The case of Bill and Nadia Davis Lockyer, two public servants who are married, is sad and sordid.
I won't go into the details -- Matier & Ross have them in the Chronicle -- but published reports suggest it may involve substance abuse, infidelity, and most significantly allegations of violence made by Bill and Nadia Lockyer against a man who was involved romantically with Nadia Lockyer.
I have no idea what the story is, and let's hope that it all goes away quickly.
But I do know that the state attorney general shouldn't be investigating this case.
For two reasons. First, Bill Lockyer, now the state treasurer and one of California's most respected public officials, is a former attorney general.
So it's his former office that is investigating his allegations that a romantic partner of his wife hurt his wife.
I'm sure there are employees of high integrity who can investigate their former boss, but as a matter of public perception, how credible would such an investigation be considered?
Why not leave it to the county district attorney, you ask?
Because Nadia Lockyer is an elected official, a member of the Alameda County board of supervisors, and Bill Lockyer is a longtime friend of the Alameda County district attorney. There's a conflict of interest there too.
This is what the feds are for. In a case with two prominent elected officials -- one local, one state -- the only way to have a credible, independent investigation -- one that will have public confidence -- is to ask a different level of government to step in. That should be federal prosecutors and agents with no ties to either Lockyer.
The Lockyers would be wise to ask for this very step, so that questions can't be raised about potential conflicts of interest.
Hopefully, a federal investigation will quickly ascertain the facts, and the people involved in this will be able to move on, and rebuild their lives and relationships. And the Lockyers can focus on their marriage and serving the public.