The number of cases and investigations by the Justice Department's Public Integrity Section dropped last year as the unit dealt with aftershocks from the bungled prosecution of former Alaska Sen. Ted Stevens, reports MainJustice.com. An annual report compiled for Congress said the section charged 36 people with corruption and related offenses last year, a 30 percent decrease from 2008, when the section charged 51 people. The section also charged 51 people in 2007.
The investigations pipeline also appeared to be narrower. At the end of 2008, the section recorded 174 pending investigations; a year later, the number of cases was 116. Last fall, the section lost its chief and his top deputy, both of whom are under investigation for their roles in the Stevens case, which was thrown out in April 2009 at the request of Attorney General Eric Holder. The vast majority of public corruption cases are handled by the U.S. Attorney offices. Combined, the 94 offices and the section brought public corruption charges against 1,082 people in 2009 – the fewest since 2001 – and won convictions against 1,061 people – fewer than in 2008 but more than in 2007.