Major Hollwood mogul and donor to liberal candidates and causes, Harvey Weinstein, has been exposed as a sexual predator. I hadn't heard these stories prior to this story breaking, but reports indicate that Weinstein's predatory behavior was common knowledge in Hollywood circles. Weinstein says he's getting treatment /eyeroll
On the other side of the political divide, a staunch anti-abortion Republican, Rep. Tim Murhpy, resigned after it was revealed that he pressured a woman with whom he was having an affair to seek an abortion. Reports say that his abortion hypocrisy is only part of the reason he resigned. According to Politico, Murhpy's fellow Republicans feared that a slew of stories describing a "reign of terror" in Murphy's office were about to break.
It's been a rough week for Manhattan D.A. Cyrus Vance. IB Times is reporting that Vance received $10,000 from Harvey Weinstein's attorney, David Boies, shortly after Vance declined to bring sexual assault charges against Weinstein. It wasn't necessarily a clear quid pro quo. In fact, that $10k was only a small fraction of the money Boies and his associates have raised and donated to Vance.
This is the second time in a week that Vance has drawn negative public scrutiny. On Wednesday, it was reported that Vance declined to bring felony fraud charges against Ivanka and Donald Trump, Jr after a visit from Trump attorney and Vance donor, Marc Kasowitz.
Commenting at Above The Law, Joe Patrice says this is less about bribery than it is about the rich and powerful routinely escaping criminal charges, while less influential people are crucified by the legal system.
Some observers are pointing out that electing prosecutors is a bad idea because the need for political donations presents an inherent conflict of interest. But appointed prosecutors aren't necessarily free of potential conflicts of interest either. Witness the firing of Preet Bharara by Donald Trump.
Whether elected or appointed, the integrity of prosecutors will ultimately boil down to two factors: personal integrity and attentiveness to bias. Bias is largely unconscious and compromises to personal integrity are often abetted by unconscious influences, so, either way, challenges to the integrity of the office are formidable. But, as we saw in the case of Bharara, these challenges aren't insurmountable. Bharara successfully resisted considerable pressure to compromise his office, though his resistance did get him fired. I suppose his resistance was made a bit easier by the knowledge that he would have some lucrative options awaiting him in the job market. At a minimum, U.S. Attorneys can typically expect a high-paying partnership in big law after leaving public service.