The Schumer Connection


The federal prosecutor bringing the case against Democratic fundraiser Hassan Nemazee is a Democratic appointee, Preet Bharara. Before he became U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York (Manhattan), Bharara was counsel to Sen. Chuck Schumer and played a major role in investigating the U.S. attorney firing scandal, which at its heart was about using the awesome powers of federal law enforcement to reward friends and punish enemies.

A Senate Democratic source emails:

Some feel that if there is a single person who is responsible for bringing down [Alberto] Gonzales (which of course there isn’t), it’s Preet. This is the kind of non-partisan work that U.S. Attorneys ought to do.

But Bharara’s willingness to go after a Democratic donor is actually even more striking considering the following juxtaposition. One of the many hats Nemazee wore over the years as a Democratic fundraiser was “national finance chair” of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee in 2006, according to a 2007 article in The Nation. You might remember the 2006 cycle as a historic success for DSCC, vastly outraising its Republican counterpart and wresting control of the Senate from the Republicans. The man credited with much of that success was the chair of DSCC at the time: Chuck Schumer.

So in this case, one of Schumer’s former staff counsel is prosecuting one of Schumer’s former fundraising chieftains.


David Kurtz is Managing Editor and Washington Bureau Chief of Talking Points Memo where he oversees the news operations of TPM and its sister sites.