This WSJ article--which relies on Debra Wong Yang and George Cardona as sources--suggests that the Jerry Lewis investigation has been stalled because of staffing shortages in the USA Office.
Overall, funding for the offices has grown well below the rate of inflation. As a result, "fewer cases were getting charged and bigger investigations were taking longer because there weren't enough prosecutors to do them," says Debra Yang, who stepped down in October 2006 as the U.S. attorney in Los Angeles.
In Los Angeles, a federal criminal investigation of Rep. Jerry Lewis, a California Republican, stalled for nearly six months due to a lack of funds, according to former prosecutors. The lead prosecutor on the inquiry and other lawyers departed the office, and vacancies couldn't be filled. George Cardona, the interim U.S. attorney in Los Angeles, declined to comment on specific cases but confirmed that lack of funds and unfilled vacancies caused delays in some investigations.
But the story the article actually tells is that the investigation got "stalled" because of the departure of existing prosecutors, not the slow hiring of new ones.
In 2006, Los Angeles federal prosecutors were in the middle of a wide-ranging investigation of Rep. Lewis of California, who until January was chairman of the powerful House Appropriations Committee. He remains its senior Republican. The investigation focused on earmarks, or special spending measures, that benefited clients of a now-defunct lobbying firm to which he had close ties.
People with knowledge of the case said that by the time the investigation stalled in December 2006, it had branched out into other areas, including Mr. Lewis's June 2003 role in passing legislation that helped giant hedge fund Cerberus Capital Management.
After the lead prosecutor in the Lewis case quit, others assigned to the case took time getting up to speed. Brian Hershman, a former deputy chief of the Los Angeles office's public corruption section, declined to comment on specific cases, but confirms that his group's work overall was derailed by the departure of experienced prosecutors. Like several others, he says he left for more money to support his family.
To jump-start the Lewis investigation, Mr. Cardona, the interim U.S. attorney, in June called on a veteran prosecutor, Michael Emmick, to revive and supervise the investigation, people with knowledge of the investigation say. [my emphasis]
Uh huh. Let's look at the timing. Yang leaves in October 2006. Cardona comes in in January, having been selected using a process that bypassed the Parsky Commission that normally selects California legal appointees. And then the investigation goes dead for six months. Finally, in June, Cardona appoints someone to take over the case. (It's not clear whether Cardona did this before or after his appointment was extended nine months in June, but I'd sure like to find out.)
That sure seems to be budget related to me.