Tag Archives: Cerberus

CA-41: Lewis, DoJ Drain The Money Swamp

Bruin Kid lets us know that Jerry Lewis will be seeking re-election next year.  He’s obviously pretty confident that his legal troubles and investigations into his corrupt earmarking will amount to nothing.  I’m thinking this is why:

In Los Angeles, a federal criminal investigation of Rep. Jerry Lewis, a California Republican, stalled for nearly six months due to a lack of funds, according to former prosecutors. The lead prosecutor on the inquiry and other lawyers departed the office, and vacancies couldn’t be filled. George Cardona, the interim U.S. attorney in Los Angeles, declined to comment on specific cases but confirmed that lack of funds and unfilled vacancies caused delays in some investigations […]

People with knowledge of the case said that by the time the investigation stalled in December 2006, it had branched out into other areas, including Mr. Lewis’s June 2003 role in passing legislation that helped giant hedge fund Cerberus Capital Management. People associated with Cerberus around the same time gave at least $140,000 to a political action committee controlled by Mr. Lewis. Cerberus officials didn’t respond to phone calls or emailed questions concerning the Lewis inquiry […]

After the lead prosecutor in the Lewis case quit, others assigned to the case took time getting up to speed. Brian Hershman, a former deputy chief of the Los Angeles office’s public corruption section, declined to comment on specific cases, but confirms that his group’s work overall was derailed by the departure of experienced prosecutors. Like several others, he says he left for more money to support his family.

Replacements “are mostly rookies,” he says. “It will be some time before they’ll be able to restore the section to what it was before.”

With additional funds recently made available by Congress, the Los Angeles office has filled 12 of 57 lawyer vacancies and is expecting an additional 12 lawyers to start soon. To jump-start the Lewis investigation, Mr. Cardona, the interim U.S. attorney, in June called on a veteran prosecutor, Michael Emmick, to revive and supervise the investigation, people with knowledge of the investigation say.

Day late and a dollar short on that one, I’d gather.  This is approaching criminal conduct by the Justice Department.  At a time when the investigation was expanding, Debra Wong Yang (the US Attorney for the region) suddenly jumped ship for the law firm representing Lewis.  You can bet they never lacked funds; Yang received nearly $1.5 million.  The law firm, Gibson Dunn, took the top assistant off the case as well.  So the LA office was thrown into disarray precisely when the investigation was heating up, and the money for the office dried up at the same time.  Pathetic.  With or without Alberto Gonzales, we still have a DoJ protecting its own and politicized beyond control.  And this is the time when Democratic leaders are seeking to call off the dogs in the US Attorney case?