Lying To Congress: OK For DOJ Officials, Not So Much For Ballplayers

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February 10, 2009 9:48 am
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So Miguel Tejada, the shortstop for the Houston Astros, has been charged with lying to Congressional investigators about the use of steroids in baseball.

That news put us in mind of someone two other people who are suspected of lying to Congress, but so far, unlike Tejada, have escaped legal jeopardy. We refer, of course, to Alberto Gonzales and Bradley Schlozman.

A report released last July by the Justice Department’s inspector general indicated that Gonzales may have lied to Congress about politicization at the department. And there have also been credible suggestions, including from Senate Judiciary chair Pat Leahy, that Gonzales perjured himself during his testimony on the US Attorneys firings scandal. A special prosecutor, Nora Dannehy, has been appointed to look into whether crimes were committed in connection with the firings, and the issue of Gonzales’ possible perjury appears to be at the center of her probe. But as yet, Gonzales hasn’t been charged (though he’s certainly not in the clear).

As for Schlozman, a former top DOJ voting-rights official, another report by the department’s IG, this one released last month, found that Schlozman lied to a Senate committee about his own role in politicizing hiring at the department. But the US Attorney’s office for the District of Columbia declined to bring charges against Schlozman (a decision that Attorney General Eric Holder has said he will review.)

Meanwhile, Tejada is set to go before a DC judge tomorrow. And Roger Clemens is also under investigation for lying to Congress about steroids.

And consider this: Tejada isn’t accused of lying about this own possible steroid use. Rather, prosecutors say he lied when he told Congressional investigators, during an interview in a Baltimore hotel room, that he didn’t know about any other players using steroids. Gonzales and Schlozman, by contrast, are suspected of lying to conceal their own involvement in politicizing DOJ.

It’s hard not to conclude that if federal investigators went after former DOJ officials as hard as they went after ball players, the world would be a better place.

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