Tuesday, April 24, 2007

USA Ethics: A new twist

Debra Yang, who as the US Attorney in Los Angeles was leading a corruption probe into the affairs of Rep. Jerry Lewis (R-CA), resigned last October. The main framing of this story, so far, has to do with the fact that White House Counsel Harriet Miers apparently was threatening to can Yang, presumably to shut down the investigation of a GOP lawmaker.

But what really jumped out at me about this story is the circumstances under which Yang actually ended up departing. According to The Hill, "she was lured away by a $1.5 million-plus offer to become a partner at Gibson, Dunn and Crutcher LLP, which is defending Lewis in the probe" (emphasis added).

What a brilliant, precedent-setting idea: if some USA is investigating you on a corruption charge, you hire an expensive law firm, and arrange to have them hire away the prosecuting attorney. If you can't beat 'em, co-opt 'em....

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