PITTSBURGH, Pa.—Mary Beth Buchanan, the former U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Pennsylvania, who in 2003 filed obscenity charges against Extreme Associates—the first such federal obscenity case in more than a decade—has lost the Republican primary to represent Pennsylvania's Fourth Congressional District in Washington to her challenger, Keith Rothfus.
Sadly, it's unlikely that Rothfus will be a much better choice, since his platform positions have included "limited government, lower taxes, job creation in the private sector [and] repealing the health care reform bill." He will face incumbent Democratic U.S. Rep. Jason Altmire in November.
Buchanan's career has been a study in anti-free speech activism. Her office also filed charges against blogger Karen Fletcher for having posted obscene stories on her subscription-only website—a site which, at its peak, had 29 subscribers—and also prosecuted comedian/musician Tommy Chong for selling blown-glass bongs over the internet. Both Fletcher and Extreme (and its principals Rob Black and Lizzy Borden) pleaded guilty to the charges, while Chong was convicted in federal court.
Buchanan also distinguished herself with the repeated prosecutions of Allegheny County Coroner Dr. Cyril Wecht, a situation which Reason magazine reporter Radley Balko described as "so reeking in political opportunism that former Bush 41 Attorney General [and former Pennsylvania governor] Dick Thornburgh agreed to represent Wecht, and has since publicly accused Buchanan of using her office for baseless, partisan prosecutions of Democrats."
Balko also "credits" Buchanan for her prosecution of Dr. Bernard Rottschaefer, who was convicted on charges of allegedly providing Oxycontin prescriptions to patients in return for sex. However, although all five witnesses against Rottschaefer have since recanted their testimony, with the primary perjurer having conceded in letters to her boyfriend that she lied about the alleged incident, Buchanan resisted all efforts to reopen the case.
Buchanan also showed her true colors as a "loyal Bushie" when, in June of 2004, she was appointed director of the Executive Office for United States Attorneys at the Department of Justice, where she provided administrative support to the 94 United States Attorneys' offices across the country, and also served as a liaison between the U.S. Attorneys (USAs) and other federal agencies and Department of Justice components. She has been accused of providing a list of names to Attorney General Alberto Gonzales' assistant Kyle Sampson as to which U.S. attorneys to fire in the White House-order 2006 USA purge.
More recently, during the campaign leading up to Tuesday's primary, Buchanan had accused Rothfus of having voted as a Democrat for 13 years beginning in 1990, but the charge might very well have been bogus. Apparently, when the county elections department switched computer systems in 2003, it automatically assigned each voter a history of voting in a particular party depending on which party he/she was a member of in the previous election—and Rothfus said he switched to Democrat in the 2002 primary to vote against former Philadelphia District attorney Ed Rendell in favor of the anti-abortion rights candidate Bob Casey because Rothfus felt that Casey was the weaker candidate.
Buchanan also claimed that Rothfus "has been bashing me and my family for weeks, and that hypocrisy cannot continue," but an investigation by the Beaver County Conservative Examiner failed to find any negative comments from Rothfus about Buchanan or her family.
So long, Mary Beth—and don't let the door hit you in the ass on your way out!