Jeff Novitzky is a special agent for the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. His specialty has been prosecuting professional athletes for use of performance-enhancing drugs. In the July 2 New York Times columnist Jonathan Mahler argues that Mr. Novitzky is wasting vast quantities of taxpayer money. Note especially the second paragraph in the quotation below.
“But a lot has changed since then. Most notably, we’ve lived through two endless wars and our nation’s worst financial crisis since the Great Depression. Now here we are, well into the second year of the Armstrong investigation, and we are still waiting for criminal charges to be brought against top executives at many of the firms that left our economy in tatters.
(As it happens, the United States Attorney’s Office in Los Angeles, Novitzky’s partner on the Armstrong investigation, reportedly dropped its case against the former head of Countrywide Financial, Angelo R. Mozilo, who was suspected of dumping $140 million in Countrywide stock when he knew the firm was faltering.)
For his part, Novitzky is starting to look more and more like Ken Starr, circa 1998, myopically pursuing a case whose relevance diminishes with each new news cycle.”
Just to make sure everyone got that, Novitzky is using resources from the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Los Angeles to prosecute Clemens and Armstrong. That same office recently dropped the prosecution of Angelo R. Mozilo, infamous for keeping the “friends of Angelo” list. People on that list, generally powerful members of Congress, got below-market mortgage interest rates and other favorable treatment. A notable friend is soon-to-be-former Senator Chris Dodd (D – Connecticut). Personally, I would add the Barry Bonds case to this list. But as far as I know Mr. Novitzky is not prosecuting Mr. Bonds.
Talk about misplaced priorities.