Get Our Newsletter



Links

Columnists



Site Search


Entire (RSS)
Comments (RSS)

Archive Calendar

December 2019
S M T W T F S
« Nov    
1234567
891011121314
15161718192021
22232425262728
293031  

Guides

How to Become a Bounty Hunter



Tag: Mary Beth Buchanan

Ex-LA U.S. Atty. Writes Check After Getting Busted for Ripping Off Taxpayers: He’s 1 of 5 U.S. Attys Cited in IG Report

Thomas O'Brien/gov photo

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

WASHINGTON — Former Los Angeles U.S. Atty. Thomas P. O’Brien says he wrote a check this week reimbursing the government in instances where he stayed in hotel rooms that cost more than the government-approved rate, the Los Angeles Times reported.

O’Brien was one of five U.S. Attorneys cited in a Justice Department Inspector General report released Monday who went beyond the government approved rate on different occasions. The report, which covered the years 2007 to 2009, did not identify the U.S. Attorney’s by name.

But two others names identified in media reports included former New Jersey U.S. Attorney Chris Christie, who is now governor of New Jersey,  and former Pittsburgh U.S. Attorney Mary Beth Buchanan.

Mary Beth Buchanan

The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, which identified Buchanan, reported that the violators weren’t required to reimburse taxpayers because rules at the time allowed U.S. Attorney’s to approve their own travel.

The report found that some of O’Brien’s claims for reimbursement were “inappropriate and egregious violations” of the travel policies, the Times reported. It said the total overage amounted to $903.

The Times reported that O’Brien, now in private practice, denied any misconduct, but takes “full responsibility” for any oversights.

The Times reported that O’Brien said all his travel was approved by Washington and that he was not asked to repay for the overages,, he did so on Tuesday, one day after the report was released.

The Pittsburg Post-Gazette wrote that Buchanan had overages of $4,221.

The Post-Gazette reported that in June Buchanan said she had always followed department rules if she had gone over the government rate.

Gov. Chris Christie/state photo

Chris Christie

“I can assure you the process was followed each and every time,” she said, according to the paper.

As for Christie, the report, which identified him only as “U.S. Attorney C”, said :  “These 14 vouchers exceeded the government rate by $19 to $242 per night, for a total of $2,176 (excluding taxes for domestic travel). U.S. Attorney C’s lodging costs exceeded the government rate by more than $100 per night on 9 of the 14 vouchers.”

He has publicly declined to comment on the report.

The report said Christie — considered a rising star in the Republican party – stayed at the Nine Zero Hotel in Boston for $449 per night and the $475-per-night Four Seasons Hotel in Washington at a cost of more than double the government rate for those cities.

The website Main Justice was the first to identify Christie as a violator.

Read report.

OTHER STORIES OF INTEREST

Mary Beth Buchanan Chalked Up $450,000 in Travel As U.S. Attorney; Feds Change Travel Rules

 Mary Beth Buchanan

Mary Beth Buchanan

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Mary Beth Buchanan was quite the jet setter during her eight-year reign as U.S. Attorney in Pittsburgh.

The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports that she spent more than half of her time as the U.S. attorney on the road, taking at least 347 trips. The total cost: $450,000. She stepped down in November.

In March, the paper reported, the Justice Department changed the rules, requiring that out-of-district travel get the ok from the director or deputy director of the executive office.

“The previous policies and procedures were admittedly inconsistent,” Justice spokeswoman Melissa Schwartz told the paper. “Changes to the process were made to ensure full compliance with departmental travel policies and procedure and to strengthen controls and oversight of U.S. attorney travel.”

To read more click here.

4 Ex-U.S. Attys. Win Republican Primary Bids; Fifth Gets Trounced

Bush Holdover U.S. Atty. Mary Beth Buchanan

Bush Holdover U.S. Atty. Mary Beth Buchanan

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Four ex-U.S. Attorney’s won Republican primary bids Tuesday for public office. But perhaps in the most interesting race,  a  fifth ex-U.S. Attorney, Republican Mary Beth Buchanan —  a controversial figure during her reign as the top Pittsburgh prosecutor — got trounced in a contentious battle for the 4th Congressional District seat.

The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reported that Buchanan was defeated by a relative unknown, attorney and ex-Bush official Keith Rothfus. The paper called it an upset that “was the culmination of a surprising campaign characterized by stinging attacks on both sides.”

Buchanan blamed her defeat on the anti-incumbent sentiment in the nation, even though she was not an elected official, the Post-Gazette reported. She was appointed by President Bush and stayed on for a while under the Obama administration. She got about a third of the votes.

Tom Corbett/ pa. state photo

Tom Corbett/ pa. state photo

Elsehwere around the country, according to the website Main Justice, which closely tracks U.S. Attorneys, former Arkansas U.S. Attorney Tim Griffin won the Republican primary for the 2nd Congressional District in Arkansas.

Three former Pennsylvania U.S. Attorneys won their contests in that state, according to Main Justice.  Pennsylania Attorney General Tom Corbett, a former U.S. Attorney,  won the Republican bid for Pennsylvania governor; Pat Meehan was unopposed in the Republican primary for a Congressional seat held by Democratic Congressman Joe Sestak, who defeated Sen. Arlen Specter in the primary; and  Tom Marino won his bid in the Republican primary for a Congressional seat.

Controversial Pitts. U.S. Atty. Mary Pat Buchanan to Step Down Nov. 16

Bush Holdover U.S. Atty. Mary Beth Buchanan
Bush Holdover U.S. Atty. Mary Beth Buchanan

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com
WASHINGTON — Pittsburgh U.S. Attorney Mary Pat Buchanan, who  bumped up against her share of controversy during her eight-year reign, and gained notoriety for prosecuting comedian Tommy Chong’s drug paraphernalia shop, is stepping down Nov. 16, the Associated Press reported.

The news agency said Buchanan, a Bush appointee who was going to be replaced anyways by the Obama administration, was looking forward to the next chapter in life, whatever that may be.

Last year, Buchanan  had expressed a desire to stay on as U.S. Attorney, but that never seemed like a possibility. The Justice Department recently launched an investigation into complaints of  improper behavior after she stated publicly that a local medical examiner was guilty of various charges even after her office dropped the charges.

Pitts. U.S. Atty. Mary Beth Buchanan Can’t Avoid Controversy

Bush Holdover U.S. Atty. Mary Beth Buchanan

Bush Holdover U.S. Atty. Mary Beth Buchanan

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

U.S. Attorney Mary Beth Buchanan of Pittsburgh, a Bush appointee who is expected to be replaced by an Obama appointee, can’t seem to avoid controversy. And this time, it may not be her fault.

In the latest incident, the Associated Press reports that the Pittsburgh federal defenders office is alleging that the Allegheny County Jail recorded telephone calls between defense attorneys and their clients and turned over some conversations to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

Jail policy allows for the recording of all outgoing calls except to inmates’ lawyers.

The Associated Press quoted Federal Public Defender Lisa Freeland as being “incensed” and the office has scheduled a meeting with the county’s solicitor’s office.

The news agency said the jail claimed revamping of the phone system may have resulted in the jail inadvertently recording conversations. AP reported that Buchanan said her office never requested any of those conversations, and it didn’t listen to any that it may have gotten.

Buchanan triggered an internal Justice Department probe earlier this year when she publicly stated that a county medical examiner was guilty of crimes even after charges were dropped.

OTHER STORIES OF INTEREST

County Dem Chairman Wants Pittsburgh U.S. Atty. Mary Beth Buchanan to Resign

Bush Holdover U.S. Atty. Mary Beth Buchanan
Bush Holdover U.S. Atty. Mary Beth Buchanan

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

U.S. Attorney Mary Beth Buchanan of Pittsburgh continues to stir up controversy in her waning moments in office.

Allegheny County Democratic Party Chairman Jim Burn wants Buchanan to resign after reports surfaced that she is considering a bid for Congress, the Associated Press reports. He feels it’s a conflict of interest to remain in office while she considers a bid for Congress.

The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reported that Buchanan, who was appointed by Bush in 2001, is considering a bid to unseat Democratic Rep. Jason Altmire next year. The AP said Buchanan has not commented on the report.

The Dems are in the process of finding a replacement for Buchanan, who had little chance of ever remaining as U.S. Attorney despite her hopes that she would.

Buchanan has been somewhat of a controversial figure during her reign. This past summer she was sharply criticized for implying that  a county medical examiner was guilty after she dismissed the charges that he used his office to financially benefit. The Justice Department launched a probe into the complaints.

More Bush U.S. Attys. Clinging to Office Longer than Predecessors in Clinton Admin.

Bush Holdover U.S. Atty. Mary Beth Buchanan

Bush Holdover U.S. Atty. Mary Beth Buchanan

At this point, there may be far more Bush holdovers serving as U.S. Attorneys than there were during the Clinton regime. Still,  the current selection process for U.S. Attorneys remains, in most instances, very political and partisan. Too bad. It would be nice, and better for the sake of justice, if that weren’t the case.

By Andrew Ramonas
Main Justice
WASHINGTON — U.S. Attorneys appointed by President Bush are clinging to office longer than their predecessors in the Clinton administration did, according to Justice Department and Senate data.

More than eight months after Democrat Barack Obama took office, 23 Senate-confirmed U.S. Attorneys from the Bush administration remain in office. Another eight U.S. Attorneys who were appointed during the Bush administration, but not confirmed by the Senate, are also still in office.

That makes a total of 31 Bush-era appointees who are still running the top federal prosecuting offices around the country, out of 93 U.S. Attorney positions nationwide.

For Full Story

Justice Dept. Probing Comments Made By Pitts. U.S. Atty. Buchanan

Pittsburgh U.S. Atty. Mary Beth Buchanan wants badly to stay on as U.S. Attorney. Not only is that NOT likely to happen, but she could make a less than graceful exit with this latest development.

Conservative Holdover- Pittsburgh U.S. Atty. Mary Beth Buchanan
Bush Holdover- Pittsburgh U.S. Atty. Mary Beth Buchanan

RAMIT PLUSHNICK-MASTI
The Associated Press
PITTSBURGH – The Department of Justice has launched an inquiry into comments made by Pittsburgh’s U.S. attorney when she announced she was dropping charges against a renowned pathologist, ending a contentious years-long legal battle.

Mary Beth Buchanan said at the time that she still believed pathologist Cyril Wecht had committed a crime. He had been accused of using his public office , Allegheny County medical examiner , to benefit his multimillion dollar private practice.

Dick Thornburgh , a former U.S. attorney general who was part of the pathologist’s defense team , lodged a complaint with the department after the June 2 news conference, saying U.S. attorney Mary Beth Buchanan’s comments were “completely improper, violate all notions of prosecutorial ethics and decency, and warrant remedial action by the Department of Justice.”

In a letter dated July 8, the department informed Thornburgh it had “initiated an inquiry into your allegations.” The department said it would inform him of the outcome of the inquiry.

For Full Story

OTHER STORIES OF INTEREST