That US Attorneys Thing

David C. Iglesias wrote an article for the New York Times explaining his view of his firing.

Now we all know that the President can fire US attorneys for no reason. They serve “at the pleasure” of the President and none of us would be asking questions if they fired people for poor performance or just fired everybody in a house cleaning. I heard that Clinton did the latter at one point.

The question is: are we comfortable with the President firing people because they did not serve his political interests? Do we want US attorneys to apply their work with a bias towards the party in the White House?

From the article:

…I received a call from Senator Domenici at my home. The senator wanted to know whether I was going to file corruption charges — the cases Ms. Wilson had been asking about — before November. When I told him that I didn’t think so, he said, “I am very sorry to hear that,” and the line went dead.

A few weeks after those phone calls, my name was added to a list of United States attorneys who would be asked to resign — even though I had excellent office evaluations, the biggest political corruption prosecutions in New Mexico history, a record number of overall prosecutions and a 95 percent conviction rate. (In one of the documents released this week, I was deemed a “diverse up and comer” in 2004. Two years later I was asked to resign with no reasons given.)

When some of my fired colleagues…and I testified before Congress on March 6, a disturbing pattern began to emerge. Not only had we not been insulated from politics, we had apparently been singled out for political reasons. (Among the Justice Department’s released documents is one describing the office of Senator Domenici as being “happy as a clam” that I was fired.)

Domenici is, apparently, a scumbag who was pissed off that the US attorney did not help them win elections.

Does that piss you off? It pisses me off. It also pisses off my lawyer friend, Mark, who had this to say:

The most disturbing
reason given for termination was a refusal to investigate and/or indict the administration’s political rivals prior to the last congressional election. The investigations and/or indictments at issue were not pursued because the US attorneys who were assigned to the cases did not believe there were grounds to proceed based on their review of the law and evidence. There were attempts made to pressure at least one of these US Attorneys into bringing what amounted to a groundless indictment, purely for political gain. Such action amounts to an abuse of police power and an attempt to mount a malicious prosecution. This action is unethical and dangerous to our representative form of government. US Attorneys, as prosecutors, are
supposed to operate independently of political influence. Their job is to determine whether a particular case warrants prosecution based on the laws of the United States and the evidence available. When the results of the “prosecutorial decision making process” are influenced or dictated by the political party in power, it results in a “police state”.

The Republicans, of course, are trying to claim this is all political theater even though the President himself admits “mistakes were made”. If you think concern for the justice system is “political theater”, you are a fucktard.

That US Attorneys Thing

5 thoughts on “That US Attorneys Thing

  1. bsherwood says:

    agreed. however if we measure accusations against accusations (clinton vs bush) is there really a comparrison? again I agree that wrong is wrong…but magnitude of wrongness?

    I think the Libby issue is bigger than we understand. I think he is the patsy. I think the “outing of the cia agent” goes to the oval office (not bush but rove for sure and most likely cheney)

    as for turning over rocks being a bad idea?
    that is what the party, who’s rocks are being turned over, always says.

    When you are elected president (on your blog) let me pitch my idea of the perfect partyless congress and how it would work to do away with campaign finance issues, lobbyists, fraud, etc…..

    it is simple, cost effective, and will be far more efficient than this current system. I believe what we have right now is loosely related to what the founding fathers anticipated.

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  2. micadelic says:

    Bush will pardon Libby and the right will applaud him for doing so. I am a little more skeptical on this prosecution of Libby that I am over the US Attorney’s flap, the allegations seem more serious that what I understand the Libby matter to be about.

    My point, both sides are consuming too much of the taxpayers money trying to find scandals than doing the business of the country. If you turn over enough rocks, your going to find some slime. And if both sides just spend all day turning over rocks, I don’t see how that serves the people.

    I am not saying that illegalities should go unnoticed and unpunished, not saying that at all, but at some point it becomes like a football game. There’s holding on every play by both teams. If the refs called every single one, and in fact, only looked for it on every play, nothing would get done, the ball would not be advanced, and people would become disinterested in the game.

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  3. bsherwood says:

    This weeks Newsweek has a good article on this issue. If what that article says is true,it is a bit more than an “allegation from someone who was fired”…

    It will be interesting to see if this turns out the same way the Whitewater investigation turned out.

    I would guess Bush will pardon Libby and I am anxious to hear the right condemn that action the same way they blasted Clinton for his last minute Pardons….

    I agree that no matter which side does this crap “wrong is wrong”. True Statesmen (which are few) would stand up and condemn actions no matter which side of the aisle was responsible.

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  4. micadelic says:

    I’m not going to be an apologist for the administration on this. If the above description is true (and let’s all remember, this is an allegation made by someone who was fired from their job), then it’s not the way the US Attorneys office should be run. It’s flat out wrong.

    Also, two wrongs don’t make a right but just let me say it is also alleged that the reason Clinton fired all 93, was because he wanted to get rid of a couple who were investigating him for the Whitewater land deal and Hillary’s amazing success in the stock market (if I remember correctly) among other things.

    My point is, this type of stuff has gone on in administration after administration, by both parties. We now live in a time through where it seems that the purpose of the legislature, while in session, is to not do the business of the people, but to destroy the other side. Our taxpayer dollars are being used right now in hearing after hearing, investigation after investigation, and it’s bad for the country. It was bad when the right did it in the Clinton years, and it’s bad now that the left is doing it. We are going to have almost 2 more years of nothing but allegations, scandal chasing, hearings, etc. Meanwhile the health care crisis still goes on, Social Security needs to be addressed, we have gathering threats in Russia and China, and we’ve got our collective undies in a bunch over whether or not 8 attorneys were fired for political reasons. Which, in my estimation, is pretty much politics as usual in DC.

    If you think one side in this debate is lily-white and the other is the very fount of evil, I’ve got a problem with that.

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  5. bsherwood says:

    It pisses me off. I fear this will become an issue that is to complicated for john q public to understand and it will fly under the public radar.

    The more I learn of the dealings of this administration the more I realize the importance of a balance of power. Would we even be hearing the things we are now hearing if the democrats would not have won the seats?

    I consider myself a bit of a political junkie. I read, I watch, I seek out information, but lately I am just disconnecting because there seems to be so much “wrong” happening and no real way correct it.

    I was up on the North Shore last week and saw many many “Wellstone” signs…things like
    “where is paul wellstone?”
    ” Paul we need you!”
    “WWPWD?” what would paul wellstone do?

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