives of the North Vietnamese, Khmer Rouge, Viet Cong and others to gain release of the POW’s.

For the past 50 years Steve has worked on behalf of conservative, constitutional candidates, from water districts to president.  He founded the National Federation of Republican Assemblies, is past president of the California Republican Assembly, is a past board member of the California Republican Party, and has held many other political positions.

Steve Frank has also served for several years as Chairman of the Girl Scout Councils of California, Board president of Travelers Aid Society of Los Angeles and numerous other charitable, and community organizations.  He has also served as a guest host on radio talk shows and is a fulltime political consultant.

Steve now joins the Editorial Board of California Political Review as a Senior Executive Editor and we are so pleased to now incorporate Steven Frank’s California Political New and Views in our publication!

Pinole can’t stop taxing and the rest of California needs to watch

Pinole is a small city near the Carquinez Strait that leads to the Sacramento River and our state capitol.  The Point Pinole Regional Shoreline has some terrific view points.  But lately what Pinole is becoming known for is its chronically out-of-balance city budget and its’ taxes, taxes, and more taxes.  The reason for the deficit and new taxes is the city has spent too much on public employee union salaries, and especially their most generous pensions and medical benefits.  The city has just 18,729 residents but even after cuts has well over 100 public employees.  What the city obviously needs to do is fix the problem of salaries and benefits by lowering them to manageable levels.  But the city won’t do so because of opposition by public employee unions.  So they just keep raising taxes instead, and the new taxes are never enough to fix the problems the unions won’t allow to be reformed.

The City knew it was in trouble as early as 2006 and started making some woefully inadequate adjustments by reducing some bloated staffing to more reasonable levels and attempting to reduce some costs by changing its staff medical plan from a defined plan under CalPERS to a fully paid Kaiser medical plan for the Police department in particular.  But these changes still were not enough to address top-heavy salaries and pensions benefits dragging the budget into deficit.  Yet instead of looking to themselves and taking the hard decisions needed to fix the city, Pinole’s city council turned to the taxpayers.  Repeatedly.

In 2006, voters were asked to pass Measure S, which raised sales taxes 1/2 cent from 8 1/4% to 8 3/4%.  The Measure passed with about 60% of the vote.  The Measure was supposed to increase general funds to a level to fix Pinole’s public employee salary and pension problems.  But it didn’t.

So in November 2012, the city put Measure M on the ballot, to extend a utility tax placed directly on residents utility bills.  It passed with nearly 80% of the vote.  But that still didn’t raise enough money to keep pace with public employee union salaries, pensions and benefits approved by the city council.

As a result of Proposition 30, which raised the state’s portion of sales taxes to the highest levels in the nation, Pinole’s sales tax today stands at 9%.  But the city council doesn’t think that is enough for residents to pay.  So in November, it is likely the city council will put another sales tax hike on the ballot, lifting the sales tax locals pay to 9 1/4 cents, rather than trim back burgeoning public employee pay and benefits.

Pinole’s serial tax increases are sadly becoming a typical refrain in cities across the state.  Rather that deal with the problem – out-of-control public employee union pay and benefits – elected officials (many of whom are elected as a result of public employee union political spending and are therefore beholden to the unions) simply punt to the taxpayers, who are expected to pass tax-and-tax to solve a problem created by the cabal of public employee unions and liberal Democratic office holders they control.  (It is also a terrible omen for pension liability in future that a line firefighter, for example, made $350,000 in salary last year in San Francisco, a pay level grossly out-of-whack with comparative salary data for the private sector.)  The result is economic devastation for the rest of society as high consumption taxes to support the salaries and benefits make the poor poorer, and small businesses and their job creating potential suffers as well.  Why would anyone on a budget want to buy an automobile or other major item in Pinole at a 9 1/4% tax rate when the sales tax average for the rest of the state is 8%, and in many cities the tax rate is the state minimum of 7 1/2%?

In coming years, as the pension crisis gets larger and cities fail to address the real problems, California residents will be asked again-and-again to approve new local taxes for trumped-up reasons: to fix roads, or improve police and fire services.  But the cities ought to be providing these services competently to begin with.  Just as giving a dollar to the drunk panhandler doesn’t solve the long-term problem for the drunk, these new “targeted” taxes will not solve the ever growing needs for fixing public employee pensions in the state, and the only way thatcarquinez_bridge problem will ever be fixed is for citizens to stop giving government the extra money in the first place.

 

 

Oakland Still a Most Dangerous City

The news reports this week of an Oakland Tribune photographer being robbed of his cameras by two armed gunmen while on assignment in broad daylight in West Oakland inspires me to offer readers some additional insights about that troubled California city.

I was born in Oakland and am a Raiders fan, so when I started writing my new book “Taxifornia: Liberal’s Laboratory to Bankrupt America,” there was no doubt that I would have my eye out for data about Oakland, one of the state’s leading cities.

On the other side of the San Francisco Bay from San Francisco, it has always played second fiddle to “The City,” but nevertheless has made its historical mark in many ways.  Oakland’s port is one of the biggest in the state, and handles more commerce than San Francisco.  Oakland has also been home to a long list of exceptional Californians: author Jack London; Hall of Fame athletes such as Major League Baseball’s Joe Morgan and Ricky Henderson, the NBA’s Bill Russell, as well as entertainers such as the Pointer Sisters.  Jerry Brown served as Mayor for eight years.

But current Governor Jerry Brown’s long stint as Mayor of Oakland didn’t do much anything at all to reduce violent crime in Oakland.  Today the FBI considers Oakland, a city of 400,000, the 3rd most dangerous city in the country, with 130 murders per year (90% gun related), more than 270 forcible rapes and upwards of 4,000 robberies per year.  These data suggest that if one lives their lifetime in Oakland, there is a statistically significant likelihood that one will be a victim of a violent crime.

Oakland is one of the poorest cities in California but its local governments offer public employee union jobs that pay such high salaries that they alone could be the focus of an “income inequality” debate at nearby U.C. Berkeley.  A Bay Area Rapid Transit District employee who operates the train maintenance yard in Oakland made $271,000 in 2012, which is more than the Chief Justice of the United States Supreme Court is paid.  When city electrical workers went on strike last year, their public employee union representative told the press “the working class in Northern California are mad as hell, and we’re not going to take it anymore.”  What the union representative didn’t tell the press was that the electrical workers were already making an average salary and benefits package of $133,825 per year, much more than the average salary of $52,000 in California, and far exceeding the average real “working class” salary of $30,672 in Oakland, where 71,599 individuals live in poverty.

The news of the news media being robbed while on assignment in Oakland is recent, but apparently not a unique event.  According to the Oakland Tribune “in recent years, several news photographers and television camera crews have been robbed of their equipment in Oakland. Another (Bay Area News Group) photographer was robbed twice at gunpoint. Some TV stations now send armed guards with media crews covering stories in Oakland.”

California’s liberal politicians are ignoring the high poverty rates that their policies, specifically the highest consumption taxes in the nation, contribute too.  Sacramento Bee columnist Dan Walters has observed that the Governor essentially ignored recognizing in his “State of the State” speech last month that California’s poverty rate is now the highest in the nation.  What Brown might also have ignored is the terrible violent crime plaguing many California cities today, including Stockton, and how his own eight years as Mayor of Oakland was useless in fighting it.

 

 

Obama Administration “Pay Back” in D’Souza Indictment?

The sketchy four-page Federal Grand Jury indictment of conservative author and Obama Administration critic Dinesh D’Souza has some pretty strong and unsavory political “pay back” overtones.  The indictment alleges that D’Souza knowingly made $20,000 in contributions “in the name of another,” which violates disclosure rules and also exceeds his own contribution limit of $5,000 (according to published reports), to a Republican U.S. Senate candidate in New York in 2012.  The candidate has subsequently been identified as a friend that D’Souza went to college with.

D’Souza had produced a provocative movie that aired during the 2012 Presidential campaign that was highly critical of President Obama’s policy motivations, labeling them “anti-colonial.”

Yet the indictment brings to mind the old lawyer’s adage that a good prosecutor can indict “a ham sandwich.”  While the case against D’Souza might have some legs, the question of whether it should be treated as a routine “civil” violation as opposed to a special “criminal” violation is a very open one.

Under the Federal Election Campaign Act (“FECA”), the over-whelming number of alleged violations are handled in cases through an enforcement mechanism by the Federal Election Commission itself, which possesses civil authority under the law to conduct investigations and enforce the law using an administrative apparatus that allows imposition of civil fines.  Under the facts alleged in the indictment of D’Souza, the case could have been handled directly by the FEC’s enforcement staff, and on a finding of a violation, D’Souza could be subjected to stiff fines, perhaps as much as the $20,000 he is alleged to have illegally channeled to the Senate candidate.  A fine in the amount of the illegal contribution usually is seen as an accomplishment by campaign finance prosecutors.

However, the Justice Department, and its network of U.S. Attorneys, “share” jurisdiction with the Federal Election Commission over the FECA, and has the exclusive power to enforce separate criminal sanctions to resolve violations of the Act, even if the FECA has proceeded on civil grounds.  But it is rare that the U.S. Attorney will involve itself in most cases, especially relatively minor ones like the D’Souza case.  Since the Justice Department has the option of “prosecutorial discretion,” it almost always opts to not move forward in a matter when the FEC can easily handle it.  There are some cases where both the FEC and the U.S. Attorney will proceed at the same time.  For example, both the U.S. Attorney and the FEC proceeded together in the case of Mark R. Weinberg, who made $54,000 in illegal contributions “in the name of another” to then sitting California U.S. Senator Alan Cranston’s 1984 campaign for President, at a time when the contribution limit was just $1,000.  It took years for the cases to wing their way through the courts.  But unlike D’Souza, Weinberg was a special prosecution.  He was also wearing a wire for FBI agents at about the same time in an effort to lure crime figures into an illegal investment scam.  Weinberg was quite an operator, and was involved in questionable contributions in huge amounts to a host of California Democratic candidates, including more than $200,000 to successfully beat a Republican and help elect a Democrat District Attorney in Los Angeles.  Weinberg ended up being separately sentenced in 1993 in a different case to five years in state prison for defrauding investors of around $1 million.

Dinesh D’Souza is no Mark Weinberg, and using criminal discretion to proceed against him when he has no history of violating campaign laws, let alone any criminal laws, seems an abuse of discretion to this writer (and campaign finance expert).

The person prosecuting D’Souza, who got the indictment from the Federal Grand Jury, is Preet Bharara.  Like D’Souza, Bharara is of Indian descent.  Both D’Souza and Bharara are naturalized citizens, having both been born in India.  (It is interesting to note that the Times of India is covering the D’Souza prosecution.)  The liberal media, which hates D’Souza’s film about Obama, loves Bharara, and he has been featured as a tough prosecutor on the cover of Time magazine.  Bharara’s career has had the benefit of patronage from very partisan Democrats.  Appointed U.S. Attorney by Barack Obama, Bharara is a former aide to the very partisan Democratic U.S. Senator Charles Schumer of New York, and could be a candidate for the top office of Attorney General in Obama’s second term, should Eric Holder leave office for the private sector, or in a future Democratic Administration.

The Justice Department has made it clear to the U.S. Attorneys that because of limited resources, they should only pursue major and important cases for criminal prosecution.  In a recent Memorandum for Selected U.S. Attorneys, the Justice Department pushed back against prosecution of Federal laws against marijuana, and instructed that “the Department is also committed to making efficient and rational use of its limited investigative and prosecutorial resources. In general, United States Attorneys are vested with “plenary authority with regard to federal criminal matters” within their districts. USAM 9-2.001. In exercising this authority, United States Attorneys are “invested by statute and delegation from the Attorney General with the broadest discretion in the exercise of such authority” and as a result, the Department called on the U.S. Attorneys to refrain from initiating investigations and criminal actions, and to basically overlook enforcement of federal laws in “medical marijuana” states.

If the Obama Administration can overlook its criminal laws regarding marijuana, it ought to also be able to defer to the Federal Election Commission to handle the claims in the D’Souza case.  The fact that it has opted instead to prosecute D’Souza, a man with no criminal history, on what truly amounts to a routine and “relatively” minor violation of the law by FEC standards, sadly speaks volumes about abusive selective prosecution under the current Administration, and is a developing tragedy of justice in America.