As the Phil Pucket affair expanded beyond the Republicans and into the camps of Warner and McAulliffe, the will to investigate and prosecute seemed to evaporate. Despite the fact that the evidence in this case is much stronger on both sides than the evidence of quid-pro-quo presented against Bob McDonnell, nothing will happen here. Why? Well the RTD doesn’t shy away from the obvious reasoning: “Lawmakers often resign to pad their pensions by taking plush jobs at state agencies. McAuliffe himself has helped three of them do just that. The U.S. attorneys could hardly make a federal case out of one instance without raising questions about the others.” So, “we don’t want to prosecute everyone who could be implicated” is the rationale behind closing the case.
It is really that simple. If the expansive “Official Acts” jury instruction that applied to Bob McDonnell was used to determine criminality as to Mark Warner and Paul Reagan, there is no question that they committed crimes. However, it takes political will to pursue such prosecutions. For this Department of Justice, there is no will to go after Mark Warner and Paul Reagan – because they would have to prosecute all the other politicians who do similar things. I wonder why they didn’t apply this same rationale to the Bob McDonnell prosecution?