Imagine How Much Preet Bharara Could Accomplish If He Had Even Fewer Resources

In comments to
the New York County Lawyers’ Association yesterday, U.S. Attorney
Preet Bharara complained about sequestration’s impact on his
office, which handles federal prosecutions in the Southern District
of New York:

A prolonged hiring freeze and continuing budget cuts could
ultimately work irrevocable harm to the fundamental mission of my

Unless something changes, our office will simply get smaller and
smaller every year….

If the blanket cuts continue, we will be forced, in the not too
distant future, to make supremely difficult choices…

Something has to give.

Sounds like good news to me, since Bharara’s understanding of
his mission includes pernicious uses of taxpayer money such as
prosecuting people for helping
New Yorkers play poker online
, for connecting
drug suppliers with consumers
, and even for passing
out pamphlets about jury nullification
. If anything, Bharara’s
office would benefit from the prioritization that budget cuts
require. Even in the speech where he whines about not having enough
money to protect the public, he brags about “shut[ting] down a
major on-line currency service used by criminals [Liberty
, presumaby] and the world’s largest underground website
for drugs and contraband [i.e.,
Silk Road
].” A look at Bharara’s recent
press releases
 reinforces the impression that
sequestration so far has left him plenty of resources to prosecute
people for things that should not be crimes:

Former Branch Manager At Manhattan Bank Pleads Guilty In Manhattan
Federal Court To Assisting Leader Of International Sportsbook With
Structuring Financial Transactions

Demolition Company Operators Found Guilty In Manhattan Federal
Court Of Scheme To Underpay Employees In Violation Of Federal
Prevailing Wage Law

Manhattan U.S. Attorney Announces Arrests Of Five Defendants For
Conspiring To Import 100 Kilograms Of North Korean Methamphetamine
Into The United States

Two More Defendants Plead Guilty In Manhattan Federal Court In
Connection With Russian-American Organized Crime Gambling

Defendant Pleads Guilty In Manhattan Federal Court To Being An
Organizer And Leader Of An Illegal Sports Gambling

Court Authorizes IRS To Issue Summonses For Records Relating To U.S
Taxpayers With Offshore Bank Accounts

Equity Research Analyst Pleads GuiltyIn Manhattan Federal Court To
Insider Trading Charges

SAC Capital Management Companies Plead Guilty To Insider Trading
Charges In Manhattan Federal Court

Manhattan U.S. Attorney Announces Civil Action Seeking Forfeiture
Of Four Bank Accounts And 47 Cars Tied To Auto Export

Eleven Members Of Yonkers Gang Charged In White Plains Federal
Court With Narcotics Trafficking And Firearms Offenses

Co-Founder Of Liberty Reserve Pleads Guilty To Money Laundering In
Manhattan Federal Court

And that’s just November. Bharara says his “fundamental mission”
is “to keep our homeland secure, our streets safe, our markets
fair, and our government honest.” With the possible exception of
“fair” markets, which presumably is how Bharara understands the
goal of criminalizing buying and selling securities based on
forbidden knowledge, one is hard pressed to see evidence of this
mission in these cases. 

“What choices am I supposed to make about which categories of
big cases we can and cannot do?” Bharara asks. How about focusing
on actions that violate people’s rights?

To be fair, Bharara does prosecute real crimes from time to
time. But imagine how much he could accomplish if he had fewer

[Thanks to Nick Sibilla for the tip.]

from Hit & Run

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.