Thanks to Alberto Gonzales, it will be a long time for the Justice Department before prosecutors can pursue a Democrat without suspicion. The case against State Senator Matt McCoy (D-IA) is another one of those prosecutions now mediated through the lens of the politicization of the Department.
Matt McCoy was indicted last March on one count of extortion, and he is set for trial next week. McCoy's business partner, Tom Vasquez, installs security systems for elderly citizens. When Vasquez sought to install his product for clients with Medicaid, McCoy allegedly threatened
to block the deal (by getting the state Medicaid office to remove the business as a Medicaid vendor) unless he received $100 for each installation. Federal authorities claim that McCoy collected over $2,000 before December 2005, and they have recorded ten hours of conversation between the two men as evidence.
When the case first broke, pundits cried foul, citing the brewing U.S. Attorney scandal as evidence that the prosecutor was reaffirming his status as a "loyal Bushie." Local pundit David Ypsen noted that the prosecutor is a strong social conservative who was slated earlier this year to emcee an event for the Iowa Christian Coalition. Needless to say
: "Active involvement in ideological political action groups like that is rare for U.S. attorneys in Iowa â and even the Justice Department higher-ups seemed to think better of it."
Now, with only a week until the trial begins, McCoy is echoing
the cry. In a filing this week, his attorney seeks to have the case dismissed on grounds of prosecutorial abuse. According to court documents, the government withheld from the grand jury taped conversations in which McCoy explicitly told Vasquez that he would not suffer retribution if he didn't share his earnings. The filing also accuses the government of intercepting emails between McCoy and his attorney, as well as surreptitiously paying Vasquez to cooperate in the prosecution (even offering him a bonus if the case returned a guilty plea).
The government has yet to respond to McCoy's call for an investigation. But McCoy has not shied way from accusing his accusers. Earlier in the year, McCoy, who is openly gay (after being outed by an arch-conservative lawmaker on the Iowa Senate floor), claimed, "I have been a continuous target of groups targeting gays to advance their own agendas of intolerance and hate. Clearly, there is significant speculation about what has motivated federal officials to take this action against me." But McCoy has backed down from that
accusation, at least, saying "since then, I honestly have to say, I have found no evidence to support some of the thoughts that I had at the time that I shared with the media." So for now, McCoy's suspicion is confined to whether prosecutors only went after him because he's a Democrat.