January 22, 2007, - 9:09 am
By Debbie Schlussel
While it was expected that the nomination hearings for John Wood for U.S. Attorney in the Kansas City area would be smooth sailing, that may not be the case.
In fact, Wood has a major conflict of interest in that cannot be waived, unless he gets divorced or his wife quits her job. As we’ve noted on this site, Wood’s wife is Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Chieftess Julie L. Myers a/k/a “The ICE Princess.”
And that presents problems . . . problems that will be cited by all defense attorneys in cases prosecuted by a U.S. Attorney Wood that have any involvement by ICE agents. As one senior ICE agent correctly points out:
Will the defense attorney in the first RAC [office of the Resident Agent in Charge] Kansas City ICE case claim that his/her client was only prosecuted by the US Attorney because of the (apparent) conflict of interest of the Assistant Secretary for ICE and her husband Kansas City US Attorney John Wood? If I were the defense attorney, I would claim that the only reason the US Attorney accepted the case was because of the spousal pressure!
The rules are quite clear. Wood would have to recuse himself from each and every ICE related case. And even if he did so, everyone would know, he and/or his minions had some role in trying to make his wife look good by prosecuting cases her agents investigated. It is an untenable situation. The same goes for virtually all cases emanating from the Department of Homeland Security, since Wood only recently resigned from working as Chief of Staff for DHS chief Michael Chertoff a/k/a “Mr. Burns”
And the rules are quite clear. From the Code of Federal Regulations:
Title 28: Judicial Administration
PART 45-EMPLOYEE RESPONSIBILITIES
Section 45.2 Disqualification arising from personal or political relationship.
(a) Unless authorized under paragraph (b) of this section, no employee shall participate in a criminal investigation or prosecution if he has a personal or political relationship with:
(1) Any person or organization substantially involved in the conduct that is the subject of the investigation or prosecution; or
(2) Any person or organization which he knows has a specific and substantial interest that would be directly affected by the outcome of the investigation or prosecution.
(b) An employee assigned to or otherwise participating in a criminal investigation or prosecution who believes that his participation may be prohibited by paragraph (a) of this section shall report the matter and all attendant facts and circumstances to his supervisor at the level of section chief or the equivalent or higher. If the supervisor determines that a personal or political relationship exists between the employee and a person or organization described in paragraph (a) of this section, he shall relieve the employee from participation unless he determines further, in writing, after full consideration of all the facts and circumstances, that:
(1) The relationship will not have the effect of rendering the employee’s service less than fully impartial and professional; and
(2) The employee’s participation would not create an appearance of a conflict of interest likely to affect the public perception of the integrity of the investigation or prosecution.
(c) For the purposes of this section:
(1) Political relationship means a close identification with an elected official, a candidate (whether or not successful) for elective, public office, a political party, or a campaign organization, arising from service as a principal adviser thereto or a principal official thereof; and
(2) Personal relationship means a close and substantial connection of the type normally viewed as likely to induce partiality. An employee is presumed to have a personal relationship with his father, mother, brother, sister, child and spouse. Whether relationships (including friendships) of an employee to other persons or organizations are “personal” must be judged on an individual basis with due regard given to the subjective opinion of the employee.
(d) This section pertains to agency management and is not intended to create rights enforceable by private individuals or organizations.
[Order No. 993-83, 48 FR 2319, Jan. 19, 1983. Redesignated at 61 FR 59815, Nov. 25, 1996]
Then there are the Justice Department rules and regulations:
When United States Attorneys, or their offices, become aware of an issue that could require a recusal in a criminal or civil matter or case as a result of a personal interest or professional relationship with parties involved in the matter, they must contact General Counsel’s Office (GCO), EOUSA. The requirement of recusal does not arise in every instance, but only where a conflict of interest exists or there is an appearance of a conflict of interest or loss of impartiality.
A United States Attorney who becomes aware of circumstances that might necessitate a recusal of himself/herself or of the entire office, should promptly notify GCO, EOUSA, at (202) 514-4024 to discuss whether a recusal is required. If recusal is appropriate, the USAO will submit a written recusal request memorandum to GCO. GCO will then coordinate the recusal action, obtain necessary approvals for the recusal, and assist the office in arranging for a transfer of responsibility to another office, including any designations of attorneys as a Special Attorney or Special Assistant to the Attorney General (see USAM 3-2.300) pursuant to 28 U.S.C. Sec. 515. See USAP 3-2.170.001 (M).
And finally, there is federal statute 28 USC 528, which is why the above DoJ rule regarding recusals was developed:
The Attorney General shall promulgate rules and regulations which require the disqualification of any officer or employee of the Department of Justice, including a United States attorney or a member of such attorney’s staff, from participation in a particular investigation or prosecution if such participation may result in a personal, financial, or political conflict of interest, or the appearance thereof. Such rules and regulations may provide that a willful violation of any provision thereof shall result in removal from office.
While the Senate may never hold another hearing with The ICE Princess (and they may let her nomination merely blow in the wind until her current recess appointment expires at the end of this year), they will hold hearings on the nomination of John Wood.
Hopefully, some astute Democrat will bother to grill him about this untenable issue.
Either she quits her current job, or he doesn’t get his new one. There’s simply no way around this gaping conflict of interest.
This conflict of interest also concerns whistleblowers and interested employees at Citizenship and Immigration Services who’ve complained about deliberate immigration benefits fraud at the National Benefits Center in the Kansas City area, which would be under Wood’s domain.
Those running the center are deliberately granting citizenship to individuals who may be terrorists, because they weren’t allowing or instructing employee/adjudicators to check names against full terrorism databases. Additionally, bonuses were given out for rushed citizenship applications being rubber-stamped through the system, without adequate scrutiny.
Writes one whistleblower:
Dear Ms. Schlussel;
I read the below article on Julie Myers’ husband being appointed to the U.S. Attorneys’ office in Kansas City. You interviewed Sultan Farakhan and myself about the problems at the National Benefits Center in Lee’s Summit, MO.
Well, with Mr. Ice Princess in the U.S. Attorneys office in Kansas City, MO which would make him the final authority on whether cases are accepted for investigation, I doubt if any of the fraud and corruption at the National Benefits Center will be either investigated or rooted out now? What do you think?
In spite of your comments and articles, Rob Cowan was promoted into a SES [Senior Executive Status--which generally means a salary higher than $140,000 per year] position by Emilio Gonzalez. USCIS follows a typical organized crime model. Pity the federal law enforcement personnel aren’t as good at catching the USCIS La Cosa Nostra as they are at catching the [mafia version]. Of course, Kansas City has been known for organized crime since the Pendergast days.
With this person as the U.S. Attorney, I guess its reputation will stay intact.
Just one of the many problems posed by the possiblity of a U.S. Attorney John Wood, Mr. ICE Princess. And that’s just one more reason why the continued nepotism and cronyism-uber-alles of the Wood-Myers family is a problem vis-a-vis our government.
We cannot afford to have terrorist, illegal aliens, and other criminals go free because of the Wood-Myers conflict of interest and the continued stubborn selfishness of this couple at the risk of America’s national security.
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