January 7, 2004 |
Steve Chapman is a columnist for the Chicago Tribune After many bad decisions as attorney general, John Ashcroft has made a good one: deciding to let someone else decide. He recused himself from the effort to find who leaked the name of undercover CIA operative Valerie Plame, on the assumption that any investigation he supervises would have no credibility. The question now is whether the investigation he doesn't supervise will have any. In the old days, that would not have been an issue.
February 25, 1997
They have no shame in Washington. It's urgent that a special prosecutor look into the campaign finance practices of the president's re-election campaign. Uses of so-called "soft" money by Republicans may merit a similar probe. Yes, the special prosecutor process is unwieldy, expensive and slow. It's likely to get tied up in complicated questions of immunity arising from parallel congressional investigations. And to judge by Ken Starr's performance as Whitewater prosecutor, the D.C. courts can't be counted on to pick a nonpartisan investigator.
January 14, 2015 |
The special prosecutor investigating Pennsylvania Attorney General Kathleen G. Kane subpoenaed two Inquirer reporters Monday in a bid to learn their sources for a story that said a grand jury had recommended criminal charges against her. The newspaper's editor said the reporters would invoke the state Shield Law, which offers legal protection against the compelled identification of confidential sources. "The confidential sources who provided guidance to The Inquirer in these stories about public officials in their official duties are precisely those whom the Pennsylvania Shield Law was designed to protect from disclosure," editor William K. Marimow said.
June 21, 1987 |
With something less than exquisite timing last week, the Justice Department, backed by the White House, challenged the constitutionality of the law creating special prosecutors, like the one investigating the Iran-contra affair. The department, with Attorney General Edwin Meese 3d taking himself out of the action because he is a subject of a special prosecutor's probe, announced that it would advise President Reagan to veto any bills now being considered in Congress to extend the law after its scheduled expiration date in January.
March 10, 1986 |
An Abington commissioner urged his fellow commissioners and the public last week to demand that a special prosecutor be appointed to investigate the findings of the recent special state audit of township finances. "I'm convinced . . . that we need to have a full investigation. I'm sure the public will demand that," said first-term Commissioner Richard C. Gamble. State Auditor General Don Bailey already has called on the Montgomery County district attorney and the state attorney general to investigate his findings that township money was, in some cases, missing or spent without documentation or authorization.
September 1, 2014 |
A special prosecutor is investigating whether the office of Pennsylvania Attorney General Kathleen G. Kane leaked confidential grand jury material to a newspaper in a bid to strike back at former prosecutors in the office who had been critical of her, according to several people familiar with the matter. The special prosecutor has issued several subpoenas to Kane's office and others to explore how secret records became public this year about a 2009 investigation by the Attorney General's Office involving Philadelphia political activist J. Whyatt Mondesire, the sources said.
March 2, 2016 |
The special prosecutor hired by Pennsylvania Attorney General Kathleen G. Kane to examine the evidence in the pornographic email scandal says it is unlikely he will bring criminal charges against anyone involved. Douglas F. Gansler, in an interview Monday, said bringing charges under obscenity statutes would be far-fetched. Such prosecutions have become fairly rare nationwide, he said. As for the former or current officials who swapped pornographic or otherwise offensive emails on government computers, Gansler said their conduct might violate workplace rules, but was hardly criminal.
March 1, 2013
HARRISBURG - A special prosecutor will examine whether secrecy rules were violated in proceedings by the grand jury that investigated Jerry Sandusky and three former Pennsylvania State University administrators facing criminal charges. Lawyer James M. Reeder was given six months to look into the matter and issue a report to state officials, according to a Feb. 8 order from Judge Barry Feudale first reported Wednesday. The order relates to a grand jury that issued reports in 2011 and 2012 that led to molestation charges against Sandusky and perjury charges against former Penn State president Graham B. Spanier, former athletic director Tim Curley, and retired vice president Gary Schultz.
January 23, 1998 |
President Clinton will serve out his term - or he won't. His presidency and maybe the power of future presidents will be diminished by the developing scandal - or it won't. It's not a crisis for the Republic. Here's what could be: The vicious cycle of what goes around, comes around. Like the ongoing challenges to Clinton's nominees to be judges, special prosecutors could all but be institutionalized as everyday tools of partisan politics. Maybe they already are. The original intent, of course, was to have a way to investigate possible wrong-doing by powerful federal officials without having a presidential administration investigate itself.
February 6, 2015 |
Pennsylvania Attorney General Kathleen G. Kane said in legal papers Wednesday that the special prosecutor who built a criminal case against her lacked any legal authority and that his work should be discarded as unlawful. Her lawyers noted that the state law authorizing the appointment of special prosecutors expired a dozen years ago. Under current law, they said, only the attorney general can lead a statewide investigative grand jury. This, they said, rendered invalid the decision by a Montgomery County Court judge to appoint lawyer Thomas E. Carluccio as a special prosecutor to investigate whether Kane illegally leaked secret material in an apparent bid to embarrass a critic.