The Justice Department this week resumed its massive New Jersey political corruption "Bid Rig III" case with a trial that continues the self-inflicted damage from its 2006 political purge of U.S. attorneys.
The bribery trial of former state assemblyman Harvey Smith in Newark continues the DOJ's disgraceful 46-defendant sting that New Jersey's U.S. Attorney Chris Christie concocted years ago in consultation with the Bush DOJ headquarters. These actions helped Christie win his state's governorship last year with the public image of being a crime-fighting, cost-conscious reformer. Similarly, he's now positioning himself as a contender for the presidency in 2012.
But a review of the Bid Rig case illustrates the bipartisan way that Christie and other DOJ officials waste vast sums to help their cronies and themselves, and then cover-up for each other.
For these reasons, the Bid Rig case helps show why President Obama shouldn't have decided that his administration would "need to look forward, as opposed to looking backwards" on potential prosecution of the gravest Bush-era crimes.
All criminal cases look "backward." Obama and his team have made a mockery of justice to exempt law enforcement in effect from the review they routinely impose on others, as I argued at the beginning of his presidency in, "Probe the Past To Protect the Future."
Let's examine the Bid Rig probe and the concept of loyalty. Christie, a Republican, held his federal prosecution post from 2002 until resigning in 2008 as the Bush presidency expired.
Somehow, he survived the unprecedented Bush mid-term political purge in 2006 when DOJ fired nine of Christie's 93 peers nationwide. The Bush administration originally placed him on its purge list as it sought to ensure that those holding the top prosecution posts were what it called "loyal Bushies."
Christie went on to prove his loyalty to the GOP hierarchy, as our Justice Integrity Project (JIP) documented earlier this week in a story published here on the Daily Censored, "Feds Drop Scandal-Prone Star Witness in Politicized NJ Witch-Hunt."
As one way, Christie gave no-bid DOJ contracts worth millions of dollars to Republican former DOJ leaders, including one worth up to $50 million to former U.S. Attorney Gen. John Ashcroft, below.
Also, Christie initiated the Bid Rig sting that relied heavily on con man Solomon Dwek to inveigle targeted politicians, rabbis and others into indictable crimes. Six months after Christie left office, his DOJ successors obtained a Bid Rig indictment of Smith, 61, on charges of taking $15,000 in bribes early last year when Smith was one of multiple Democratic candidates for mayor in Jersey City.
The DOJ funded Dwek with hundreds of thousands of dollars to help obtain indictments, with almost all of the political indictments against Democrats of relatively small stature and from urban counties. Dwek, son of a rabbi, has also earned five-figure monthly living expenses of up to $12,000 per month by helping prosecutors win convictions, primarily by guilty pleas.
With scant public exposure aside from the indictments and several embarrassing disclosures on Christie's $46,000 loan to his former DOJ aide Michele Brown, above, she and others in the office helped orchestrate the Bid Rig indictments in ways that boosted Christie's image in his 2009 gubernatorial campaign.