Wednesday, August 12, 2009

When the justice system is used to promote political careers

When political operatives decide who gets prosecuted, what do we have? We have a government that is deeply corrupt, with no checks and balances.

In 2006 New Mexico Sen. Pete Domenici, a Republican, wanted Rep. Heather Wilson to be reelected. He figured it would be helpful if the US Attorney prosecuted some Democrats, but US Attorney David Iglesias said there wasn't enough evidence to pursue the voter fraud prosecutions desired by Domenici and Wilson. Domenici sent word to Karl Rove through Rove aid Scott Jennings.

Rove got the job done. A total of eight US Attorneys were fired, including San Diego's Carole Lam.

Karl Rove, Bush Officials Deeper in U.S. Attorney Firings Than They Admitted
August 12, 2009
By Robert Schlesinger
US News and World Report

So Karl Rove and the White House staff were more deeply involved with the infamous firings of federal prosecutors than they had previously acknowledged. Quel supris. I did get a nice chuckle from the New York Times story on the matter, though, where Rove's attorney is quoted as saying that there was "absolutely no evidence" that Bush's Brain and company did anything improper. That assertion is belied by the White House staff's actions and by logic.

The Times notes an internal White House E-mail noting plans to deny that New Mexico prosecutor David Iglesias had been fired because of Republican irritation over his pursuit of voter fraud cases and also to deny that any member of Congress had contacted the Justice Department to make such complaints. Both statements were flatly untrue. So if the Bush folk weren't doing anything wrong, why lie about it? (I suppose one answer is: They were talking to the public, they didn't know any better.)

Rove involvement in US attorney firing detailed

WASHINGTON (AP) - Former White House political adviser Karl Rove played a central role in the ouster of a U.S. attorney in New Mexico, one of nine prosecutors fired in a scandal in 2006 over political interference with the Justice Department, according to transcripts of closed-door testimony released Tuesday. Harriet Miers, then White House counsel, said in testimony June 15 to House Judiciary Committee investigators that Rove was "very agitated" over U.S. Attorney David Iglesias "and wanted something done about it."

Testimony puts Rove at center of Justice firings


WASHINGTON – The U.S. attorney in Albuquerque, N.M., didn't see enough evidence when asked to prosecute some voter fraud cases in his state.

In Washington, however, then-White House political adviser Karl Rove was getting a different message and acting on it.

Transcripts of closed-door congressional testimony indicate that Rove played a central role in the ouster of David Iglesias, who was one of nine federal prosecutors fired in a series of politically tinged dismissals in 2006.

Harriet Miers, then White House counsel, said in testimony June 15 to House Judiciary Committee investigators that Rove was "very agitated" over Iglesias "and wanted something done about it."

The committee released more than 5,400 pages of White House and Republican National Committee e-mails, along with transcripts of closed-door testimony by Miers and Rove. Committee Chairman John Conyers, D-Mich., said the documents reveal that White House political officials were deeply involved in the firing of Iglesias and the other U.S. attorneys.

The documents show that staffers in Rove's office were actively seeking to have Iglesias removed after Republican figures in New Mexico complained that he was not pursuing voter fraud cases they wanted. In 2005, Rove aide Scott Jennings sent an e-mail to another Rove aide saying, "I would really like to move forward with getting rid of NM US ATTY."

Miers testified that Rove relayed to her complaints about Iglesias from political figures in New Mexico but added that she could not recall whether Rove told her specifically that the prosecutor should be fired.

"My best recollection is that he was very agitated about the U.S. attorney in New Mexico," Miers testified. "It was clear to me that he felt like he had a serious problem."...

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