Former Brooklyn D.A. charged with misuse of funds

Critics of asset forfeiture have warned for years that it not only warps the priorities and incentives of law enforcement agencies, but creates a slush fund ripe for abuse by sidestepping the appropriations process. Now investigators accuse longterm Brooklyn D.A. Charles Hynes of using forfeiture funds to pay more than $200,000 to a P.R. consultant whose labors were largely devoted to advancing Hynes’s campaign. The consultant’s firm was paid more than $1 million over a decade. [New York Times]


  • That’s Hynes’s _unsuccessful_ reelection campaign. What are the chances this would have come to light if he was still in office?

  • From reader John B.: “I am fascinated to learn (from skimming the linked DOI report) that the investigation was triggered by tips from unnamed ‘governmental entities.’ Which governmental entities, with which political allegiances? Perhaps allegiances that shifted in light of the results of the election conducted last November which, coincidentally or otherwise, was the same month the anonymous tips are said to have been made? Are ‘governmental entities’ now treated as whistleblowers who require anonymity lest they be retaliated against? Although perhaps the more interesting question is not so much who was willing to drop a dime on Hynes once he was safely dethroned, but who on the public payroll previously knew about the alleged misconduct but kept mum until it became clearer whether or not Hynes would remain in power. Is the moral of the story ‘if you’re going to use public resources for your re-election campaign, you’d better make sure you succeed in getting re-elected?'”