Tomorrow is the big press day for this story as the House and the Senate will hold hearings into the alleged Attorney purge and look into what role, if any, politics and pressure from congressmen led to the ouster of seven U.S. Attorneys. Two of these Attorneys have already generated a large amount of media attention as their removal is highly controversial. David Iglesias claims that Sen. Pete Domenici and Rep Heather Wilson pressured him to bring an indictment against local New Mexico Democrats prior to the 2006 election and Carol Lam was in the midst of prosecuting two alleged conspirators in the Duke Cunningham corruption case, Brent Wilkes and K. Dusty Foggo, both highly connected to the Bush Administration. What about the other Attorneys?
One that caught my eye was Paul Charlton, U.S. Attorney for the District of Arizona. In October it was revealed that Charlton was investigating Rep. Rick Renzi (R-AZ) for multiple alleged corrupt practices. There was even a strong rumor that an indictment was in the pipeline. Now, Charlton is being removed from his position.
Bud Cummins, the Attorney for the District of Arkansas, states that he was told he was being removed to pave the way for a protégé of Karl Rove, Tim Griffin, who has since decided not to pursue the permanent position. Cummins had also been investigating the office of Missouri Gov. Matt Blunt, the son of then-Majority Whip Roy Blunt (R-MO). John McKay’s removal as Attorney for the District of Washington is incredibly puzzling as he received a glowing personnel review prior to his ouster.
Daniel Bogden is perhaps the only Attorney who may have been removed for performance issues after he saw a number of high profile cases collapse.
There is also a whole lot more news in the case of Domenici and Iglesias:
- According to Paul Kiel, Domenici claims that he was frustrated at Iglesias’ “inability” to “move more quickly on cases” despite the fact that Iglesias was “opening more cases and handling them faster than his predecessor”.
- The six purged Attorneys subpoenaed to testify tomorrow released a joint statement today. You can read it here.
- The Director of the Executive Office of U.S. Attorneys at the Justice Department Michael Battle announced that he was resigning today, effective March 16th. Battle was the Justice Department Official who informed each of the fired Attorneys that they were out of a job. DOJ is saying that Battle did not make the decision to fire.
- CREW filed an ethics complaint against Sen. Pete Domenici (R-NM).
- And a small piece of information that caught my eye was that David Iglesias, the fired Attorney from New Mexico, was the basis for the Tom Cruise character in the film “A Few Good Men.” Another fired prosecutor, Carol Lam, had recently prosecuted the case of Duke Cunningham, the basis for the Tom Cruise character in “Top Gun.” Weird.
Watch the hearings tomorrow if you want. Or check back here (and TPM) during the day for updates.