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Prosecution among Friends

Presidents, Attorneys General, and Executive Branch Wrongdoing

David Alistair Yalof

Publication Year: 2012

Can Justice Department officials effectively investigate wrongdoing within their own administration without relying on an independent counsel? In Prosecution among Friends political scientist David Alistair Yalof explores the operation of due process as it is navigated within the office of the attorney general and its various subdivisions. The attorney general holds a politically appointed position within the administration and yet, as the nation’s highest ranking law enforcement officer, is still charged with holding colleagues and superiors legally accountable. That duty extends to allegations against those who had a hand in appointing the attorney general in the first place: Even the President of the United States may be enmeshed in a Justice Department investigation overseen by the attorney general and other department officials.? To assess this fundamental problem, Yalof examines numerous cases of executive branch corruption—real or alleged—that occurred over the course of four decades beginning with the Nixon administration and extending up through the second Bush administration. All of these cases—Watergate, Whitewater, and others—were identified and reported to varying degrees in the press and elsewhere. Some garnered significant attention; others drew only limited interest at the time. In all such cases the attorney general and other officials within the executive branch were charged with initially assessing the matter and determining the proper road for moving forward. Only a handful of the cases resulted in the appointment of a statutorily protected independent counsel.

Published by: Texas A&M University Press

Series: Joseph V. Hughes Jr. and Holly O. Hughes Series on the Presidency and Leadership


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Title Page, Copyright

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pp. vii-xii

Moments after taking the presidential oath of office on August 9, 1974, the thirty-eighth president of the United States offered the above words of . . .

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Chapter 1 “Where There Is Smoke”: Investigating and Prosecuting Executive Branch Officials

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pp. 1-33

When the Democrat-controlled Senate Judiciary Committee convened on January 15, 2009, to consider President-elect Barack Obama’s nomination of . . .

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Chapter 2. Legal Regimes, Attorneys General, and Executive Accountability

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pp. 34-60

The position of US attorney general, like that of many other chief law enforcement officers holding parallel positions in state governments, presents a . . .

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Chapter 3. When All Bets Are Off: Presidents, Vice Presidents, and Their Family Members on Trial

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pp. 61-85

The 1870 statute that formally established the Department of Justice granted the new agency “control over all criminal prosecutions” in which the United States . . .

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Chapter 4. A Bit Too Familiar: When the Justice Department Investigates the Justice Department

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pp. 86-113

Perhaps the most obvious conflict of interest that arises in the investigation and prosecution of executive branch corruption occurs when the hunter . . .

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Chapter 5. More Political Considerations: Departing Officials, Looming Elections, and the Influence of Partisan Opposition

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pp. 114-133

An attorney general who is considering whether or not to appoint a special counsel or independent prosecutor is swimming in dangerous waters. The issues . . .

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Chapter 6. What’s a Little Prosecution among Friends? A Framework for Political Analysis

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pp. 134-148

On April 7, 1995, Independent Counsel Joseph DiGenova filed his final report in the case of Elizabeth Tamposi and the passport search scandal. DiGenova . . .


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pp. 149-169

Select Bibliography

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pp. 171-182


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pp. 183-196

Back Cover

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E-ISBN-13: 9781603447591
E-ISBN-10: 1603447598
Print-ISBN-13: 9781603447447
Print-ISBN-10: 160344744X

Page Count: 224
Illustrations: 3 charts. 4 tables. Bib. Index.
Publication Year: 2012

Series Title: Joseph V. Hughes Jr. and Holly O. Hughes Series on the Presidency and Leadership
Series Editor Byline: Pfiffner, James P. See more Books in this Series

OCLC Number: 811320539
MUSE Marc Record: Download for Prosecution among Friends

Research Areas


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Subject Headings

  • United States. Dept. of Justice -- History.
  • Corruption investigation -- United States -- History.
  • Special prosecutors -- United States -- History.
  • Criminal investigation -- Political aspects -- United States -- History.
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