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In the closing days of the mayoral campaign, District Attorney Bonnie Dumanis sent an almost panicky email to a vast list of voters.
“We cannot afford to see Bob Filner push our city backwards into the dysfunction and divsion (sic) of the past,” she wrote, from the email address email@example.com.
This came after she had once again broken her pledge not to endorse candidates for office. It was a commitment she had made to ensure she and her employees would not be seen as “political pawns.”
Dumanis’ decision to get involved in the mayoral campaign did not come in isolation. In what will prove to be awkward should they feel the need to investigate Mayor Bob Filner, all three top local prosecutors pushed for his rival, Carl DeMaio, and failed to help him win. All had maintained they would not endorse.
City Attorney Jan Goldsmith, Dumanis and U.S. Attorney Laura Duffy threw out their supposed commitments to stay nonpolitical and threw in for DeMaio. And DeMaio’s loss now puts their political agendas in stark relief as they go about maintaining public integrity.
There’s a reason these folks should be, and are, reluctant to endorse candidates. There’s a reason why Dumanis made a special point of announcing, years ago, that she wouldn’t do it.
They are the public’s bulwark against corruption. We have to be able to trust them to, with clear eyes, use their substantial powers to investigate and prosecute political leaders wisely. As we’ve seen, the U.S. attorney or DA has the ability to destroy lives and careers with their crusades.
You’d think that they would want to protect their image and integrity for when they need to use it to make a case.
Public integrity protectors need to be strong and objective, not panicky politicians. Unfortunately, if any one of these folks has to look into anything Filner has done, the first thing anyone will point out is that they never wanted him to be mayor in the first place.
And that will be true.
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