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Tag Archive: Pete Domenici

Domenici “Admonished” By Ethics Committee

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I tried to interfere with a U.S. Attorney's investigation, failed, got the Attorney fired, and all I got was this lousy letter of "qualified admonition."

The Senate Ethics Committee, yesterday, admonished Sen. Pete Domenici for creating an "appearance of impropriety" when he telephoned David Iglesias, the U.S. Attorney for New Mexico, prior to the 2006 election to ask when he was going to bring indictments against Democrats for voter fraud. After not receiving the answer he wanted, Sen. Domenici pushed the White House to fire Iglesias, as they did along with other Attorneys.

This is said qualified letter of admonition. While an admonition seems like pretty weak tea for what Domenici did, it's at least good to know that they actually do police themselves in the Senate, as opposed to the House. 

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S.1 In Action: Senate Ethics Committee Reports

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I've spent a lot of time on this blog deriding the Senate Ethics Committee - and the frivolous complaints leveled by Sen. John Ensign against the current ethics process - for failing to investigate Senators who have allegedly violated the trust of their office (or the law, in the case of Sen. Ted Stevens). Thanks to the recently passed ethics bill, S.1, we finally get some transparency in the Ethics Committee and some statistical information about the committee's activities. The Committee is now required to issue an annual report of activity. Here are some highlights:

Number of alleged violations received in 2007 (from any source): 95 (not including the 16 carried over from 2006)

Number of alleged violations dismissed in 2007 (including 7 cases carried over from 2006): 86 (71 for lack of jurisdiction; 15 for failure to provide sufficient facts)

Number of alleged violations which resulted in a preliminary hearing: 16 (includes 9 matters carried over from 2006 and 5 matters that have carried into 2008)

Number of alleged violations that resulted in adjudicatory review: 0

Number of alleged violations dismissed for lack of substantial merit: 11 (includes 7 matters carried over from 2006)

Number of matters resulting in disciplinary action: 0

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Filling the Hole in the Justice Department Doc Dump

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Attorney General Alberto Gonzalez claims that mistakes were made, he knew nothing about the actions of his chief of staff, and that he will “assess accountability” at Justice. So far this looks like really poorly orchestrated damage control. That’s the new news. Earlier today the Justice Department released the old news, a document dump of e-mails between Gonzalez’s now ex-chief of staff Kyle Sampson and White House officials including then-White House Counsel Harriet Miers. We know from the Washington Post story, and from McClatchy’s reporting over the weekend, that Sen. Pete Domenici and other New Mexico Republicans were instrumental in getting U.S. Attorney David Iglesias canned. The question is whether this was determined after Iglesias says that Domenici pressured him over indictments.

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White House Fired Attorneys; Domenici Got Iglesias Axed

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With two stories out today, one from the New York Times and the other from the Washington Post, we learn that everything the Justice Department told Congress was factually-impaired. Attorney General Alberto Gonzalez claimed that there was nothing political about the firings, except that the President's Counsel Harriet Miers and the President's chief political operative created the list of Attorney's to axe and Justice was in discussions all along. In the beginning the White House wanted to fire all 93 Attorneys only to scale back this plan when it was deemed by Rove to be politically impossible. (For those paying attention that would have included U.S. Attorney for the District of Illinois (Northern) Patrick Fitzgerald, the guy prosecuting a case against the Vice President's right-hand man.)

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Update from last blog post

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Another Update: "Hacked" isn't right. Apparently they screwed up at U.S. News and Bonnie Erbe's post got Barone's name on it. The Internets strike again. 

In my last blog post I quoted from a post from Michael Barone of U.S. News & World Report. Barone's post, which I excerpted, stated his outrage at the attorney firings and at Sen. Pete Domenici's ethics in calling Attorney David Iglesias. The only thing about the post is that Barone didn't write it. You see, his site was hacked and the post, sensibly explaining the outrage over the Attorney firings, was not his work at all. Now back to your regularly scheduled programming. (hat tip: Andrew Sullivan)

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Domenici In Trouble; What About Wilson?

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The Washington Post reports that the Senate ethics committee is investigating Sen. Pete Domenici's (R-NM) role in the alleged pressuring and subsequent firing of Attorney David Iglesias. Domenici announced that he has hired K. Lee Blalack, the former defense attorney for Randy "Duke" Cunningham, to represent him. The revelations in the committee hearings on Tuesday clearly have pushed this story further as it appears that, despite constantly changing excuses, two Members of Congress put unprecedented pressure on a U.S. Attorney to bring down indictments to help the re-election campaign of Rep. Heather Wilson (R-NM).

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Attorneys Testify, Reveal More Contacts From Congress

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After watching the Senate hearings this morning (my Real Player went on the fritz for the House hearing) the real picture is beginning to unfold in the premature firing of seven or eight (or more) prosecutors by the Justice Department. David Iglesias, the star of the hearings, testified that both Sen. Pete Domenici and Rep. Heather Wilson called to ask him about an ongoing corruption investigation and whether indictments would be brought down before the November elections. According to Iglesias, Wilson, in a call placed on or about October 16th, 2006, went so far as to say that she was "hearing about sealed indictments" and wanted to know more. Iglesias told the committee, "We cannot talk about sealed indictment," and explained how he dodged the congresswoman's question by giving her information that was in the public record. Iglesias said that she "was not happy."

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Wilson Admits Calling Iglesias; Hearings Underway

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(WATCH THE HEARINGS HERE.) 

Rep. Heather Wilson (R-NM) issued a statement to the Washington Post last night stating that she called New Mexico U.S. Attorney David Iglesias to ask about the corruption case in question. Wilson also said that constituents were complaining about "the slow pace of federal prosecutions" and that "Iglesias was intentionally delaying corruption investigations". It would have been nice if Wilson had said, like Sen. Pete Domenici (R-NM), that she was calling about something completely different. Wilson instead has essentially admitted to the crime here.

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