Monday, July 8, 2019

UPDATED: OIG, OPR, And The Epstein Case

Readers may have noticed references to internal disciplinary matters at DoJ (including the FBI) being handled by both OIG under current IG Michael Horowitz as well as OPR (the Office of Professional Responsibility). I've never looked into the division of responsibilities between the two offices before, but we've seen this in the Russia Hoax and it has arisen once more in the Epstein Case. Wikipedia has a succinct explanation of the division of responsibilities--OPR investigates DoJ attorneys, OIG investigates the peons, non-attorneys:

The Office of Professional Responsibility (OPR) is part of the United States Department of Justice (DOJ) responsible for investigating attorneys employed by the DOJ who have been accused of misconduct or crimes in their professional functions. The OPR promulgates independent standards of ethical and criminal conduct for DOJ attorneys, while the DOJ's Office of the Inspector General (OIG) has jurisdiction of non-attorney DOJ employees. Corey Amundson became the head of the Office of Professional Responsibility in September, 2018.

The important point is this: OIG, while part of the DoJ, has an independent basis in federal law. OPR has no statutorily independent basis. That doesn't mean that OIG can't be pressured or interfered with by an AG or his DAG (think: Rod Rosenstein), but the OIG has a stronger ground for independent action that steps on political toes than does OPR. Looking forward, the names of Mueller and his entire team of attorneys arise. This helps explain the regular calls for the investigation of the Russia Hoax to be turned over to a US Attorney who can empanel a Grand Jury. Oh, wait--John Durham!

This division has long been a source of of accusations of favorable/lenient treatment of attorneys, often done secretly, i.e., with no public release of findings. This was famously the case with Andrew Weissmann, as recounted by Sidney Powell (Michael Flynn's new lawyer, author of Licensed To Lie). This also suggests that Bruce Ohr's case, for example, is being handled by OPR, as would then probably be the case with all the other DoJ attorneys (prominently David Laufmann and Rod Rosenstein) involved in the Russia Case, including FBI attorneys such as James Baker, James Comey, Andrew McCabe, Trisha Anderson, Lisa Page, and quite a few more. I may be missing some jurisdictional nuances here, but we need to be aware of this.

As you can imagine, this restriction on OIG--unique to DoJ's OIG--has long been a sore point for Michael Horowitz. Back in January, 2019, the Miami Herald carried a story that addressed this controversial division of responsibilities in the context of the Epstein case as it was handled by then US Attorney in Miami, Alex Acosta. Acosta is currently the Secretary of Labor. Here are the relevant paragraphs from the Herald's story (Justice Dept. watchdog: Change law to let me probe Acosta’s Jeffrey Epstein plea deal), which address the division of responsibilities between OIG and OPR:

The U.S. Department of Justice’s inspector general urged Congress on Tuesday to allow him to investigate Alex Acosta — the former U.S. attorney in Miami whose controversial 2008 plea deal with a politically connected serial sex abuser has led to calls for Acosta to resign as secretary of labor. 
Acosta’s unusual non-prosecution agreement with hedge fund manager Jeffrey Epstein may finally provide the turning point in a 30-year quest by the DOJ’s inspector general’s office to oversee and investigate Justice Department attorneys. 
Inspector General Michael Horowitz, responding to a request last month by lawmakers demanding a probe into the Epstein case, said that while “important questions” have been raised about how Epstein’s case was resolved by the DOJ, the inspector general has long lacked the power to investigate his own lawyers.
Unlike other federal agencies, the Justice Department insulates its lawyers from congressional and public scrutiny by directing internal affairs investigations to the Office of Professional Responsibility, which rarely releases its findings.
“Over the past 30 years, my three predecessors as DOJ Inspector General and I have objected to this limitation on the [inspector general’s] jurisdiction because it shields prosecutorial misconduct from review by a statutorily independent Office of Inspector General,’’ Horowitz wrote.

Once again, I suspect that none of this is happening without Bill Barr's OK. No wonder so many people in Washington are so afraid of Barr. He appears to be going about doing the right things with no fuss or publicity, but also without delay.

UPDATE: Two quotes from smart observers. The first is from Mickey Kaus' new blog (h/t Monica Showalter):

Where Undernews Was, MSM Shall Be: If they’re really going after financier Jeffrey Epstein for sex trafficking of minors, maybe we’ll finally get answers to the two great mysteries of this case, a case that has been bubbling furiously in the Undernews for decades. 1) How does Epstein make his money? Supposedly he’s just an ace trader/hedge funder with billionaire clients. OK! But many Wall Street types are skeptical he is actually financing his unbelievable lifestyle this way. (“The trading desks don’t seem to know him.”) Alternative theories abound. 2) How much of America’s ruling class is involved? We know Bill Clinton has some splainin’ to do. But I don’t think his relationship with Epstein can account for all the heat that has been applied to various prosecutors along the way. As Ann Coulter said, in what remains the best short summary of the case, “This is not just a Clinton sex scandal; this is the elites getting cozy and covering up and protecting one another. It also involves the Bush administration ...." It’s a bad French movie come to life.

The second (h/t Kaus) is from Ann Coulter on Hannity in January, 2015. Ann provides an easy to digest summary from a legal standpoint. And ...

This is a really important story. ... This is not just a Clinton sex scandal; this is the elites getting cozy and covering up and protecting one another. It also involves the Bush administration, it involves Ken Starr, the lawyers for Epstein. 

There are some facts that are absolutely known, there are some that are only allegations right now. But the basic story is that ... Palm Beach police staged a very detailed investigation without Epstein's knowledge.

.... The evidence was quite strong and the ... prosecutor ... wants to just give him a little ticket, just pay ten dollars and that's enough for having sex with these underage girls, that's of course statutory rape in Florida.

The Palm Beach police went mental after they staged this investigation and put all the evidence together. So they went to the federal government. That's where this case comes involved. The U.S. Attorney ... just these astonishing attacks that his office came under from Jeffrey Epstein's defense team including Ken Starr and Alan Dershowitz, Roy Black, all of the legal dream team. 

The prosecutors private's lives were investigated and according to the U.S. Attorney they were just pressured, jerked around, everything was appealed. Eventually they get Epstein to agree to plead guilty to a state charge, ...

There is a federal law sponsored by, among others, [Former] Senator Jon Kyl (R-AZ) and it says victims are asking for, could we please just have the rights of criminals. They want to be notified as a case is going forward. None of that happened in this case. A secret agreement was struck. The documents are under seal. A no prosecution agreement against not only Epstein but his lawyers and all these other friends of his. They are suing under that, they can open this case again. They could breach the no prosecution. 

That case has been going on since 2008.

... This is not a frivolous case. So keep following this case. 

And the fact that thus far this has only been covered on Fox News is shocking. This is not a political thing. ... This is the elites circling the wagon and protecting a pederast. It's a shocking case and that's just the known facts.


  1. I'm not sure whether I've ever explained--in addition to this blog I send many, many emails of articles/blogs, mostly to family. While some deal with the same topics as this blog, many also deal with the topics that fall under a continuation of what I started with "meaning in history". In the last few weeks I've started linking a very few of the articles that I email to my extended family. Here's another provocative one by Rod Dreher:

    Leszek KoĊ‚akowski’s Warning.

    1. Interesting...and, unsurprisingly, there must be a connection between the clear evidence of evil we see unfolding in the public discovery of actions of the holier-than-thou Obama Administration (and other elites) and fundamental issues of good and evil in our post-modern human civilization. It will surely turn out that nothing is 'unconnected'.

      I've ordered Kolakowski's 'Is God Happy?' and will add it to my pile... :)

    2. I haven't read that book, but I do own a copy of his "God Owes Us Nothing." It's about the Jansenist controversy, which for any understanding of what's been going on in the Catholic Church--and, therefore, Western Civ--for the past 600 years is extremely important. He writes clearly and has an incisive mind. I don't necessarily agree with everything he says, but it's the kind of stuff no one should ever regret reading.


    Kaus's blog directs the reader to Conchita Sarnoff's extensive reporting on Epstein, which led me to her 2017 article in the Daily Beast (link above), which contains Alex Acosta's explanation of how the plea agreement went down. Interesting and all plausible without clearly identifying prosecutorial misconduct.

    I'll pass on the question of whether the US Attorney in the SD Fla acted appropriately in not pressing forward with a trial of Epstein in federal court, although there is plenty of grist for the mill. I'll just note that there were clearly going to be impediments to obtaining convictions on federal charges and there will likely be impediments in prosecuting these new indictments. Notwithstanding the over-whelming appearance of wrongdoing in this weekend's press reports, these are still 10+ year old events which will have to be proved by the government in a court of law, with all of the infirmities always present in sexual assault cases, i.e., he said, she said; reluctance of victims to be dragged into court; faulty memories, etc., etc.

    It is useful to remember that Harvey Weinstein has yet to be convicted, and there will undoubtedly be a long way to go before Epstein is convicted.

    As for the question whether the new Epstein indictments will somehow implicate major political figures, notwithstanding Pelosi's daughter's tweet, nothing I have read today suggests that there is new evidence of political scandal. This will all depend, I suppose, on whether one of Epstein's victims is willing to come forward and accuse one of Epstein's highly placed friends...

    We'll see.

    1. Thanks. I'll have to read re the prosecutorial decisions. I see that extensive photographic evidence was seized when he was arrested in NY.

  3. One more post on Epstein for today, Mark...

    This Vanity Fair article, dating from 2003 (although it is also confusingly dated 2011), among other things, recounts some of the transactions Epstein was involved in during the 1980s when he was building his persona and his 'fortune'. Suffice it to say, he is not a guy I would want to do business with...and all of this before the Lolita rumors and allegations emerged.

    As a side note, the VF author, Vicky Ward, is claiming today that Graydon Carter, the editor of Vanity Fair, excised portions of the 2003 article detailing Epstein's conduct with young women. She tweeted, "I tried to expose Jeffrey Epstein for what he is and I was silenced. Everyone who knew about Epstein was—silenced by people with more money and power and influence. Now that silence is over. It’s time for the truth to see the light."

    As a second side note, Epstein apparently made friends along the way with Larry Summers, then-President of Harvard, another world-class creep who is one of the most arrogant people on Earth.

    Wherever this story leads it is certain nothing good is likely to come of it other than the disinfecting benefits of disclosure.

    1. Yeah, I read through a bunch of stuff, a lot that I'd read some years ago. Mike Cernovich was interviewed by Stefan Molyneux and talked about the power of money on a scale few of us can imagine. He also spoke, re Acosta, about the type of people who tend to rise within the Establishment.

      The need for disclosure is great.