(Revised April 11, 2007)
No US government officials has more power than the 93 US Attorneys. Historically, they have been expected to be completely non-political i n the way they exercise their powers. It appears that all this has changed under the Bush administration. In early 2007, eight were removed and replaced in a way that prevented the Senate from questioning their replacements. A new provision of the of the amended Patriot Act was used in to make them imterim US Attorneys, who could serve indefinitely and whose appointments did not require Senate confirmation. All the facts about why they were removed will never be known as they are protected by Executive Privilege. What is known strongly suggests they were remoed because they did not abuse their powers form partisan purposes.
The most important person purged was Carol Lam of San Diego. She put Congressman Randy Cunningham in prison, and even worse, was following up on connections to his case, and was close to obtaining House documents on Representative Jerry Lewis, a Californian who had been appropriations chairman. Three days before she was removed, Lam had won an indictment of Brenk Wilkes, an important Republican contributor. She was also looking into a Washington D.C. operation that provided media people, Senators, Representatives, and government officials with the services of prostitutes. It was wondered if sexual blackmail was involved in Congressional votes. Most of the people receiving the favors were Republicans, but one Democratic Senator and two liberal pundits were also involved. At the time she was removed, her office announced that there had been a sealed indictment, which now will probably never see the light of day. It is likely that it dealt either/or with Lewis or Hookergate.
The removal of Thomas Di Biagio in Maryland was attributed to his looking into people connected with the Republican governor funneling money from gaming interest to promote legalized slot machines. Senator Peter Domenici pressed for the removal of David C. Iglesias because he had not sped up an investigation in time to damage New Mexico Democrats in the 2006 elections. In Washington State, John McKay had angered superiors because he could not prove that the Democrats had stolen the gubernatorial election of 2004. He said he found no evidence and was unwilling to drag innocent people in front of a grand jury. Paul Charlton of Arizona was removed while he was investigating very questionable land deals on the part of Republican Congressman Rick Renzi. In Arkansas, Karl Rove associate Timothy Griffin was appointed to replace a man with a good record.Griffin had been research director of the Republican National Coimmittee and in 2004 masterminded the “caging” of 70,000 would be voters. “Caging” means they were set up for very effective procedures for challenging their positions on voter registration lists. In most cases they would not know they had been removed until it was too late. They were mostly minority people—some students, some soldiers, and some in homeless shelters.
It developed that Karl Rove and Alberto Gonzales had discussed this purge even before Gonzales became Attorney General.However, Gonzales had said that he was not involved in the discussion of the removals. Kyle, Sampson, his former chief of staff, told the Senate Judiciary Committee that the Attorney General was very much involved in the process. However, Sampson added that he himself had no idea that any of those prosecutors were involved in versy sensitive political investigations. That seemed very implausible. But he admitted that he had suggested firing Patrick Fitzgerald, who was the special prosecutor in the Plame Case. No wonder Republicans on the committee wanted to shut down that hearing.
A study by professors Donald Shields and John Cragan showed that of 375 corruption cases handled by US attorneys under Bush to early 2007, 298 involved Democrats and 67 involved Republicans, and still another 10 were involving independents. These figures suggest what the administration expected from the ousted eight.
It has been recalled that U.S. Attorney Chris Christie on New Jersey opened an investigation of Senator Bob Menendez when he was in a close election contest, suggesting that the criminals he testified against at the risk of his life years ago were actually in league with him. It was also recalled that a career U.S. attorney in Guam was removed in 2002. He had been investigating Jack Abramoff’s activities there. That aspect of the Abramoff investigation ended.
Some Congressional Republicans were critical of Attorney General Alberto Gonzales because his department supplied changing and clearly contradictory explanations of what had happened. However, they fell in line in supporting George W. Bush's decision to hide the full truth by employing the Executive Privilege doctrine. Decades ago, Republicans--especially conservatives-- held themselves to the highest legal standards, but they have now made an exception for law-breaking in the service of partisanship.
"Who controls the past controls the future; who controls the present controls the past." Orwell-- The US is probably moving toward becoming a heavily controlled Rightist state. This blog is an effort to document how that happened.
Thursday, March 22, 2007
The Eight Ousted US Attorneys
- Sherman De Brosse
- Sherm spent seven years writing an analytical chronicle of what the Republicans have been up to since the 1970s. It discusses elements in the Republican coalition, their ideologies, strategies, informational and financial resources, and election shenanigans. Abuses of power by the Reagan and G. W. Bush administration and the Republican Congresses are detailed. The New Republican Coalition : Its Rise and Impact, The Seventies to Present (Publish America) can be acquired by calling 301-695-1707. On line, go to http://www.publishamerica.com/shopping. It can also be obtained through the on-line operations of Amazon and Barnes and Noble. Do not consider purchasing it if you are looking for something that mirrors the mainstream media!