The U.S. Attorney behind the indictment of conservative author and commentator Dinesh D’Souza, is a politically connected Obama appointee who has been talked about as a potential replacement for Attorney General Eric Holder.
Preet Bharara, a former staff member to Senator Chuck Schumer, helped lead the Senate Judiciary Committee investigation into the firing of U.S. attorneys by the Bush administration. As the U.S. Attorney for Southern District of New York, he has received glowing press accounts from the media for cracking down on insider trading.
D’Souza, whose movie “2016: Obama’s America,” based on the 2010 book “The Roots of Obama’s Rage” became a surprise box office hit during the 2012 election season, has been charged with campaign finance violations and is facing a $1,000,000 fine and up to 7 years in jail. His book and movie about the president’s background posited that his politics were driven by the anti-Western, anti-colonialist ideas of his Kenyan father.
Bharara has an undefeated record in prosecuting insider trading – 77 for 77 in convictions since taking over as the U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York in August 2009, but in an unflattering profile in the New York Post in February of 2012, Fox Business Network senior correspondent Charles Gasparino wrote that Preet Bharara “is a guy with clear political ambitions, and he’s no Eliot Ness.”
At the time of the oped, the rumor mill out of Washington was saying Bharara was on the short list to replace the “scandal-tarred” Attorney General Eric Holder.
Gasparino wrote that according to his colleagues, Bharara is “a decent and smart man but one with a mediocre resume highlighted by five uneventful years as a federal prosecutor before joining the staff of Sen. Chuck Schumer.”
It was in Schumer’s office that Bharara made his political bones, burnishing his Democratic Party street cred as chief counsel in the Senate Judiciary Committee hearings into the Bush administration’s firings of US attorneys.
While the hearings that Bharara helped conduct made the firings look sordid, the legal impact was pretty minimal. For all the political hoopla (including high-level resignations), the Justice Department’s career staff decided not to prosecute any of those involved.
But Bharara had made his political mark, and the Obama administration rewarded him with the country’s premier law-enforcement post in May 2009 — just as the nation was recovering from the 2008 financial crisis, and when public outrage against Wall Street was at its highest.
What has Bharara done since taking the job? A lot less than his headlines suggest.
Consider that the biggest cases coming from his office involve insider trading, something he had very little do with. As most insiders know, it was the Bush Justice Department that launched the massive crackdown on insider trading nearly two years before Bharara even took office, mainly by following up on evidence already developed by the Securities and Exchange Commission.
President Obama and the left-leaning press may like to spin a tale that Republicans are easy on Wall Street miscreants, but keep in mind that the key ingredient in these cases has been the aggressive use of wiretaps, which were usually reserved for snaring terrorists and mobsters — and this, too, is something the prior administration fought for and won, even if Bharara has been taking credit for the results.
Of course, you wouldn’t know any of this as Bharara’s press office continues its selective leaking and obsessive image-building, which isn’t such a bad thing if it weren’t so blatantly political.
Gasparino concluded, “if President Obama wants to replace the hapless Eric Holder with somebody who knows how to massage the press to look good, maybe he’s got his man in Preet Bharara.”
Bharara’s office claims that D’Souza’s indictment is the result of a routine review by the FBI of campaign filings with the FEC.
PJ Media’s Rick Moran, who’s known for being politically moderate, smells a rat:
How is it possible that a measly $20,000 in donations could leap out at investigators during a “routine review”? Most people charged with this crime front hundreds of thousands of dollars — and end up with far lesser charges. And are we to believe this “routine review” only snared Mr. D’Souza? If $20,000 in contributions leapt out at the FBI, are we to believe that D’Souza is the only contributor guilty of setting up straw donations? Where are the other lawbreakers?