There have been a lot of prominent public officials prosecuted in recent years. Here on the 13th Floor, we often have internal debates about whether this signals a spike in the level of corruption, or evidence of more zealous prosecution.

Certainly Republicans in Kentucky are fond of complaining that Governor Ernie Fletcher's legal troubles (last item) were rooted in partisanship on the part of the Democratic attorney general.

Lately, the arguments have been running the other way, with Democrats arguing that the still-unfolding U.S. attorney purge scandal is rooted in the White House's desire to use prosecutors for partisan ends.

Blogger Andrew Sullivan points to a recent study that, he says, at least suggests there is something to the complaints that this administration is willing to use the law to punish its political enemies in local government:

From 2001 through 2006 the Bush Justice Department investigated elected Democratic office holders and office seekers locally (non-state-wide and non federal offices) at a rate more than seven times greater (nearly 85% to 12 %) than they investigated local Republican elected office holders and seekers. This was so even though, throughout the nation, Democrat elected officials outnumber Republican elected officials at the rate of only 50% to 41%.