Feinstein, "Something’s Rotten in Denmark"

As you are all well aware, the fervor surrounding Attorney General Fredo’s testimony yesterday was palpable. There were plenty of excellent pieces dedicated to the topic, not the least of which came from our own blogging prestidigitator Kyle. So rather than rehash these posts I thought I would bring up something that no one seemed to catch from this testimony.

Roughly an hour into the hearing Senator Diane Feinstein dropped a bomb on Fredo that, from the look on his face, he was not expecting.

Here is the video clip via C-SPAN [Realplayer].

The gist of it goes like this. In May of 2007 the Justice Department found it necessary for some odd reason to change their own elections rule book, a document entitled Federal Prosecution of Election Offenses [PDF]. Interestingly, at least a few of the changes they made appear to be specifically relevant to the AG firing scandal.

Dropped from the 1995 edition

The justice department generally does not favor prosecution of isolated fraudulent voting transactions. This is based in part on constitutional issues that arise when federal jurisdiction is asserted in matters having only a minimal impact on the integrity of the voting process.

In the section referencing the following, “The justice department must refrain from any conduct which has the possibility of affecting the election itself” the following was also dropped

Federal prosecutors and investigators should be extremely careful to not conduct overt investigations during the pre-election period or while the election is underway.

and…

Most if not all investigations of an alleged election crime must await the end of the election to which the allegation relates.

It should also be kept in mind that any investigation undertaken during the final stages of a political contest may cause the investigation itself to become a campaign issue.

As Senator Feinstein so aptly put it, “why was it necessary to remove this language in this new edition of the…Federal Prosecution of Election rules?” Could it be that you were trying to change the rules so that you would not been seen as having politicized the election process? Hmm?

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