[Crossposted from American Renaissance, where you can comment]
Letitia James is the attorney general of New York, which means she is the state’s top law-enforcement officer. However, she has spent the last 22 years almost constantly running for office: seven times for city council of New York, five times for public advocate, and three times for New York attorney general. Last year, she was briefly a candidate for governor of New York and in 2021, she considered running for mayor of New York City.
|Letitia James as a city councilwoman, 2008. Credit: Thomas Good, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons|
In other words, Letitia James is a professional Democrat politician—a hard-Left Democrat—always with an eye on the next and bigger job. Is it permissible to wonder whether she enforces the law impartially? She ran for office on the promise that she would sue both the National Rifle Association and Donald Trump. And she did.
In 2020, she charged the NRA with “years of illegal self-dealing” that paid for a “lavish lifestyle” for its executives, adding, “which is why, today, we seek to dissolve the NRA.” Last September, she charged Donald Trump and his family with enriching themselves through “numerous acts of fraud and misrepresentations.” She clearly has a keen nose for highflying swindlers—at least if they are political enemies.
Miss James has a new enemy: the immigration-control website VDARE.com. Once again, she has sniffed out what she claims could be fraudulent self-enrichment. She thinks Peter and Lydia Brimelow, who run the VDARE Foundation, may have bought a historic property for their own use while claiming it was for charitable purposes. Both the Brimelows and the lawyers who managed the transaction are adamant that the purchase of the property and its subsequent use have been entirely legal and proper.
Miss James isn’t quite sure herself. In order to find out, she has issued subpoenas demanding millions of pages of documents, including the names of vendors, writers, and volunteers, most of whom are anonymous. This has led to burdensome document production, motions to restrict Miss James’s demands, and unfortunate judicial rulings that mean VDARE is now fighting for its life, not just in state but in federal court.
If VDARE has done anything wrong, it would be a violation of the law that governs New York non-profits. Imagine the Brimelows’ surprise when their subpoenas were served in the name of Rick Sawyer, who works for Letitia James as “special counsel for hate crimes.” Yes, hate crimes.
Most of his cases are like this one, in which he charges a man with “multiple armed threats, including death threats using derogatory racist language.” Assigning this man to the VDARE case certainly suggests that this is not a case about possible financial impropriety but about wearing down and destroying a group that Miss James doesn’t like.
|Letitia James in 2019. Credit: DVSROSS, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons|
To all appearances, this suit is an attempt to use the law for political, anti-free-speech purposes. In 1985, a judge named Solomon Wachtler complained that prosecutors have so much power they could “by and large” get a grand jury to “indict a ham sandwich.” That was nearly 40 years ago.