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July 30, 2009

Comments

Two words:

Turd. Blossom.

tu quoque in 3...2...

Publius

In this sentence "Rove and the Bush DOJ fired U.S. Attorneys who refused to prosecute innocent people for partisan political advantage." you linked to a Slate article that does NOT say the fired US Attorneys refused to prosecute innocent people.

Were you trying to use the link as proof of that allegation? Where is the evidence to support your statement since it is not in the Slate article?

Publius

It is my understanding that sometimes, when a prosecutor brings a case against someone, the defendant is found by the jury to be innocent. That would imply that there are other times when prosecutors bring cases against innocent persons besides this one. I would go so far as to wager that at least once such an occurance happened during a democratic administration. In other words, a prosecutor for a democratic president brought a case against an innocent man.

Oh my. What a scandal.

I was shocked to learn that Karl Rove played a greater role than previously known in the U.S. Attorney firings.

Why? My immediate impression of the affair was that it clearly had Rove's slimy fingerprints all over it. Abusing government power to further political ends is a key part of Rove's MO.

Dave - the Slate article quotes the IG report noting tha tpolitical considerations played a role in his dismissal. What they're talking about is his refusal to bring an indictment against local Democrats. Check out his Wikipedia page, or other Google sources.

We have lots of good faith disagreemetns. But there's no plausible justification for this one.

That would imply that there are other times when prosecutors bring cases against innocent persons besides this one.

It would also imply that the prosecutor determined there was sufficient evidence of wrongdoing to bring a case before a judge and jury, who are the ultimate triers of fact. The idea that such decisions by prosecutors could be subject to political influence as implied by the manner of the removal of David Iglesias the U.S. Attorney for New Mexico, completely undermines public trust in the office of US attorney and the whole justice system.

Publius

Saying 'political considerations played a role in his dismissal' is alot different than 'Rove and the Bush DOJ fired U.S. Attorneys who refused to prosecute innocent people'.

The IG report says on page 53 'Iglesias testified that he believed he was removed as U.S. Attorney because he failed to respond to their desire to rush public corruption prosecutions.'

Not wanting to rush a prosecution is not the same as not wanting to prosecute because someone is innocent.


spartacvs

"The idea that such decisions by prosecutors could be subject to political influence as implied by the manner of the removal of David Iglesias the U.S. Attorney for New Mexico, completely undermines public trust in the office of US attorney and the whole justice system."

I agree. What I have been commenting on is Publius' claim that the subjects of the non-prosecution were innocent. I'd like to see support for this. If there had been a trial we would know if they were innocent or not. If prosecutors had taken evidence to a judge or grand jury and failed to get an indictment we would have a strong indication of innocence. As far as I can tell, the subjects of the non-prosecution might have been guilty, the prosecutor was refusing to pursue them on political grounds, and members of the administration stepped in to save the day.

All I'm saying is that Publius' references have not substantiated his point. He seems to be hoping that we'll go along with him because we accept his biases.

Publius

The Iglesias page in wikipedia says that Iglesias told the republican who was pressuring him to move faster that the indictment wouldn't be handed down until December. That is an indication that Iglesias, at the time, thought there was sufficient cause to prosecute. This undermines your claim that the person under investigation was innocent.

I'll continue looking into the 7 other firings.

From the SPokane Spokesman-Review


"The U.S. Inspector General may recommend criminal prosecution of departed Attorney General Alberto Gonzales at the conclusion of an investigation, possibly as early as next month, the fired former U.S. attorney for Western Washington told a Spokane audience Friday.

His refusal to open a federal criminal investigation into voter fraud allegations in Gov. Chris Gregoire’s razor-thin victory over Republican challenger Dino Rossi in 2004 may be the reason he was fired, John McKay told the Federal Bar Association."

Mckay was told to bring bogus charges against innocent people.

Mckay was told to bring bogus charges against innocent people...

... for the specific purpose of undermining the American electoral system by bogusly delegitimizing its results. Which takes on even more repulsive overtones when one considers how Bush got into the White House in the first place.

And it's not like they had any lofty ideological or philosophical goals or reasons for any of it. They just wanted the goodies and didn't care what happened in the process of getting said goodies.

thanks wonkie. dave -- this is was a common part of the story when in broke in 2007 or whenever. i don't remember the links offhand, but many revolve around voter fraud, opposition figures, etc.

wonkie

'Mckay was told to bring bogus charges against innocent people. '

is different than

'refusing to open a federal criminal investigation into voter fraud allegations'.

Please refer me to your evidence that the allegations were investigated and found to be false. The quote you included says he wouldn't even investigate which is a precursor to bringing charges. There was not even a question about him bringing charges.

Seriously. Don't you see the difference.

I understand you BELIEVE something. All I'm asking for is the evidence you have which will lead me to also believe it.

Publius and wonkie

Pretend I'm from another planet and haven't drunk the kool aid yet. Start with proof and then move to a conclusion. Don't start from a conclusion and move to denunciation.

No one can be innocent unless they've gone before a grand jury and preferably been indicted, and even better tried? The closer you get to prison without actually being convicted, the more innocent you are? I suppose those of us who haven't even attracted the attention of a prosecutor are even less innocent than those a prosecutor looked at and decided not to pursue.

publius

The IG report says that the process of firing was improper. Allegations were made about the conduct of US attorneys by republicans in the field. The US attorneys were fired as a result of those allegations. The IG report does not say whether the allegations were true or not. It says that the process error was that a firing took place without the allegations being investigated.

I agree that the firing process was bad. Improper.

But you (and wonkie) have gone BEYOND THE EVIDENCE and claimed that the attorneys were told to prosecute innocent people.

Now you're just waving at the past and saying "it was generally accepted at the time so it must be true and I can't be bothered to look it up now".

Oh come off it, Davew. McKay was a respected lawyer and a Republican who got fired out of the blue after refusing orders to prosecute people against whom there was no evidence of criminal behavior. Turns out that pattern was repeated in a whole bunch of states. Connect the frickin' dots.

Besides it's not like anyone is saying that Rove and Gonzales should go to jail without due process. And it dones't diminish gthe dueness of the process if bystanders like me hope the process will end with them in jail.

KCinDC

You're off the point. Iglesias planned to bring an indictment in December after the election. That suggests there was some evidence and that Iglesias thought there was reason to bring charges. Iglesias objected to the pressure to HURRY not because he believed the soon-to-be-indicted-party was innocent.

This was the most comprehensive account I found on the vote fraud/BS political prosecutions. That should be enough frankly.

Also, others (Lam) were likely fired b/c of investigations of Republicans.

Here's the best timeline I could find. There's also an IG report, which was allowed to compel testimony from key people.

was NOT allowed, i meant

D'd'd'dave:

Investigators appear to be scrutinizing Iglesias' firing in the context of whether he was fired in retaliation because Domenici and others believed that he would not manipulate the timing of prosecutions to help Republicans.

Previously, Domenici was severely criticized by two internal Justice Department watchdog offices, the Department's Inspector General and Office of Professional Responsibility (OPR), for refusing to cooperate with their earlier probe of the firings of the U.S. attorneys. In part because of their frustration that Domenici and his chief of staff, Steve Bell, as well as several senior White House officials, would not cooperate with them, the Inspector General and OPR sought that a criminal prosecutor take over their probe. It is unclear whether Domenici will now cooperate with the criminal probe. Domenici's attorney, Lee Blalack, in an interview, declined to say what Domenici will do when he is contacted by investigators....

However, if they attempted to pressure Iglesias to accelerate his charging decision in the courthouse case or to initiate voting fraud investigations to affect the outcome of the upcoming election, their conduct may have been criminal. The obstruction of justice makes it a crime for any person who `corruptly... influences, obstructs, or impedes, or endeavors to influence, obstruct, or impede, the due administration of justice...

In their report about the firings, Justice's Inspector General and OPR disclosed that Domenici called then-Attorney General Alberto Gonzales on at least three occasions in 2005 and 2006 to complain about Iglesias, as well as calling then-Deputy Attorney General Paul McNulty to make a fourth such complaint.

During the same period of time, Domenici's staffer Bell repeatedly emailed and spoke to Rove and other White House officials complaining about Iglesias or seeking his removal. The White House in turn relayed those complaints and similar ones by prominent Republican politicians and political operatives from New Mexico to political appointees in the Justice Department....

Iglesias has said that he aggressively pursued allegations of voter fraud--even setting up a task force to do examine the issue in part because of being pressed to do so by New Mexico Republicans-- only for career prosecutors and FBI agents to conclude that there no widespread voter fraud existed and there were no cases that could be prosecuted.

Frankly, I think you're smart enough to know this.

I understand you BELIEVE something. All I'm asking for is the evidence you have which will lead me to also believe it.

Why should anyone care whether you believe it or you don't? Fine. You don't believe it. Move on.

Well, at least we can be confident that Rove had nothing to do with this administration's politicized Inspector General firings. From some peculiar perspective, that's an improvement over what went on in the last administration.

Meanwhile, "prosecutor didn't prosecute" does not equal "innocent". It equals "Is entitled to be treated as innocent by the government.", but that's something different.

Excellent title. It is shameful that after the last few months of games with the IG attorney's (cite here )that anyone would even suggest this is out of the ordinary or even news. Clinton fired ALL 93 when he came into office to ensure he had HIS people in place. Let it go.

Clinton fired ALL 93 when he came into office to ensure he had HIS people in place.

which is standard. what isn't standard is hiring them at the start of the term, giving them good recommendations for a couple of years, but then firing them for refusing to go along with bogus allegations related to election matters, and then replacing them with party loyalists.

sheesh.

D'd'd'dave Marty, etc.,

I know you want to BELIEVE that these firings were normal and in no way involved political desires to prosecute cases involving political opponents, whether guilty or innocent. What I don't understand is your unwillingness to engage the arguments.

Firing some attorneys but not others means that some criteria existed that didn't involve standard rotation.

The reasons given for these firings of these particular attorneys in no way corresponded with the official and professional record.

Decisions to NOT pursue voter fraud cases against Democrats, decisions based upon the Attorneys' assessment of the cases themselves, were a common factor in the firings AND the complaints registered through Rove.

Firing people for failing to pursue prosecutions against political opponents irrespective of the evidence and based merely on a belief and desire that prosecutions should be brought is precisely what Publius is describing here.

Now, you can complain that you haven't seen enough evidence that any of this is true, but TPM covering this issue exhaustively for over a year and their archives are full of a great deal of reporting and analysis. Coming here and complaining that people are making unsubstantiated allegations is a bit odd. You're clinging to semantic gaps that really aren't that hard to fill if you really are interested in the truth.

"which is standard. what isn't standard is hiring them at the start of the term, giving them good recommendations for a couple of years, but then firing them for refusing to go along with bogus allegations related to election matters, and then replacing them with party loyalists."

Ah, the circular "Yes, but" argument. This is just Washington politics, it is a stretch to make any legal issue out of it. I love the way we are "shocked" that we have party loyalists in attorneys positions that are, in essence, all political appointees.

Obama can fire any IG Attorney he wants, its employment at will. "You didn't do what I said to do" is enough cause. If it doesn't look good he pays some political price.

Let it go.

Ah, the circular "Yes, but" argument.

"circular" ? the two situations could hardly be more different. this is easy enough to see. and since you won't admit to seeing it, i'm gonna go ahead and assume you have other motivations here.

""circular" ? the two situations could hardly be more different. this is easy enough to see. and since you won't admit to seeing it, i'm gonna go ahead and assume you have other motivations here."

Did you read the cite on Obamas firings? not very different. Forget Clinton, it was there to specifically address the "party loyalists" part of this discussion. The cite is specific to what really happens everywhere.

If you want to assume my motivations go ahead, it won't be the first time, but you will undoubtedly be wrong.

So Marty, if I'm reading you correctly, you see no difference between a change in political appointees due to a change in administration versus a change in political appointees due to an unwillingness to execute politically motivated action in a nominally non-partisan environment? No difference ethically, even if not legally?

"So Marty, if I'm reading you correctly, you see no difference between a change in political appointees due to a change in administration versus a change in political appointees due to an unwillingness to execute politically motivated action in a nominally non-partisan environment? No difference ethically, even if not legally?"

First, did you read the cite?

Second, we are not discussing ethics, its a dangerous subject to dwell on inside the Beltway, we are talking about legally. More important we are talking about people in glass houses.

Marty: Ah, the circular "Yes, but" argument. This is just Washington politics, it is a stretch to make any legal issue out of it.

When "Washington politics" starts determining not merely what the law is, but to which individuals it should and should not apply, that is by definition a legal issue.

I love the way we are "shocked" that we have party loyalists in attorneys positions that are, in essence, all political appointees.

"Party loyalists" here implies a willingness to put party interests above the scrupulous application of the law. This is par for the course, in you opinion?

Bellmorism: "prosecutor didn't prosecute" does not equal "innocent". It equals "Is entitled to be treated as innocent by the government."

Amazing. Now we have innocent, guilty, and "I'm on to you, buddy". This is just a small sample of the intellectual malfeasance these days of those who dare call themselves 'conservative'.

"When "Washington politics" starts determining not merely what the law is, but to which individuals it should and should not apply, that is by definition a legal issue."

I agree with this completely. This clearly is an issue where the Democrats are using politics to create the view something is illegal, that isn't.

""Party loyalists" here implies a willingness to put party interests above the scrupulous application of the law. This is par for the course, in you opinion?"

Here it implies that they were not willing to put the accusing party first. If they had done that there would be no accusation or discussion.

Pretend I'm from another planet and haven't drunk the kool aid yet.

This is a case of Party above Country. Ask a Republican career prosecutor why this stinks.

You have drunk the kool aid, Dave, and Marty too. Conservatives should care about this (and many, like Iglesias, do). Disagree as we will about political philosophy, this one is not very hard to understand, if you want to do it. It's just ignorant to pretend this is business as usual.

A determined executive of bad faith can do a lot of damage if they're determined to. Bush a Rove were pretty determined to trash the place.

Well, at least we can be confident that Rove had nothing to do with this administration's politicized Inspector General firings.

And thanks, as always, to our 'libertarian', Brett, for complaining about mandatory seatbelt chafe marks in the middle of a head-on collision. Try opening *both* eyes, Brett - better depth perception. (BTW, the IG you are talking about seems to have been fired for cause anyway, but even if we pretend otherwise...).

"You have drunk the kool aid, Dave, and Marty too. Conservatives should care about this (and many, like Iglesias, do)."

Many conservatives do care about it, we just think it should be discussed in reasonable terms as to how to fix the problem, instead of demonizing Karl Rove and all Republicans.

Rove was no more aggressive than Emmanuel would be (or has been) in the same situation.

Ther is just no there there from a legal perspective.

Blind faith, willful ignorance, refusal to add one and one and get two...if the individual politician under discussion is REpubican.

I do that to some extgent with Democrats. It's taken me too long to admit to myslef that Baucus isn't wrong headed or mistaken or laboring under the weight of a misapprehension. He's in the bag for insurance companies and willfully blocking health reform because he doens't care for citizens any more than the three Republicans on the committee do. All that crfap about needing bipartisanship is just cover for Democrats who want to vote like Repulicans. So we have some members of the corrupt bastards on on our team, too.

IU'm not comparing the selling outr of public interest for campaing congributins to the firing of prosecutors for refusing to politicize their jobs. I'm comparing my discomfort with the acknowledgment that a Democrat is morally bankrupt and intellectually dishonest to the discomfort that Brett, Ddddave etc are showing.

It's a mistake to identify with a political party so much tht one can no longer porcess information abut that party's players.

David Iglesias was not shy in publicly stating his point of view. Here is an extended interview he gave to PBS's NOW on 7/27/07.

Iglesias indicates that Senator Domenici's complaint to Karl Rove was only one example of a pattern.

NOW: Why do you think you were fired from your position?

DI: I've maintained from day one for illicit, partisan political reasons. Specifically not coming up with voter fraud cases, number one. And number two not rushing forward indictments involving prominent Democrats during the election cycle. And thirdly, and this is a possible, since the evidence, it hasn't rolled out yet. But my reserve military duty being gone from the office a lot, I was called an absentee landlord. I believe it's a combination of those three reasons.

As for "no there there," well, Iglesias disagreed then:

NOW: Trying to use the office of a U.S. Attorney for partisan political purposes is unethical. But you're saying it is actually illegal?

DI: Right. That's why there has been such a circling of the wagons around Karl Rove and Harriet Miers and Sarah Taylor. I believe there to be incriminating, possibly criminally incriminating evidence contained in those e-mails and other memoranda. That's why the White House doesn't want to produce it to Congress.

And, it seems, he still does:

Iglesias said given that Dannehy has access to “a lot of the facts -- there still may be obstruction of justice charges” filed.

Iglesias: "Long Suspected Rove's Fingerprints Were All Over" US Attorney Firings, by Jason Leopold, The Public Record, Jul 30th, 2009

Brett, you have often stated your point of view that the government amounts to a well-armed protection racket. Federal prosecutors are an important link in the chain that permits the authorized use of force against individuals. I would think it would concern you when corrupt influence is brought to bear on them.

"instead of demonizing Karl Rove and all Republicans."

Who exactly is doing that?

we just think it should be discussed in reasonable terms as to how to fix the problem, instead of demonizing Karl Rove and all Republicans.

I think a key facet of the story is the distinction between someone like Rove and Republicans in general. The extent to which you equate the two is the extent of the problem. I have no problem 'demonizing' Rove, who not only put Party above country, but also routinely put his own faction of Party over the entire Party. You should demonize him too, if you care about the GOP, and about conservatism.

Rove was no more aggressive than Emmanuel would be (or has been) in the same situation.

What 'same situation' is that? I am not a fan of Emmanuel (I'm from IL, and know a little more about him than some may), but I can't think of anything he's done in the last 6 months which is remotely comparable to the USA thing. In fact, whatever my doubts about him, I do know that he - unlike Rove - is intelligent enough to avoid crapping in his own kitchen for short-term political gain. Most pols are. Mark Hanna was, too, BTW.

Someone may have beaten me to the punch upthread, but Karl Rove has been a slimy, underhanded dirty tricks operator since he was head of the Young Republicans in college. Rove sees politics as a blood sport not as two different ways of seeing the world. He has done real harm and damage to people's lives. Ask Don Siegelman or Valerie Plame. This is unconscionable and unforgiveable and makes Rove a criminal and not just a tough political operator like James Carville on the left. This pudgy, pompous, balloon-headed criminal needs to spend the rest of his pathetic life in prison.

So we have some members of the corrupt bastards on our team, too.


Gee, you think so?

(and just for mental hygiene's sake, I would note that, although the linked post cites blue dog dems., it isn't strictly them who are a problem...cough..Shirley Jackson Lee..kaff kaff).

"David Iglesias was not shy in publicly stating his point of view. Here is an extended interview he gave to PBS's NOW on 7/27/07."

I am very surprised that an attorney, recently fired would vigorously defend himself and blame those who fired him.

I think it telling that, with his intimate knowledge of the situation, the worst he could get to was "incriminating, possibly criminally incriminating evidence".

I particularly like the distinction between incriminating and criminally incriminating.

What hacks me off to the MAX is that Holder's DoJ hasn't removed all those Bushevik US Attys.

You know, the ones who survived the Rove/Beto purge of '05-06.

the ones who HAD demonstrated their loyalty to the eternal Rovian majority...

I think it telling that, with his intimate knowledge of the situation, the worst he could get to was "incriminating, possibly criminally incriminating evidence".

Well, you know, I thought that conservatives cared about culture as opposed to 'society'. Now I understand: the new conservative view is that we need a rasher of new laws and regulations to specifically outlaw every possible bad, damaging, against-the-spirit-of-the-law idea any possible venal stupid bastard like Rove or Bush of the future might dream up. That should be easy.

Any rotten destructive thing which is not easily prosecutable is A-OK. Gotcha.

David Iglesias is not alone. See John McKay's Seattle University Law Review article, Train Wreck at the Justice Department: An Eyewitness Account (click the "Download" link to get full text.

"Any rotten destructive thing which is not easily prosecutable is A-OK. Gotcha."

My response to this above was:

"Many conservatives do care about it, we just think it should be discussed in reasonable terms as to how to fix the problem"

So, if I may, your point is that it doesn't matter whether what Rove did was actually illegal or not, we should prosecute him anyway, hope that he rots in prison and that will solve the problem?

[snark] Maybe we should prosecute Rove to see if he's innocent? [/snark]

"Rove was no more aggressive than Emmanuel would be (or has been) in the same situation."

"Aggressive" is not the issue. "Illegal" is the issue.

"Ther is just no there there from a legal perspective."

I don't think that's your call to make.

your point is that it doesn't matter whether what Rove did was actually illegal

I'm saying nothing of the sort. What I'm suggesting is that your claim that this affair 'matters' to you is difficult to believe, and is in fact belied by previous comments on this thread.

Most pols do unfortunate/bad things sometimes, but that neither excuses any particular bad things, nor does it make all those things equivalently bad. The issue at hand is about something rather worse than usual, whether it's prosecutable or not.

Marty: So, if I may, your point is that it doesn't matter whether what Rove did was actually illegal or not, we should prosecute him anyway, hope that he rots in prison and that will solve the problem.

Do you have a problem with the DoJ carrying out an investigation of someone who is thought to have committed several federal crimes? Surely, if Karl Rove is innocent, he has nothing to fear from the Department of Justice: he can hold up his life, open to scrutiny, confident in the knowledge that he has never done anything illegal, except for maybe breaking the speed limit, parking in handicapped spaces, violating the Presidential Records Act, and of course the whole getting US Attorneys fired for failing to start politically-motivated investigations and prosecutions of Democratic politicians thing. Plus, there's still Valerie Plame and the bigger issue of lying the US into the war with Iraq: remind me, was Karl Rove ever actually cleared of his involvement with the outing of Valerie Plame?

"Obama can fire any IG Attorney he wants, its employment at will."

This is false. First of all, you are conflating the Inspector General positions at various government agencies with the U.S. Attorneys of the Department of Justice, which have nothing whatever to do with each other beyond being political appointees.

Second, it is standard procedure and perfectly legal for all political appointees to be asked for their resignations at the end of an administration. In many political appointee jobs, it is standard to serve "at the will of the president," and to be asked to resign at any time for any reason.

It is not standard, nor legal, to fire, or ask for the resignation of, a U.S. Attorney for a long list of specific reasons. That such violations may have occurred in the Department of Justice was determined by the Bush Administration, and thus the Bush Administration launched an official investigation into whether criminal violations had taken place. Here is the Bush Administration's Department of Justice's official report.

To quote The New York Times at the time:

[...] An internal Justice Department investigation concluded Monday that political pressure drove the firings of several federal prosecutors in a 2006 purge, but said that the refusal of major players at the White House and the department to cooperate in the year-long inquiry produced significant “gaps” in its understanding of the events.

At the urging of the investigators, who said they did not have enough evidence to justify recommending criminal charges in the case, Attorney General Michael B. Mukasey appointed the Acting United States Attorney in Connecticut, Nora Dannehy, to continue the inquiry and determine whether anyone should be prosecuted.

The 356-page report, prepared by the department’s inspector general and its Office of Professional Responsibility, provides the fullest picture to date of an episode that opened the Bush administration up to charges of politicizing the justice system. The firings of nine federal prosecutors, and the Congressional hearings they generated, ultimately led to the resignation of Attorney General Alberto Gonzales last September.

Gonzales didn't resign because of some witchhunt by Democrats; he resigned because President Bush asked him to, because of what the Bush Department of Justice determined.
[...] The investigation, which uncovered White House e-mail messages not previously made public, offered a blistering critique of Mr. Gonzales’s management of the department. It called Mr. Gonzales “remarkably unengaged” in overseeing an unprecedented personnel review, and said that he “abdicated” his administrative responsibilities, leaving those duties to his chief of staff. It said that the process for deciding which prosecutors were fired was “fundamentally flawed.”

More troubling, the investigation concluded that, despite the denials of the administration at the time of the controversy, political considerations played a part in the firings of at least four of the nine prosecutors.

The most serious case, the report said, was the firing of David Iglesias, the former United States Attorney for New Mexico, who had tangled with two of his state’s leading Republican lawmakers, Senator Pete Domenici and Representative Heather A. Wilson, over what they saw as his slow response to voter fraud and political corruption accusations against Democrats in New Mexico.

“We concluded,” the inquiry said, “that complaints from New Mexico Republican politicians and party activists to the White House and the Department about Iglesias’s handling of voter fraud and public corruption cases led to his removal.”

But in looking into the Iglesias firing and others, investigators were hampered by the refusal of the White House to turn over internal documents and to make some major figures available for interviews. Investigators interviewed some 90 people, but three administration officials who played a part in crucial phases of the firing plan — Karl Rove, the former political advisor to President Bush; Harriet E. Miers, the former White House counsel; and Monica M. Goodling, former Justice Department liaison to the White House — all refused to be interviewed.

That was September, 2008. Now Rove has finally just been interviewed. A special prosecutor was appointed by the Bush Administration:
[...] The new prosecutor, Ms. Dannehy, has been the acting United States Attorney in Connecticut since April. A graduate of Harvard Law School, she has been a prosecutor for 17 years and specializes in white-collar and public corruption cases. She led the prosecution of Connecticut’s former governor John Rowland, who pleaded guilty in 2004 to accepting $107,000 in gifts.
You simply can't lay any of this off on either Democrats, nor claim it was normal termination of positions that serve at the will of the president. It's illegal to fire U.S. attorneys for choosing to engage in investigations for political reasons.

More and more, and that's old news. If you haven't been following the details on this case, you are welcome to educate yourself further on it.

"Obama can fire any IG Attorney he wants, its employment at will."

This is false. First of all, you are conflating the Inspector General positions at various government agencies with the U.S. Attorneys of the Department of Justice, which have nothing whatever to do with each other beyond being political appointees.

Second, it is standard procedure and perfectly legal for all political appointees to be asked for their resignations at the end of an administration. In many political appointee jobs, it is standard to serve "at the will of the president," and to be asked to resign at any time for any reason.

It is not standard, nor legal, to fire, or ask for the resignation of, a U.S. Attorney for a long list of specific reasons. That such violations may have occurred in the Department of Justice was determined by the Bush Administration, and thus the Bush Administration launched an official investigation into whether criminal violations had taken place. Here is the Bush Administration's Department of Justice's official report.

To quote The New York Times at the time:

[...] An internal Justice Department investigation concluded Monday that political pressure drove the firings of several federal prosecutors in a 2006 purge, but said that the refusal of major players at the White House and the department to cooperate in the year-long inquiry produced significant “gaps” in its understanding of the events.

At the urging of the investigators, who said they did not have enough evidence to justify recommending criminal charges in the case, Attorney General Michael B. Mukasey appointed the Acting United States Attorney in Connecticut, Nora Dannehy, to continue the inquiry and determine whether anyone should be prosecuted.

The 356-page report, prepared by the department’s inspector general and its Office of Professional Responsibility, provides the fullest picture to date of an episode that opened the Bush administration up to charges of politicizing the justice system. The firings of nine federal prosecutors, and the Congressional hearings they generated, ultimately led to the resignation of Attorney General Alberto Gonzales last September.

Gonzales didn't resign because of some witchhunt by Democrats; he resigned because President Bush asked him to, because of what the Bush Department of Justice determined.
[...] The investigation, which uncovered White House e-mail messages not previously made public, offered a blistering critique of Mr. Gonzales’s management of the department. It called Mr. Gonzales “remarkably unengaged” in overseeing an unprecedented personnel review, and said that he “abdicated” his administrative responsibilities, leaving those duties to his chief of staff. It said that the process for deciding which prosecutors were fired was “fundamentally flawed.”

More troubling, the investigation concluded that, despite the denials of the administration at the time of the controversy, political considerations played a part in the firings of at least four of the nine prosecutors.

The most serious case, the report said, was the firing of David Iglesias, the former United States Attorney for New Mexico, who had tangled with two of his state’s leading Republican lawmakers, Senator Pete Domenici and Representative Heather A. Wilson, over what they saw as his slow response to voter fraud and political corruption accusations against Democrats in New Mexico.

“We concluded,” the inquiry said, “that complaints from New Mexico Republican politicians and party activists to the White House and the Department about Iglesias’s handling of voter fraud and public corruption cases led to his removal.”

But in looking into the Iglesias firing and others, investigators were hampered by the refusal of the White House to turn over internal documents and to make some major figures available for interviews. Investigators interviewed some 90 people, but three administration officials who played a part in crucial phases of the firing plan — Karl Rove, the former political advisor to President Bush; Harriet E. Miers, the former White House counsel; and Monica M. Goodling, former Justice Department liaison to the White House — all refused to be interviewed.

That was September, 2008. Now Rove has finally just been interviewed. A special prosecutor was appointed by the Bush Administration:
[...] The new prosecutor, Ms. Dannehy, has been the acting United States Attorney in Connecticut since April. A graduate of Harvard Law School, she has been a prosecutor for 17 years and specializes in white-collar and public corruption cases. She led the prosecution of Connecticut’s former governor John Rowland, who pleaded guilty in 2004 to accepting $107,000 in gifts.
You simply can't lay any of this off on either Democrats, nor claim it was normal termination of positions that serve at the will of the president. It's illegal to fire U.S. attorneys for choosing to engage in investigations for political reasons.


More and more, and that's old news. If you haven't been following the details on this case, you are welcome to educate yourself further on it.

It's illegal to fire U.S. attorneys for choosing to engage in investigations for political reasons.

I know you value clarity in writing, Gary, so I thought I'd point out that this sentence isn't entirely clear.

Thanks, hairshirthedonist.

It's illegal for U.S. attorneys to choose for political reasons whom to investigate and whom not to investigate.

It's illegal for U.S. attorneys to be pressured into investigations for political reasons.

It's illegal for U.S. attorneys to be dismissed for choosing to refuse to do these illegal things.

None of these things are related to, or similar to, the normal, legal, turnover of U.S. Attorneys, whether at the standard request for mass resignations at the beginning of every administration, or a subsequent slower replacement for those reasons, or an ordinary resignation of a U.S. Attorney for any given personal reason, or the firing of a U.S. Attorney for legitimate cause.

As well, it is illegal to fire career, civil service, DOJ or other governmental officials, for political reasons.

Neither does the firing of U.S. Attorneys have anything to do with Departmental Inspector Generals, which are an entirely different job and subject.

Clearer?

See also here for plenty more information for those who need to be brought up to speed.

Well said Gary.

Publius

I look forward to reading your denunciation of this use of political pressure to influence cases. There was no firing involved. But, the case was directly overturned by a political appointee.

Dave, you must be kidding. I'm not running out any more of my personal clock today batting down this garbage.

"I look forward to reading your denunciation of this use of political pressure to influence cases."

I watched the YouTube video, and I'd like to know which law you are citing as having been broken, d'd'd'dave. A guy held a billy club. I don't know what the local election laws are there. It's entirely possible that it's illegal to hold a billy club within a certain distance of a polling place. I'd have no trouble with the existence of such a law. Does such a law exist?

Was anything alleged to have happened beyond the holding of the billy club? What crime are you claiming was violated here, and what evidence do you have of a crime?

What you link to is an opinion column at Pajamas Media. It itself claims only this:

The Department of Justice investigated, the career counsel approved the institution of a civil complaint, and one was brought.

The defendants offered up no defense. They failed even to appear in court. The federal district court judge entered default judgments against the defendants. Later he ordered the Justice Department to file motions for the entry of default judgments, formally acknowledging they had won.

Perhaps you are unclear what a "civil complaint" is. It is something that is not a crime.

It is a complaint made by one private citizen or set of citizens against another private citizen or set of citizens, made in court. It is a law suit, not a criminal prosecution.

So I don't understand what this refers to: "At this time, over the objections of career counsel, Associate Attorney General Thomas J. Perrelli ordered the case dropped."

Further examination of the PJ story you link to reveals a link to only a single page of a six page article at the Washington Times, which is slightly more illuminating, and is here.

It states:

[...] The delay was ordered by then-acting Assistant Attorney General Loretta King after she discussed with Mr. Perrelli concerns about the case during one of their regular review meetings, according to the interviews.

Ms. King, a career senior executive service official, had been named by President Obama in January to temporarily fill the vacant political position of assistant attorney general for civil rights while a permanent choice could be made.

She and other career supervisors ultimately recommended dropping the case against two of the men and the party and seeking a restraining order against the one man who wielded a nightstick at the Philadelphia polling place. Mr. Perrelli approved that plan, officials said.

[...]

Justice Department spokeswoman Tracy Schmaler told The Washington Times that the department has an "ongoing obligation" to be sure the claims it makes are supported by the facts and the law. She said that after a "thorough review" of the complaint, top career attorneys in the Civil Rights Division determined the "facts and the law did not support pursuing the claims against three of the defendants."

"As a result, the department dismissed those claims," she said. "We are committed to vigorous enforcement of the laws protecting anyone exercising his or her right to vote."

So what's the issue here, beyond that Republicans in Congress have made political claims that the career lawyers at DOJ have made a decision. Seeking a restraining order against the guy who held the billy club, and stood around, seems reasonable.

The story also included this part:

[...] "Intimidation outside of a polling place is contrary to the democratic process," said Grace Chung Becker, a Bush administration political appointee who was the acting assistant attorney general for civil rights at the time the case was filed. "The Voting Rights Act of 1965 was passed to protect the fundamental right to vote and the department takes allegations of voter intimidation seriously."

Mrs. Becker, now on a leave of absence from government work, said she personally reviewed the NBPP complaint and approved its filing in federal court. She said the complaint had been the subject of numerous reviews and discussions with the career lawyers.

Italics all mine.

Finally:

[...] The dispute over the case and the reversal of career line attorneys highlights sensitivities that have remained inside the department since Bush administration political appointees ignored or reversed their career counterparts on some issues and some U.S. attorneys were fired for what Congress concluded were political reasons.

Mr. Weich, in his letter to the congressman, sought to dispel any notion that politics was involved. He argued that the department dropped charges against three of the four defendants "because the facts and the law did not support pursuing" them. He said the decision was made after a "careful and through review of the matter " by Ms. King. He said:

• While the NBPP made statements and posted notice that more than 300 of its members would be deployed at polling places throughout the United States during the Nov. 4 elections, the statement and posting did not say any of them would display a weapon or otherwise break the law.

• While the complaint charged that the NBPP and Mr. Zulu Shabazz endorsed the activities at the polling places, the evidence was "equivocal" since both later disavowed what happened in Philadelphia and suspended that city's chapter after the incident.

• The charges against Mr. Jackson were dropped because police who responded to the polling place ordered Mr. Samir Shabazz to leave but allowed Mr. Jackson to stay. He also noted that the department approved "appropriately tailored injunctive relief" against Mr. Samir Shabazz for his use of the nightstick.

The injunction prohibits Mr. Samir Shabazz from brandishing a weapon outside a polling place through Nov. 15, 2012, and Ms. Schmaler said the department "will fully enforce the terms of that injunction."

On its Web page, the NBPP said the Philadelphia chapter was suspended from operations and would not be recognized until further notice. It said the organization did not condone or promote the carrying of nightsticks or any kind of weapon at any polling place.

"We are intelligent enough to understand that a polling place is a sensitive site and all actions must be carried out in a civilized and lawful manner," it said.

Seems reasonable.

If you have additional information about a criminal violation, or violation of law by Democratic political appointees, do please bring it to our attention. Thanks.

By the way: tu quoque. Tsk. And: so what? Are you denying the Bush Administration determination that the DOJ violated the law, and do you believe that Democrats in the Bush Administration appointed a special prosecutor? Or what? Or are you only interested in trying to find some sort of tu quoque?

"But, the case was directly overturned by a political appointee."

This, in sum, turned out not to be a true statement, among other problems with d'd'd'dave's tu quoque.

"But, the case was directly overturned by a political appointee."

I live to serve.

Stupid cut and paste. That last should read:

"But, the case was directly overturned by a political appointee."

This, in sum, turned out not to be a true statement, among other problems with d'd'd'dave's tu quoque.

"Dave, you must be kidding. I'm not running out any more of my personal clock today batting down this garbage."

I live to serve.

Gary

Not a tu quoque because I did not use it to justify the Bush firings. In fact, I said the Bush firings were not appropriate at 12:57a. I just offered it up as another instance of political pressure gone awry.

I note a certain amount of confusion, perhaps willful, on triple dave and marty's parts, between different reasons for firing a prosecutor.

There are basically three reasons to fire a prosecutor. The first two are legit and normal, the third is not.

1) Because they are incompetent, they broke the law, you can't work with them, they keep ignoring your orders, etc. You know, the same reasons you fire anyone. Rare at this level of the profession, but perfectly reasonable.

2) Because they are fundamentally opposed to your general policies. IOW, wrong party. This is standard, and is actually a feature of the system, not a bug. The AG exists to carry out the President's policies as Chief Executive. When the Presidency switches from one party to another, the new President is supposed to replace key policy executors. Otherwise he or she betrays the majority of the voters, who are entitled to the change in policy they ordered.

3) Because they refuse to pervert the office. The particular subset of (3) here is, because they refuse to discriminatorily prosecute based on political party. Not standard. Not okay. And, not the same thing as reason (2).

I speculate that you are confused because both (2) and (3) are ways of using the AG to advance partisan goals. The difference is simple: in (2), the President discriminates in his role as an employer, to assemble a team of subordinates who will help him carry out the voters' legitimate policies. This advances democracy.

In (3), the President selects and/or coerces his AGs to carry out unlawful policies. He discriminates in his role as executive (via the AGs), not as an employer. The discrimination is anti-democracy, because he nullifies the results of legitimate elections. There is no legitimate policy of favoring Republican Governors or Congressmen.

If you think this is a proper use of executive power, I urge you to emigrate, because you fundamentally disagree with Western democratic thought. China might be much more comfortable for you. At the very least, please stop voting until you have completed a remedial 8th grade civics class.

"I just offered it up as another instance of political pressure gone awry."

D'd'd'dave, if it turned out there were people threatening or intimdating voters, of whatever party, for whatever reason, to vote in any way, even simply by the appearance of looking threatening, I fully agree that should be investigated, and if a crime was found to have been committed, that proceeding with it through the criminal justice system is what should be done.

But in this case, there doesn't seem to have been a crime established, and there absolutely doesn't seem to have been any political interference established. The person who made the final decision was a career official, not a political appointee, and there's no appearance of it being "another instance of political pressure."

Your claim that "the case was directly overturned by a political appointee" is directly false. And there is no appearance, let alone evidence, of political pressure. None that you've cited, anyway. Citing some opinion columnist's (on PajamasMedia!) opinion is not evidence. And that columnist's credibility isn't enhanced by selective quoting and distorting the cited material.

If evidence emerges that the DOJ was protecting threatening Black Panthers from justified prosecution, I assure you I'll denounce it, okay?

trilobite

"I note a certain amount of confusion, perhaps willful, on triple dave...'s part[s], between different reasons for firing a prosecutor."

If you think so than you have not understood my comments. I have not objected to the firings. I have objected to Publius' characterization of the reason for the firings. i.e. he essentially said they were fired for not prosecuting persons who were known to be innocent.

he essentially said they were fired for not prosecuting persons who were known to be innocent.

Yes. That would be about it. The Bush administration appeared to have fired multiple U.S. Attorneys because they declined to take part in politically-motivated prosecutions based on known party affiliation, not on evidence of guilt.

And you, apparently, think that this does not merit investigation, nor any following prosecution - since you have spent the entire thread arguing that it's wrong to investigate people against whom there is evidence that they were involved in the firings.

"I have objected to Publius' characterization of the reason for the firings"

Does that have any bearing on whether the firings themselves were legal or not?

Jesurgislac

"you have spent the entire thread arguing that it's wrong to investigate people against whom there is evidence that they were involved in the firings."

You are wrong. I have not once argued this.

d'd'd'NFTFT. Please. It stopped being useful, to the hypothetical new-to-the-subject reader, right about 1:52pm.

Under Republican Bush US Attorneys were fired when they didn't go after political opponents and fired when they did go after corrupt Republicans.

The entire endeavor was corrupt, it was the deliberate politicization of the Justice Department, and a gross misuse of government power.

Obama does the right thing and reinstates Daniel G. Bogden, one of the federal prosecutors who's controversial firing by the Bush administration DOJ is currently under congressional investigation. Bogden is a lifelong Republican.

http://www.washingtonmonthly.com/archives/individual/2009_08/019321.php

Many of the commenters in this thread have loosely used the terms "prosecute" and "investigate" as if they were interchangeable. They are not. Pressuring an AG to investigate or not investigate is certainly illegal; however, I would find pressuring an AG to prosecute or not prosecute despite the results of an investigation to be more egregious.

Is pressuring a an investigator to investigate illegal? I thought it was fairly routine? (Or maybe that is only inside the chain of command?) Have to think about that.

I don't think that pressuring an investigatot to investigate is illegal. On the other hand to pressure an investigator to investigate when an investigation has already been done and the results show tht there was no crime and the investigator is then fired for failing to indict specific people who the investigator knew to be innocent, then that's a crime. And that's what happened to McCay.

Of course there was a plausible reason to politicize the U.S. attornieys

You just have to make the simple step most authoritarian/totalitarian states do and identify the interests of the People with the interest of the Party and vice versa. Historically I would say such identification is more common than not in countries of all ideological varieties.

Once you have made the jump to believing that one Party represents the Volk, or the Workers, or the Revolution, or the Monarchy or whatever it is the clear duty of the courts to support that. In our case the principle being defended by the Republicans is American Exceptionalism, that belief that we are the bestest, kindest, and BTW strongest and richest nation that ever lived and as such we retain the right to kick any country around we choose, or rather than the Leader chooses.

Rove/Cheney et al have just blurred the concepts of Good American/Good Republican/Good Doggie! into one. And once that is done then Show Trials are just an exercise in patriotism. I mean it is not like the Rovians made Siegelman pay for the bullet they were going to put through his head.

Once you realize the the dominant ideology of the early parts of this decade was a kind of proto-Maoism with Generalissimo Commandante in Jefe Bush and his people in firm control of all levers of government and determined to keep it that way none of this should be remotely surprising. Bush and Cheney and Pat Buchanon didn't want to return us to 50's America, they wanted to return us to 50's Spain. Were Franco's judges loyal party members? That is not even a question that anyone would ask.

"This is false. First of all, you are conflating the Inspector General positions at various government agencies with the U.S. Attorneys of the Department of Justice, which have nothing whatever to do with each other beyond being political appointees."

You're right, firing an Inspector General is, thanks to a law Obama co-sponsored and then violated as President, a rather more involved process than firing a US Attorney; The latter are at-will employees, the former .

"The latter are at-will employees"

Except for violations of the law, which is what the Bush administration determined was likely enough to have happened to have appointed a special prosecutor.

Is there some reason you refuse to acknowledge that, Brett?

As for your latter claim, why, don't bother to provide any links to support it. Just imagine we believe everything you say.

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