Meet Preet Bharara, the U.S. prosecutor who last week indicted anti-Obama filmmaker Dinesh D'Souza on campaign finance charges. Mr. Bharara is the snapping jaws of Attorney General Eric H. Holder's junkyard attack dog and the velvet fixer of President Obama's thorniest political problems.
Mr. D'Souza very well may be guilty of a few winks and nods that wound up violating limits on campaign contributions he was allowed to make to a friend running a long-shot campaign for the Senate. But it does seem rather odd to handcuff a guy and set $500,000 bail for a crime that in the past has been pleaded out as a misdemeanor.
And how exactly is it that one of the few movie directors in all the land not euphorically supportive of President Obama is the one who wound up having his campaign contributions scrutinized by the feds? Has the Department of Justice already combed through the $160 million Hollywood dumped into political campaigns in the past six years — the vast, vast majority of which goes to Mr. Obama and his Democrats? And the first hit just happens to be the one conservative in the whole bunch?
"Routine review," Mr. Bharara told reporters.
Yeah right. You mean the "routine review" of conservative filmmakers whose scathing anti-Obama documentaries have titles that begin with the letter "O" and end in the year "2016."
Can you imagine how the President's private phone lines would light up if the feds got caught poking through campaign donations of Harvey Weinstein? Or Stephen Spielberg? Or Jeffrey Katzenberg?
Of course not. Because it would never get that far.
Mr. Bharara learned at the feet of the very best. He is the political protege of Senate Democrats' top enforcer, Sen. Charles E. Schumer of New York. The baldly political and brass-knuckled Mr. Schumer set Mr. Bharara on the very course that has led him to where he is now as U.S. attorney for the Southern District of that state and one of the most visible prosecutors in the country. Endlessly portrayed in the press as a modern day Eliot Ness, Mr. Bharara is always ready to swing the ax for the administration.
Last fall, when Democrats were gearing up to undo the supposedly draconian "sequester" cuts that nobody in America actually felt, it was Mr. Bharara who took to the mat to explain that while federal prosecutors were surviving at the moment, things were about to get ugly. Soon, he said, criminals "are going to get away."
"People should be worried," he warned ominously.
Last month, after an international incident exploded over the strip-searching of an Indian diplomat, it was Mr. Bharara who stepped forward to quell the outcry and stand up for strip-searching female diplomats.
"It is true that she was fully searched by a female Deputy Marshal — in a private setting — when she was brought into the U.S. Marshals' custody," Mr. Bharara explained in a three-page statement. "But this is standard practice for every defendant, rich or poor, American or not, in order to make sure that no prisoner keeps anything on his person that could harm anyone, including himself."
Then there was humiliating black eye Russia delivered President Obama by granting asylum to NSA leaker Edward Snowden. Four months later, Mr. Bharara was on the scene, charging 49 Russian diplomats with defrauding the U.S. Medicaid system.
"Diplomacy should be about extending hands, not picking pockets in the host country," he said with the guile of the most experienced Soviet Politburo apparatchik. "The scam exploited a weakness in the Medicaid system, and the charges expose shameful and systemic corruption among Russian diplomats in New York."
Even the Russians seemed to admire the brazenness of Mr. Bharara's retribution.
Perhaps these are all just coincidences. a Schumer protege often mentioned as a potential Holder successor just always happens to be in the right place at the right time to deliver his powerful position to rain misery on the administration's enemies or provide them shelter.
Certainly, Mr. D'Souza very well may be guilty. Same with the Russian diplomats. And perhaps the Indian attache really needed to be strip-searched.
But a filmmaker skirting campaign donation limits does not tear at the fabric of this nation of laws. Russians cheating our welfare system is not a constitutional crisis.
A constitutional crisis that tears the fabric of this nation of laws is a federal prosecutor who uses his office to advance political vendettas. Sadly, it is all too believable given Mr. Obama's utter disregard for the constitution and his administration's willingness to use any lever of government power to intimidate, harass and persecute political enemies.
• Charles Hurt can be reached at email@example.com and @charleshurt on Twitter.