Later On

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

Progress of the purge & politicization of prosecutors

leave a comment »

The Carpetbagger brings us up to date:

The more we learn about the Bush administration’s prosecutor purge, the more disconcerting it looks. Bud Cummins’ dismissal was suspicious in Arkansas, Carol Lam’s removal was odd in San Diego, and now we’re learning more about John McKay’s dismissal in Seattle.

Former U.S. Attorney John McKay told The Associated Press on Wednesday that his resignation this month was ordered by the Bush administration, which gave him no explanation for the firing.

“I was ordered to resign as U.S. attorney on Dec. 7 by the Justice Department,” McKay, who had led the department’s Western Washington office, said in a telephone interview from Washington, D.C. “I was given no explanation. I certainly was told of no performance issues.”

His comments came one day after Deputy Attorney General Paul McNulty acknowledged to the Senate Judiciary Committee that the Justice Department has fired seven U.S. attorneys in the West since March, for reasons he would not divulge. The dismissals have been heavily criticized by Democratic lawmakers.

“John McKay has worked diligently for our region and it is deeply disconcerting that he could have been let go for political reasons,” said Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash. “Congress and the American people have no tolerance for the politicization of the U.S. attorney’s office.”

Moreover, it appears that Bush gang isn’t just politicizing federal prosecutors’ offices, it’s also politicizing their actual prosecutions.

Paul Kiel noted yesterday that

a new study highlighted the partisan cloud hanging over the administration’s federal investigations.

A study of reported federal investigations of elected officials and candidates shows that the Bush administration’s Justice Department pursues Democrats far more than Republicans. 79 percent of elected officials and candidates who’ve faced a federal investigation (a total of 379) between 2001 and 2006 were Democrats, the study found — only 18 percent were Republicans. During that period, Democrats made up 50 percent of elected officeholders and office seekers during the time period, and 41 percent were Republicans during that period, according to the study.

“The chance of such a heavy Democratic-Republican imbalance occurring at random is 1 in 10,000,” according to the study’s authors.

The vast disparity came not from the more high-profile investigations of state-wide or federal officeholders (the disparity there was 55-44 Democratic), but from the far more numerous investigations of local officials. The study found that 85 percent of the 309 local officials and candidates who faced investigation were Democrats.

Go ahead, Alberto Gonzales, argue that this is just some kind of random coincidence. Let’s see who believes that.

For what it’s worth, yesterday, Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) made it clear he’s not letting go of this controversy, and today we learn that House Dems are just as interested.

Democrats have signaled they aren’t dropping the controversy over what they describe as the Bush administration’s “firing” of federal prosecutors.

Rep. Rahm Emanuel of Illinois, chairman of the House Democratic Caucus, yesterday sent a letter to Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, demanding that he appoint the recently fired U.S. Attorney in San Diego as a special counsel so that she can continue overseeing a congressional corruption probe.

Carol Lam, appointed in 2002 as San Diego U.S. Attorney, was among at least seven U.S. attorneys recently dismissed by the Justice Department. Ms. Lam supervised the investigation and prosecution of Republican Rep. Randy “Duke” Cunningham, now in federal prison for soliciting bribes. That case led to related investigations, including inquiries into a businessman who also had dealings with Rep. Jerry Lewis, the California Republican who until recently was chairman of the House Appropriations Committee, and into Kyle “Dusty” Foggo, the former third-ranking official at the Central Intelligence Agency. Both individuals deny any wrongdoing.

Written by Leisureguy

8 February 2007 at 8:21 am

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: