The Public Integrity section of the Justice Department -- that's the part that routinely assists in the investigation and prosecution of corruption cases against elected officials -- has been rejecting the efforts of FBI agents to use its resources in an investigation of Senators Harry Reid (D-NV) and Mike Lee (R-UT).
People familiar with the probe said both FBI agents and local investigators have been frustrated for months by the Justice Department's inaction on the initial accusations and evidence against the two senators, and those concerns were recently elevated to FBI headquarters.
The special agent in charge of the Utah office was summoned earlier this month to Washington to meet with senior FBI officials, and the bureau’s Utah office has been instructed that the FBI agents working the case may only assist in the state probe and cannot pursue federal criminal investigative leads — unless Justice finally approves a corruption probe.
The frustrations have prompted discussions of seeking a special prosecutor who would bypass the Justice Department and U.S. attorney’s office and evaluate the evidence independently.
As has been noted here before, this is not Harry Reid's first trip to the rodeo when it comes to allegations of corruption.
What is novel -- and noteworthy -- is the DOJ's seemingly inexplicable unwillingness to involve itself in the case. After all, there is apparently some substantiation for the allegations, and supposedly, instances like these are precisely why our tax money is going to subsidize a Public Integrity section at Justice.
On the other hand, this is Eric Holder's DOJ, and Harry Reid has, as a piece in Politico recently put it, "been President Obama's most important and most consistent ally in the legislative branch." One wonders whether that might have anything to do with the DOJ's apparent disinterest in the allegations of his wrongdoing.
Note also that there must be someone in the Public Integrity section with, ahem, some integrity. This story sounds like it came straight from a DOJ leaker, presumably, someone who is appalled at what is happening there.
Between CBS deep-sixing critical investigative pieces about the administration and the DOJ refusing to investigate an administration ally, it's interesting to speculate on how many more organizations are systematically covering up for this president and his party.