Democrats have been alleging that the Bush Administration targeted Carol Lam because she was investigating Republican Congressman Jerry Lewis (the only Republican Congressman, by the way, who is popular in France). The thing is, she wasn’t.
Despite what many appear to assume, Lam wasn’t the U.S. Attorney responsible for investigating Lewis. The U.S. Attorney responsible for the Lewis investigation was Debra Yang in Los Angeles.
On May 11, 2006, the L.A. Times reported:
Federal prosecutors have begun an investigation into Rep. Jerry Lewis, the Californian who chairs the powerful House Appropriations Committee, government officials and others said, signaling the spread of a San Diego corruption probe.
The U.S. attorney’s office in Los Angeles has issued subpoenas in an investigation into the relationship between Lewis (R-Redlands) and a Washington lobbyist linked to disgraced former Rep. Randy “Duke” Cunningham (R-Rancho Santa Fe), three people familiar with the investigation said….
Hint: Carol Lam was not the U.S. Attorney in Los Angeles. Debra Yang was. Carol Lam headed the U.S. Attorney’s office for the Southern District of California, based in San Diego.
This point was made again (albeit in a whisper, deep in the article) in the recent L.A. Times story about the timing of a Sampson e-mail sent the day the Lewis investigation was reported:
On May 11 — the month after Sampson told the White House counsel’s office that Lam was being targeted for dismissal — The Times reported that federal prosecutors in Los Angeles had begun an investigation into Lewis. . . . . The Lewis probe was an extension of the case Lam started in San Diego. But it was being handled by the U.S. attorney’s office in Los Angeles because Lewis’ Redlands headquarters falls under its purview.
Why in the world would the White House target Carol Lam in San Diego, based on revelations of an investigation handled by Debra Yang in Los Angeles? Targeting Lam over the Lewis investigation would be like targeting L.A. County D.A. Steve Cooley because of somehing the Riverside D.A. is doing. It makes no sense.
Not surprisingly, Debra Yang was asked by The Times and had no explanation:
Debra Wong Yang, then the U.S. attorney in Los Angeles, said Wednesday that she was befuddled that anyone in Washington would be upset with Lam over a case being pursued in Los Angeles. “I’m not sure I understand the link,” she said.
That’s because there is no link, except in the minds of Democrat partisans — and L.A. Times reporters and editors.
But I repeat myself.
UPDATE: Now here is something that makes a lot more sense than the Jerry Lewis investigation:
Fired San Diego U.S. attorney Carol Lam notified the Justice Department that she intended to execute search warrants on a high-ranking CIA official as part of a corruption probe the day before a Justice Department official sent an e-mail to the White House that said Lam needed to be fired, U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein said Sunday.
The timing on that is indeed potentially suspicious.
UPDATE x2: To make it clear, that tidbit the warrant cannot possibly have been the only reason the White House was concerned about Lam. As I have noted here many times, she was initially targeted on a working list of poor prosecutors back in February and March of 2005 — well before any of this came about. My point is merely that, when Sampson discusses the “real problem” they have with Carol Lam, it makes no sense that he is discussing an investigation undertaken in L.A. It makes a lot more sense to conclude that he is referring to a search warrant to be issued in San Diego.
I still think the case that she was fired over political investigations is very weak, given when she was initially targeted. And ultimately, the warrant was issued anyway — and nothing that Kyle Sampson did could ever have stopped that.