Time to find more US attorney dots and try to connect them.
Mary Ann Buchanan was and is, by almost all accounts, a loyal Bushie US attorney for the Western District of Pennsylvania. She investigated and prosecuted the hell out of Democrats in the Pittsburgh area, while turning a blind eye to alleged sins committed by Republicans. She received special assignments and had a leadership position amongst the US attorneys. Yet, as with some other apparently loyal and capable USAs, Mary Beth Buchanan’s name was, at one point in time, placed on the list of USAs to be considered for firing. WTF? over?
Since voting issues seem to have been prominent factors in the firings of some USAs, I did some googling of things like Pittsburgh, voter fraud, 2004, things like that, which led me to this interesting letter to the editor of a Pittsburgh paper, alleging voter fraud in Allegheny County:
Thursday, October 21, 2004
In the Oct. 15 article titled “[Gov. Ed] Rendel will send monitors to elections offices,” it was not surprising to find a quote by the Allegheny County Chair of the Democratic Party, Tom Flaherty stating, “I could see if we had a history of voter fraud, maybe, but Allegheny County has always run impeccable elections, no matter which party is administering them.” Sure, Tom, maybe you forgot that Allegheny County spent $15,000 in 2002 to have an independent investigation into the allegations of rampant voter fraud in Kennedy Township. Or maybe you should spend some time in the Allegheny County Department of Elections after an election to see how many challenges to absentee ballots are mounted.
Voter fraud is alive and well in Allegheny County and one of the reasons is due to the shoddy leadership within the Department of Elections for not monitoring and cleansing the voter rolls. As of this writing, there is still an active investigation into improprieties in Kennedy by the U.S. Attorney’s office and the Pennsylvania State Attorney General’s Office.
As Stalin said, “Those who cast the votes decide nothing. Those who count the votes decide everything.”
Kevin Parent, [resident of] Kennedy [PA]
Wow; what a juicy morsel for Rovian fraud-yellers….A bit more poking around (actually a lot more) informed me that Mr. Parent is the husband of a woman who lost in a close local Republican primary election in 2001 in a heavily Democratic area. Apparently most of the voters were actually Democrats, who switched affiliations to try to mount a challenge to the local Democratic Party “machine.” There was a local investigation, and there was some pretty good evidence that fraudulent absentee ballots were involved, probably a couple dozen, and that there was one guy who seemed to have his handwriting on most of the bad ballots. There was some testimony that suggested that irregularities were also present in the 1999 primary, but there was insufficient evidence to make a solid case.
Mr. Parent is an interested party to the Kennedy vote fraud issue, and a vocal one. Though I don’t know that he’s a Republican, he seems to have some knowledge of what the US Attorney has under active investigation; I wouldn’t be surprised if he had made a complaint to that office, and to Republican officials.
But apparently no indictment
or newspaper headlines came as a result of whatever investigation might have been undertaken. Perhaps the USA, who was Mary Ann Buchanan, figured that the Republican/Democrat party switching would confuse the issue, or realized that this was just too small a case to bother with, or felt like the state authorities could adequately handle a couple of local grafters.
But I have no doubt that the Kennedy “non-prosecution” reached the desk of somebody in Washington, [UPDATE ONE:]because it was pretty big news in Pittsburgh:One blogger noted:
One thing to consider is that Mary Beth did not consider that prosecuting Mel and John Weinstein for voter fraud was worthwhile. From my perspective it was a slam dunk case, and yet there were no charges filed. They are Democrats, and one is the county treasurer.
Even the TeeVee news had it:
It’s not the first time we’ve reported on irregularities in Kennedy Township elections. But this time it could decide which candidate gets to run in November.
County election officials say two mysterious absentee ballots have turned up in last week’s Republican primary in Kennedy. Why are just two votes important? Because the primary was decided by one vote.
Republicans Tony Perri and Bob Muha squared off in last week’s Republican primary for the right to run in November against incumbent Kennedy treasurer Mel Weinstein, a Democrat.
Weinstein is also the father of County Treasurer John Weinstein. Perri won the GOP primary by one vote. But now, an irregularity has surfaced. …
“It could be possible that our office made a mistake and mailed two Republican ballots to registered Democratic voters,” he said.
But the county GOP committee says there’s also another possibility.
Perhaps Republican absentee ballots were marked by someone else, not Republican voters, and added into the total group of absentee ballots in an attempt to change the outcome of the election,” said county GOP solicitor Robert Owsiany.
And the papers told sordid details of the investigation:
John Weinstein appears to have filled out five 1997 Kennedy absentee ballots, although Dresbold said she couldn’t reach a definitive conclusion without reviewing additional handwriting samples.
[end of update 1; see update 2 below]
And, unfortunately for Ms. Buchanan, as it turned out, the headlines about voting irregularities in the Pittsburgh area immediately before the 2004 elections featured alleged Republican, not Democratic, malfeasance:
students have said they signed such a petition but were then asked to fill out the signature and address portions of voter registration forms in order to verify their identities. Those forms were later filled out to register the students as Republicans. In the latest case, students say they never saw a registration form.
“My son never put a change of address in anywhere,” said Mara O’Neill, whose son, Sean, 22, was among the Pitt students who signed the petition. O’Neill said her son listed an address where he stays with friends during the school week and that he has never listed that address any other place. He receives his mail at home in O’Hara, and, until he was suddenly reassigned as a Republican voter in Shadyside, has always cast his ballots near his home.
A friend of O’Neill’s, Camilla Kydland, also signed the petition, but listed her home address in Fox Chapel. That’s where she received her notice that she is now enrolled in the Republican Party.
I can imagine that such people as, say, Karl Rove, would be plenty po’ed to find out that a real case of voter fraud did not achieve headlines in Pittsburgh in the fall of 2004, while GOP dirty tricks did.
Whoever put Mary Ann Buchanan’s name on the list of US attorneys to be fired was obviously NOT a member of the knowledgeable senior staff of the DoJ; Buchanan, like Gregory Miller in Florida, was always in favor with those who worked with her. It seems likely, therefore, that the list was being made by those whose most important affiliations, if not titles, were outside the DoJ itself (yes, I’m lookin at you, Kyle and Monica). It would seem that being placed on the list had really nothing to do with the overall performance of the USAs, but was rather the instant and perhaps poorly considered action of a powerful person, perhaps within the White House, who had no tolerance for a missed opportunity to trumpet “Democrat voter fraud” immediately before the election (yes, Karl, I’m lookin’ at you….). I’m betting that somewhere there is an email or a memo signed by the Rovester or his COS that says something like,
“if ANYBODY sees ANY evidence that ANY USA failed to prosecute AND PUBLICIZE ANYTHING that smacks of voter fraud, I want to know about it, YESTERDAY.
I can’t say if this little episode was the cause of “blacklisting” Mary Beth Buchanan. But I wouldn’t be surprised if it were pretty darn close. There must be locals who can shed more light on it.
How did MBB get OFF the list? I wouldn’t be surprised if somebody just called bullshit, because MBB was such a model Rovian in every other way. UPDATE 2: But just prior to the 2006 elections, somehow she got the message that she hadn’t measured up in 2004, and she fired off a press release touting her public corruption activities, including, notably, the Weinstein voting fraud investigation:
Dirty cops and crooked politicians beware — federal, state and local authorities are teaming up to fight public corruption in Western Pennsylvania.U.S. Attorney Mary Beth Buchanan said she will meet with other agencies in coming weeks to establish a special working group. Other members are likely to include the FBI; Pennsylvania State Police; the state Attorney General’s Office; and the offices of several local prosecutors, including Allegheny County District Attorney Stephen A. Zappala Jr.
The region has had numerous high-profile public corruption cases recently:
• Dr. Cyril Wecht, the former Allegheny County coroner, was indicted by a federal grand jury in January on 84 counts related to charges that he used his public office for private financial gain.
• The federal investigation into former Pittsburgh Mayor Tom Murphy ended in June without federal charges filed.
• Three high-ranking officials in the Allegheny County Sheriff’s Office were convicted as part of the ongoing federal investigation into campaign-finance abuses and other misconduct.
“We’ve investigated more public-corruption cases in the past four years than we have in the past 10 years,” Buchanan said.
Federal investigators are busy investigating other cases of possible public corruption.
In addition to the ongoing investigation into the office of outgoing Sheriff Pete DeFazio, the list of federal public-corruption investigations incudes wrongdoing in the Plum Police Department; special treatment given to certain people by Washington County District Attorney John Pettit; and allegations of absentee-balloting fraud by Allegheny County Treasurer John Weinstein and his father, Democratic powerbroker Mel Weinstein, of Kennedy.
The majority of public-corruption cases are filed by federal prosecutors. From 1994 to 2004, the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Pittsburgh won 60 convictions in public-corruption cases, according to U.S. Department of Justice figures. Statewide during that time, 515 public officials were convicted of corruption in federal court.
So, I can see Mary Beth Buchanan printing off a copy of that newspaper story and firing it off to Monikyle with a “so shove it up your ass” note, with a carpetbombing cc to the rest of freakin DoJ. I’m betting that got her off the list.
A short rant on voter “fraud”/suppression/intimidation:
Greg Palast estimates that 3 million votes/voters in this country were challenged or impeded in attempting to cast their votes, essentially all of them by Republican Party operatives. How many fraudulent ballots were cast? a few dozen, most by people who just didn’t know better, who just didn’t understand that their criminal or immigration status did not allow them this particular privilege. Voter fraud allegations are simply a form of voter suppression, and are an attack against democracy, by the party that trumpets the “purple fingers” in Iraq, but tries to silence the “brown fingers” and the “black fingers” in this country.