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The District’s top lawman, U.S. Attorney Ron Machen, was just on the Kojo Nnamdi talking about public corruption.
Machen couldn’t and didn’t talk about specifics of the three cases that his office is currently reviewing (you know, reviewing whether Ward 5 Councilmember Harry Thomas took $300,000 in city money and spent it on an Audi, golfing and Hooters; reviewing what happened with $170,000 in unaccounted Council Chairman Kwame “Fully Loaded” Brown campaign funds that was paid to Brown’s brother; reviewing whether Mayor Vince Gray did anything illegal in the hiring of Sulaimon Brown).
But when Tom Sherwood voiced concerns that Machen may be too busy prosecuting terrorists to pay attention to the misdeeds of D.C. pols, Machen said no way, his office is moving aggressively but carefully on local corruption matters.
“It’s a big deal to me personally, as a D.C. resident,” says Machen. “We read the papers, we know what’s going on.”
As for people wondering what’s taking so long on Thomas’ case, given the fact that he was already sued by the District Attorney General Irv Nathan in a civil suit and agreed to pay the money back (without giving any explanation about his city money spending habits), Machen noted that it’s a lot easier to bring a civil suit than a criminal case. He also said that “offensive” behavior by public officials isn’t always criminal behavior.
That being said, Machen also noted that he knows people are anxious to see some action on his part sooner rather than later.
“We understand there’s a sense of urgency,” he says.