Later On

A blog written for those whose interests more or less match mine.

More on the purge of Federal prosecuters

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The Washington Post reports on the administration’s purge of federal prosecutors this morning and finds that the call for the move came, shockingly, from outside the Justice Department:

One administration official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity in discussing personnel issues, said the spate of firings was the result of “pressure from people who make personnel decisions outside of Justice who wanted to make some things happen in these places.”

In other words, the pressure to replace the prosecutors did not come from the people who would know about the U.S. Attorneys’ job performance (their supervisors at the Justice Department), but rather from power players in the White House or Republican Party. That would explain why the seven federal prosecutors purged in December were not given a reason for their dismissals — and why justifications for the firings have sounded like lame rationalizations.

This fits, of course, with McClatchy’s finding last week that the Bush administration, in a break with the practice of prior administrations, has been placing conservative loyalists in U.S. Attorney spots across the country. Instead of nominating local, qualified attorneys whose philosophy jibes with the administration (as was the traditional practice), the nomination of U.S. Attorneys has been subsumed into the Republican Party’s political machine. Apparently the title of U.S. Attorney is just too attractive a resumé-fattener to dole out helter-skelter. And while you’re fattening the resumés of possible future stars of the party, it can’t hurt to knock out a prosecutor who was doing considerable damage to the party.

Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) will be holding a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on the issue Tuesday called, “Preserving Prosecutorial Independence: Is the Department of Justice Politicizing the Hiring and Firing of U.S. Attorneys?” Let’s see if he comes up with an answer.

Written by Leisureguy

4 February 2007 at 1:03 pm

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