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Re-Visiting and Extending the Political Profiling of Elected Democratic Officials

Donald C. Shields, Ph.D.
Original Publication Date
Halls of Justice

The advantage of a federal prosecution is that prosecutors are immune from petty party politics . [ . . . ] State prosecutions that are the result of partisan politics are suspect in the minds of American jurors who deliberate not only upon the facts but with respect to issues of fairness.1

So goes the conventional wisdom depicting the lack of bias and therefore superiority of federal investigation and prosecution when compared to non-federal law enforcement. I find it ironic at this time that anyone can regard U.S. Attorneys—our nation’s “chief law-enforcement officers”—as independent or, in Dreyer's words, “immune from petty party politics.”2

Irony appears an apt descriptor given the revelations provided in the recent study on federal political profiling of elected Democrat officials and candidates3 and the concurrent disclosures about partisan politics surrounding the firings of the U. S. Attorneys in late 2006.4

The communal significance of both this important issue generally, and the political profiling piece in particular, is evidenced by the extensive public discussion accorded to it in the press,5 the Congress, other media, and even by Administration apologists. With publication, a number of questions arose and I responded to them.6

President Bush described Alberto Gonzales as an Attorney General who "aggressively and successfully pursued public corruption."7 Gonzales' resignation provides an opportunity to assess the impact of his reign as Attorney General, by updating the results of this eight-year longitudinal study of the Department of Justice’s (DOJ) and U.S. Attorneys’ public corruption initiative during the Bush Administration.8

The updated report includes:

•Report on a re-examination of the previously reported data;•Update and expand the data through September 16, 2007 — the effective resignation-date of Attorney General Gonzales;•Introduces a new baseline for comparison;•Provide new ways of looking at the data; and•Reiterates and expands on the harms of “politicization” by articulating my earlier proposed solutions.

Original Data: A Look Back

This “longitudinal study” stems from the use of symbolic convergence theory9 to explain the confluence of unique aspects of the religious-conservative and neo-conservative rhetorical visions, which were held by then-Attorney General John Ashcroft.

It is not a legal study nor does it purport to track the actual case history of any individual, other than as it may have been reported in a news story or federal press release.

However, it does analyze the political effects of investigations as seen in local news accounts. My use of the word investigate is a common definition. It refers to someone subpoenaed for records, or to testify, or arrested or indicted for allegedly perpetrating some federal offense.

The study was conceived and conducted as a political communication study seeking to link the public rhetoric of Ashcroft and the behavior of the ninety-three U.S. attorneys that reported to him. It also entailed verifying if Ashcroft successfully gained converts to his new, neo-public corruption, rhetorical vision.10

Ashcroft said when discussing an array of criminal acts including public corruption, "We must continue to use every law enforcement tactic and prosecutorial tool we can  . . . [to] pursue and prosecute."11 As Baker noted, "The Justice Department's preventive approach marked an important shift from its historic priorities of investigation and prosecution" of crime – no longer would the DOJ wait for a crime to occur or a terrorist threat to emerge; rather, it would seek to prevent them.”12

For the purposes of this study political profiling is defined as the selective investigation of public officials who hold elective office at the state and local level. The findings, based on news stories about federal investigations of elected officials, made a statistical prediction that political profiling was occurring by over-investigating Democrats, under-investigatiing Republicans and Independents or a combination of both. Combining the contents of White House and DOJ e-mail releases with disclosures from the Gonzales U.S. attorney firings provided direct evidence to support such a prediction.13

The February 18, 2007 results contained 375 investigations and/or indictments of elected officials, which were cross-tabulated by political affiliation. The data, presented in two previous academic papers, established the longitudinal study’s design and method. The data collection procedure relied on Google search to retrieve electronic accounts of federal grand jury investigations. Beginning in the spring of 2004, the following search strategies and terms were employed:

•1,980 hits containing the words “federal grand jury investigation” in quotations;•722 hits containing the words “federal grand jury investigation” AND "elected";•Initially 141 hits containing “federal public corruption investigation” AND "elected"; and•A census search of existing press releases periodically made available on-line at the web-sites of most U.S. Attorneys' Offices.

Updated Data: Baseline for Comparison

The central hypothesis of this study is that an elected officials' party affiliation (Democrat, Republican, and Independent/other) would be distributed in a fashion equal to the party affiliation of the population of elected officials as a whole. In 2002, the Eagleton Institute of Politics at Rutgers University surveyed 17,023 elected officials in Congress, states, state legislatures and local governments, asking them whether they considered themselves a Democrat, Republican, Independent, or something else? Fifty percent of respondents reported being Democrat, 41% Republican and 9% Independent or Other.14 From these estimates, it can be hypothesized that distribution of investigations or indictments of elected officials should mirror these percentages.

In Figure 1 and Table 1 summarize the 820 publicly reported grand jury investigations and/or indictments of elected officials or candidates by the DOJ's U.S. Attorneys between January 2001 and September 16, 2007. Figure 1 shows a dramatic increase in investigations during the Bush administration compared to 2001. Table 1 shows the sample includes 631 (77 percent) investigations of Democrats, 142 (17 percent) investigations of Republicans and 47 (6 percent) investigations of Independents/Other office holders or candidates.

The disparity between investigation and/or indictments of Democrats in relation to Republicans is statistically significant and could have occurred by chance in less than one in 10,000 samplings.15

Three important questions remain:

•How good are these results?•Are Democrats intrinsically more corrupt than Republicans? This could explain the disparity and its corollary.•Is the disparity in investigations common to all presidential administrations or unique to this White House?

The direct answer to these questions may never be known. Only the DOJ can provide actual detailed information on every investigation. It also appears the DOJ has eviously public information from its U.S. Attorney web-sites, making research more difficult. Until the DOJ changes its policy on data release, I and other researchers can only turn to the public records to track investigations. Moreover, Internet search procedures used in this study were unavailable at the time of past administrations. Further complicating matters, many newspapers do not have retroactive on-line archives and no single newspaper reports all cases of grand jury investigations/indictments of elected officials and candidates from across the country.

If proof surfaced that selective prosecution occurred in previous administrations, it would only indicate that the problem was a longstanding institutional one rather than a political problem of the Bush Administration, as claimed here. The political problem may be easier to eliminate, but either problem needs Congressional attention.

Because this study tracks publicly reported investigations and/or indictments across the entirety of the Bush Presidency, interim data analysis reports may be compared for “stability” of its findings. The reported parts of the data have been published three times and the study was replicated, beginning in March 2007. This new report contains the full 820 U.S. Attorney investigations. The stability of the findings are found in Table 2, which indicates that the percentages reported with each progressive analysis fell within the margin of error for the sample as a whole at the 95 percent confidence level.

In the original sample of 375 publicly reported investigations and/or indictments, I used the statewide and federal elected officials and candidates as a baseline for comparison. The lack of statistical significance in the variation of the percentages of federal and statewide elected officials investigated in relation to the normative percentages constituted solid evidence that the "on-the-radar" surveillance of the national and state-wide press may have prevented any disparity from occurring.

But the larger sample reported here no longer warrants that conclusion. Although the Bush/Ashcroft/Gonzales U.S. Attorneys did not investigate the federal and statewide office-holders and candidates at the same rate as local politicians, as the sample expanded, the difference in the percentage of Democrats, Republicans, and Independent/others investigated is nonetheless statistically significant in the 820 sample (See Table 1). Unable to use the federal and statewide elected officials and candidates as a baseline for comparison, I found it necessary to set up a new baseline for comparison to help answer the question of soundness.

This April I studied the use of local or non-federal grand juries to investigate public corruption cases led by local city attorneys, county district attorneys and prosecutors and state attorneys general. Not only did this non-federal law enforcement study put the quality of the original federal data in a new light, it also showed its soundness.

Table 3 shows no significant difference in the party affiliations of elected officials investigated by local grand juries, city and county district attorneys and state attorneys general.

The Chi-square analysis of this non-federal law enforcement data shows no difference between the frequencies in the sample and the expected distribution of 50 percent Democrat, 41 percent Republican, and 9 percent Independent/other. This non-federal law enforcement data directly refutes this report’s introductory bromide, which stated that federal law enforcement investigations and prosecutions are less politically biased than non-federal law enforcement investigations. The opposite is true for the nation as a whole.

When federal law enforcement and non-federal law enforcement data are compared, the analysis shows Bush Administration U.S. Attorneys were highly politicized in their nationwide investigations and indictments. But there is no such bias present nationwide in the investigations and indictments by non-federal prosecutors over the same time frame. Local grand jury investigations of elected officials and candidates mirror the norm according to party affiliation. This shows the anomaly present in the U.S. Attorneys' investigations and/or indictments of elected officials and candidates in the context of political profiling. Responding to this data, the DOJ said, “U.S. Attorneys are professionals and pay no attention to the political affiliation of whom we investigate.”

Looking at Data: Two New Ways

Critics of the initial report say that Democrats exceed Republicans in the findings because Democrats are in power in the big cities where the DOJ conducts its investigations. This argument might make sense but for the fact that the U.S. Attorneys sole responsibility for law enforcement lay within big cities. In fact, most of the 93 U.S. Attorney Districts comprise whole states or major parts of a state and they are responsible for federal law enforcement throughout their districts.

Notwithstanding the District of Columbia, each U.S. Attorney District includes many suburbs, rural towns, cities and rural counties. And while critics may believe that U.S. Attorneys don't catch elected officials in such places, clearly they do. Cases ranging drug dealers to embezzlers to illegal aliens and fire arms violations demonstrate that U.S. Attorneys can and do investigate crime in the suburbs and rural areas. But curiously, the data from this study shows they do not investigate Republicans when they go after public corruption, preferring instead to overwhelmingly investigate and/or indict Democrats.

In the absence of actual data, critics are loathe to accept the logic behind the findings. In 2006 Clark reported the third national survey of elected county commissioners for the National Association of Counties, which showed the party affiliation of county elected officials across America as 46 percent Republican, 13 percent Independent and 41 percent Democrat. Additionally, based upon a 95 percent confidence level, Clark noted those distributions are accurate to within 4 percent of the true distribution of county commissioners.16 His research allowed me to look at the investigations of county commissioners in my sample and compare it to his known distribution of county commissioners across the country.

Table 4 indicates there are 71 county commissioners in the data base of 820 U.S. Attorney-led investigations. Of those 71, seven are Republicans, two are Independent/Others and 62 are Democrats. Of the 67 percent of America comprised predominantly of rural and suburban counties, U.S. Attorneys investigated Democratic over Republican commissioners at a rate of 8.86 to one, a rate even higher than the other ratios presented in Tables 1, 2 & 3. Interestingly, at the same time, the U.S. Attorneys led investigations of 23 County Executives of which 20 (87 percent) were Democrat and only 3 (13.0 percent) were Republican.

A second new way of looking at the data entails a comparison of the Ashcroft years versus the Gonzales years. This comparison sticks to the data pertaining to U.S. Attorney-led investigations by the two AG's and will not contrast them on hires and firings or maintenance or non-maintenance of office moral due to their contrasting styles of management.

Table 5 indicates that Ashcroft's U.S. Attorneys investigated and/or indicted elected officials and candidates at a rate of 5.33 Democrats to one Republican during his 48 plus months in office. This compares with Gonzales' U.S. Attorneys investigating and/or indicting elected officials and candidates at a rate of 3.6 Democrats to every Republican during his 31-plus months in office. Such a slow down in investigations might indicate that Gonzales’ U.S. Attorneys lost some their zeal for investigating Democrats.

The purge of U.S Attorneys throughout 2006 culminated in the December Gonzales firings. This fact requires a closer examination of 2007 data based on the information in Table 2, which shows Gonzales-led U.S. Attorneys investigations and/or indictments of Democrats was 77.03 percent. Compare this to Ashcroft's average of 80.70 percent. The Ashcroft-led investigations of Republicans, was 15.13 percent whereas 20.06 percent of the Gonzales-led investigations were of Republicans. This decrease in investigations of Democrats by Gonzales and his increase in investigations of Republicans seem to provide a plausible answer to the "why" behind the U.S. Attorney purges.  

How Did This Happen and What Can Be Done to Correct It?

Public confidence has been eroded as a result of the politicization of the DOJ, with many things contributing to this loss of confidence. The slow erosion of the safeguards provided in the Bill of Rights by sanctioning the U.S. Attorneys to treat the Democratic elected officials and candidates at the local level -- and those who contribute to them -- as an organized illegal conspiracy (requiring Rico-like investigative tactics, Patriot Act time-of-war surveillance techniques and entrapment-like stings with DOJ agents bribing officials and acting as fake candidates to buy votes). Finally, Ashcroft and Gonzales elevated many non-corruption transgressions to federal crimes by usurping cases like campaign ethics issues that traditionally would have been handled as state cases.

All this demonstrates that if federal investigators would investigate Republicans with the same enthusiasm they investigate Democrats, the bias now present in federal courts would not exist.

Who cares? Don’t investigations lead to indictments and don’t most indictments lead to guilty pleas or convictions? The answer is two-fold:

•All investigations may not lead to indictments, but they all produce embarrassment, which has a negative political impact on the credibility of the official being investigated.•Baseless indictments cost money. The cost of defense can bankrupt the innocent and guilty and discourage political participation in government.

As an example, let’s look at the ‘Scooter’ Libby Syndrome: A politically generated investigation may lead to no criminal charges filed for a crime investigated publicly. Peripheral figures often find themselves caught up in foolish “perjury” traps created by the investigation that was proven as without merit. Convictions for crimes that could not have existed but for the original investigation itself are then used as a “bootstrap” justification for the original investigation by the U.S. Attorneys and other DOJ officials. In such cases, political profiling is a substitute of one form of public corruption for another, as in pseudo perjury charges.

While numbers are important -- they help define reality – they have no memory and therefore they have no prejudice or political party.

The numbers in this study clearly show that federal investigations and/or indictments of local officials are highly disproportionate according to political party affiliation. The possibility of such disproportion occurring, by chance, amounts to 10,000 to one or greater. This is clear proof of a political bias, a bias of selective investigations and prosecutions.

The strength of the numbers helps answer the remaining question of whether or not the bias is institutional or policy driven. Like racial profiling, political profiling can be either institutional or policy driven. Information regarding the firing of the U.S. Attorneys supports the conclusion that the demonstrated political profiling bias is policy driven.

What can be done about the DOJ's political profiling of elected officials? The fact that the political profiling bias enumerated in this investigation is policy driven may bode well for fashioning an effective remedy by allowing Congress to make rules to reduce policy driven bias.

To affect change, increased transparency, while not a panacea, is an important first step. The DOJ should be required to maintain lists of who is investigated and prosecuted according to political party affiliation whenever the investigation involves or is related to an elected official or candidate for elected public office. The reasons given by the DOJ for not doing so are weak. If investigations are on-going, arrangements could be made to redact names or other identifying information for a reasonable time to allow their completion. In any event, there should be no justification for the DOJ to fail to report this information to Congress, if a federal grand jury or other federal investigation has been reported by the local press.

To ensure transparency, the DOJ should be required to submit to Congress an annual, stand-alone report listing each political corruption investigation and/or indictment and the party affiliation of the elected official, the jurisdiction in which it occurred and whether it took place in an urban, suburban, or rural setting so that Congressional oversight committees, agencies, independent researchers and journalists can verify its accuracy.

Transparency alone may not be sufficient to guarantee against political abuse, which is why Congress may wish to impose additional safeguards against political profiling in the investigation and prosecution of elected officials and candidates in the following ways:

•Allow a person being investigated the right to appear before and to submit evidence to a grand jury without the consent of the U.S. Attorney.•Allow special rules of broad discovery in federal court – similar to standards used in federal civil cases – in cases involving elected officials or candidates. This would reduce the number of marginal or frivolous indictments.•If elected or former elected officials or candidates raise issues of political profiling and selective prosecution, require the Court to provide discovery and hearing.•Require federal prosecutors to disclose all communications and proffers of any prosecution witness.•Make mandatory the payment of all defense attorney’s fees and costs for an elected official, former elected official or candidate who has been found not guilty in a public corruption case or any other case where the issue of political profiling and selective prosecution has been raised.•Prohibit U.S. Attorneys or Assistant U.S. Attorneys from holding press conferences to announce indictments of charged elected officials and candidates. To do so would not prejudice the jury pool or voters. A written press release distributed by a U.S. Attorney to media outlets should be sufficient.•Toughen the federal standards for proving conspiracy with cases involving elected officials and candidates; treat all campaign spending violations as non-criminal referrals to the federal election commission; and restrict the practice of FBI entrapment of elected officials and candidates through the use of bribery stings, the setting up of phony companies soliciting business, the running of phony political candidates and so forth.•Re-instate and enforce the longstanding prohibition against employees of the DOJ interfering in political campaigns by bringing indictments and leaking investigations; and enforce the strict prohibitions against leaking information on investigations prior to indictment.•Limit the ability of the U.S. Attorneys to harass elected officials and candidates through protracted investigations.•Control the practice of "grand jury shopping" by limiting the number of times the same investigation may be brought before a grand jury to the initial grand jury; and require the U.S. Attorneys to publicize that "No Bill" has been brought if they could not achieve an indictment with a single grand jury.


Congress must act now because it is in the best interests of Republicans, Democrats, Independents and the public to see that reforms are enacted. To allow present DOJ policies to persist will, I fear, further erode the public’s confidence in our federal judicial system and the DOJ in particular.

Should the remedies I have put forth in this report or any others offered by concerned, informed stakeholders languish, my worst fear is that good, capable citizens may decide to not participate in our system of government lest they be the object of selective investigation and political profiling. That is a prospect most dangerous to our Republic.


1 William J. Dreyer, Esq. (Undated). Defending a Public Official against Charges of Public Corruption in the United States and the Model Case of United States of America v. McDonough. Retrieved 7/30/2007.

2 Dwyer (undated).

3 Shields, Donald C., & Cragan, John F. (2007, February 18), "The Political Profiling of Elected Democratic Officials: When Rhetorical Vision Participation Runs Amok". EPluribus Media: A Collaborative Journal for New Media. See, for example, Dan Eggen (2007, March 1). "Fired U.S. Attorney Says Lawmakers Pressured Him." The Washington Post, A10. Or see, David Bowermaster and Alicia Mundy (2007, March 7). "At Senate Hearing, McKay Vigorously Defends His Work. Seattle Times. Or see, John Solomon and Dan Eggen (2007, March 3). "Whitehouse backed U.S. Attorney Firings, Officials Say." Washington Post. See also, Jonathan Chait (2007, April 19). "Kremlin Justice in the U.S.: The U.S. Attorney Scandal is Part of a Larger Bush Administration Offense – Using Law Enforcement as a Tool of the Ruling Party." Los Angeles Times, Op-Ed.

4 For a print or electronically accessible review of the entire controversy, see Kenneth Jost (2007, June 22). [Special Issue] "Prosecutors and Politics: Has the Justice Department Become too Politicized." CQ Quarterly, 17, 555-575. Also see, dKosopedia (2007). "U.S. Attorney Purge Timeline".

5 For example, see Paul Krugman (2007, March 9). “The Department of Injustice.” The New York Times, Op-Ed section. Also see, NY Times (2007, May 24). "Why This Scandal Matters," [Editorial]. The New York Times, Op-Ed section.

6 See Michael Smerconish (2007, February 18). "Headstrong/Poor Way to Defend Fumo," [Currents section] Philadelphia Inquirer, XML. See also my reply to Smerconish. Tom Finkel (2007, April 4). "No news is good news. The questions Steven Colbert didn't ask. Riverfront Times (St. Louis, MO).

7 George W. Bush (2007, August 27). "President Bush Discusses Resignation of Attorney General Alberto Gonzales." [White House release.]

8 Public corruption investigations have now become the number one criminal investigative priority of the DOJ’s Federal Bureau of Investigation. See, for example, Office of the Inspector General’s Report 05-37, dated September 2005 entitled, The External Effects of the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Reprioritization Efforts (Redacted for Public Release), especially Chapter 10, Public Corruption. Or see, Robert S. Mueller, III (2006, May 11). "Remarks Prepared for Delivery by Robert S. Mueller, III, Director, Federal Bureau of Investigation, City Club of San Diego." San Diego, CA. Mueller states: " Today, however, I am going to focus on another threat that has hit home here and in many other communities around the country—public corruption. . . . Since 9/11, we have had to prioritize how we use our resources, placing our national security programs first. But at the same time, we made public corruption our top criminal investigative priority." It all began with AG John Ashcroft's speeches, given early and often during his term, prompting pre-emptive action against the scourge of public corruption. See for example, John Ashcroft (2001, May 31). "Attorney General Prepared Remarks, The Hague, Netherlands." See also, John Ashcroft (2004, January 26). "Press Conference with U.S. Attorney General John Ashcroft, Austrian Interior Minister Ernst Strasser." Vienna, Austria, Austrian Interior Ministry. See also, John Ashcroft (2004, January 22). Prepared Remarks of Attorney General John Ashcroft World Economic Forum." Davos, Switzerland. See also, John Ashcroft (2004, May 11). "Transcript of the G8 Justice and Home Affairs Ministerial Press Conference." Washington, DC. [Retrieved 9/28/2005].

9 Donald C. Shields writes: "Symbolic Convergence Theory (SCT), a general communication theory, explains the emergence of a common symbolic consciousness – one that contains shared meanings, emotions, values, and motives for human action – among participants in a small group, organization, or other rhetorical community. SCT as developed by Ernest Bormann, John Cragan, and Donald Shields, among others, is a message-centered theory developed through the obser­vation of symbolic facts in communication. First, observers noted the sharing of dramatized messages, called fantasy themes, within small group commu­nication, then mediated communication, and finally among the communicating memberships of organizations and other large publics. Within each context, researchers found that people shared, reiterated, and wove fantasy themes to form a larger, more complex view of reality called a rhetorical vision (e.g., the Cold War, Glasnost, Global Warming, or Neo-Conservatism). A rhetorical vision contains many fantasy themes that depict heroes and villains in dramatic action within a scene. People create and reproduce fantasy themes in conversations – the hallmark of human communication. Fantasy themes often ignite, catch up others, and chain-out from person-to-person, group-to-group, and community-to-community. People share rhetorical fantasies to account for human experience, come to repeat them, embellish them, and accept them as their view of reality." Excerpted from Donald C. Shields (in press), "Symbolic Convergence Theory," in Wolfgang Donsbach, ED, International Encyclopedia of Communication, England: Blackwell Publishing and the International Communication Association.

10 See Ernest G. Bormann, John F. Cragan, and Donald C. Shields (1996), "An Expansion of the Rhetorical Vision Concept of Symbolic Convergence Theory: The Cold War Paradigm Case," Communication Monographs, 63, 1-28; Donald C. Shields (1990, June), Perestroika, Glasnost and Communication Equality in the Soviet Union: Reporting Eastern European Democratization in the United States," presented to the International Communication Association, Dublin, Ireland; John F. Cragan and Donald C. Shields (1977), "Foreign Policy Communication Dramas: How Mediated Rhetoric Played in Peoria in Campaign ‘76,". Quarterly Journal of Speech, 63, 274-289; John F. Cragan and Donald C. Shields (1980), "Communication in American politics: Symbols without Substance. USA Today: The Journal of the Society for the Advancement of Education, 108(2420), 60-62.

11 John Ashcroft (2004, July 20). Prepared Remarks of Attorney General John Ashcroft OCDETF Leadership Conference. Washington, DC.

12 Nancy V. Baker (2006). General Ashcroft: Attorney at War. Lawrence, KS: University of Kansas Press.

13 Margaret Talev and Marisa Taylor (2007, March 10). “Rove was asked to fire U.S. attorney,” McClatchey Newspapers, Washington Bureau; William Yardley (2007, March 21). “Gonzales bowed to politics, a former U.S. Attorney says,” The NY Times.

14 Ruth B. Mandel and Katherine E. Kleeman (2002). Political Generation Next: America’s Young Elected Leaders. Rutgers University. See, Q.-29, p. 41

15 Chi-square value of 240.98 at 2df. Significant difference beyond the .0001 level. Computed using Khristopher J. Preacher (2001, April). "Calculation for the chi-square test: An interactive calculation tool for chi-square tests of goodness of fit and independence" [Computer software]. Calculator also available here.

16 Richard L. Clark (2006, July). Opinions in County Government: A National Survey of County Elected Officials, 2006. Sponsored by the National Center for the Study of Counties (NCSC) and the Carl Vinson Institute of Government, University of Georgia, p.10-11.

Figure 1.

DOJ's U.S. Attorneys (Jan 1, 2001 thru Sept 16, 2007)

Elected Officials and Candidates N Democrat Republican Independent or Other Ratio of Democrats to each Republican
All officials
Federal & statewide officials
Local (non-federal & non-statewide)

Table 2.  Stability of the Results over Time

Date of Interim Analysis N Democrats Republicans Independent/Other
8/31/2004 229 189
037 (16.16%) 003
1/31/2005 309 236
044 (14.24%) 004
12/31/2006 375 298
067 (17.87%) 010
12/31/2006 Replication 321 239
050 (15.58%) 032
12/31/2006 Original plus Replication 696 534
New, 1/1/2007  thru 9/16/07 124 097
Total 1/20/2001 thru 9/16/200 820 631

* Based on population of elected officials as 500,000 nationwide using American Research Group, Inc.’s web-based calculator.

Table 3. Non-Federal Investigations (State AGs and County/City PA/DAs) of Elected Officials 2001 thru September 16, 2007

Total Non-Fed Investigations: 251
125 D
103 R
23 I/O (9.20%)
Fed/Statewide: 33
  17 D
  15 R
  1 I/O (3.03%)
Local: 217 108 D
  87 R
22 I/O (10.14%)
Baseline for Comparison    

Table 4. Investigations and/or Indictments of County Commissioners by U.S. Attorneys (Jan 1, 2001 thru Sept 16, 2007)

Elected County Commissioners & Candidates N Democrat Republican Ind./Other Ratio of Democrats to each Republican
Observed Frequency
(  6.38%)
Expected Frequency

Chi-square = 32.136 at 2df

Table 5.  U.S. Attorney Investigations and/or Indictments in Ashcroft versus Gonzales Years

  N Dems Repubs Indep/Other Dems/Repub
All Ashcroft's Term, - 2/2/05 456 368
All Gonzales' Term - 9/16/07 364 263
Total - 9/16/07 820 631
Ashcroft Fed/Statewide 070 048
Gonzales Fed/Statewide 062 035
Total Fed/Stwide 132 083
Ashcroft Local 386 320
Gonzales Local 302 228
Total Local 688 548

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About the Author: Dr. Donald C. Shields (Ph.D., University of Minnesota, 1974) is Professor Emeritus, Department of Communication, University of Missouri – St. Louis and Lecturer, Department of Communication Studies, University of Missouri – Kansas City. Those professional news journalists or members of Congress wishing to see the complete Table of 820 investigations may email the author.

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