Courtesy of RazingKaine:
Effective immediately, I am herewith resigning my membership in and all support for your committees, for reasons made clear below.
Prince William Commonwealth’s Attorney Paul Ebert’s decision to announce today, three weeks before an election, his plans to appoint a special prosecutor (Potomac News online 10/12/07: “Legality of Stewart mailer questioned”) to look into a mailer sent to county citizens by Chairman Corey A. Stewart is - there is no other way to say it - political thuggery at the worst level I have ever seen in our county .
I have lived in this county for nearly three decades. During all that time I have watched Mr. Ebert time and again construct and maintain a firewall between the political arena and our judicial system. During those many years, Mr. Ebert has protected our judicial system when clearly politically motivated “campaign complaints” have come to his office by competing campaigns. I have always agreed with him, and sometimes it has not been easy to do so, that no matter how outrageous the alledged campaign offense may be, he could not and would not allow the judicial system to be compromised by political motivations, especially in close proximity to an election. If he has erred in the past, it has always been on the side of keeping politics out of the judicial system. Until now. His announced decision represents a 180 degree reversal of his long standing practice. As such it is a dark and ugly stain on an otherwise distinguished career in public service.
Why would Mr. Ebert violate his own decades old policy? The only possible explanation is political motivation. Mr. Ebert is a long standing, senior member of the Democratic Party. He has been a major campaign contributor to Corey Stewart’s opponent, Sharon Pandak, in both last year’s special election and in this year’s general election. It is these reasons, no doubt Mr. Ebert will assert, prompted him to appoint an outside investigator rather than have his own office do the work, and he is right to remove himself and his office from the complaint. But, Mr. Ebert also knows that the mere announcement of an official investigation, three weeks before an election, is designed to have, and may have the effect of politically damaging the object of the investigation. This is clear and obvious abuse of process for political purposes. Every arm of the The Democratic Party should be outraged by Mr. Ebert’s conduct.
If Mr. Ebert were to serve justice, he would have accepted the complaint, had it sealed immediately, and he would have waited until after the election to make any public statement whatsoever regarding the complaint. That is what consistency with his long standing practices would have demanded. But, it seems clear Mr. Ebert’s interests were somewhere other than in serving justice.
Mr. Stewart has said that he will ask federal prosecutors to look into whether Mr. Ebert’s actions are lawful. He should. He should also ask the Virginia Attorney General to do the same. There needs to be an examination for possible violation of laws or rules preventing this sort of conduct from public prosecutors. Further, Mr. Ebert should be brought before the Virginia Bar Association to have his conduct examined, to determine which rules of professional conduct he may have violated, and to determine if he should be allowed to continue to keep his license to practice law in the Commonwealth of Virginia.
Mr. Ebert has said he made the decision because “It doesn’t smell good”, (of Mr. Stewart’s mailer). If that is true then the timing of Mr. Ebert’s public announcement reeks most foul. I cannot see how his announcement can be viewed as anything other than an improper, intentional abuse of our judicial process motivated to improperly influence the outcome of a lawful election.
Nor, it must be said, are Sharon Pandak’s hands clean on this matter. During a candidates forum, on the day of the mailer complaint, it was obvious to me that Sharon Pandak and Woodbridge Supervisor Hilda Barg, were acting in concert. (Apparently Ms. Barg was the complaintant.) If Ms. Pandak is so desparate to win an election that she will collude with Ms. Barg in getting her good friend and supporter Paul Ebert to overturn his own policy in the Commonwealth’s Attorney office, to make a carefully timed announcement intended to damage her political opponent, then none of them are fit for public service of any sort. How can anyone trust such a candidate?
As to my continued membership in the Prince William County Democratic committee structure, I cannot allow my name to be associated with any organization that either condones or promulgates such fundamentally unethical and, at its core, unAmerican conduct, or whose most senior representatives or candidates engage in such activities. Unfortunately, the conduct of these three individuals all too accurately reflects the prevailing culture inside the Prince William County Democratic committee structure these days, and I will not be a part of it. Shame on Paul Ebert, Sharon Pandak, and Hilda Barg for compromising the integrity of our judicial system and for fouling the honor of our political arena in Prince William County.
Gary C. Friedman
October 12, 2007
This is someone who previously ran for county office as a Democrat, but who has been working closely with Chairman Corey Stewart. Partisan politics? Perhaps, but I’d like to see someone address the issues Gary brings up in this letter.
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