Skip to comments.About those fired U.S. Attorneys
Posted on 03/13/2007 9:01:20 PM PDT by neverdem
The alleged scandal over the firing of eight U.S. Attorneys has made it to the front page of the Washington Post as today's top headline. Let's take a look at the Post's story and the "scandal."
The Post breathlessly informs us that the "Firings Had Genesis in White House." Reading on, we learn that President Bush told Attorney General Gonzales he had received complaints that some prosecutors had not energetically pursued voter-fraud invesitgations. Voter fraud is a serious offense, and both political parties say they oppose it. So it seems perfectly proper for the president to pass along a complaint that some prosecutors weren't pursuing such investigations. The question would then become how Gonzales followed-up and whether he did so fairly. More on this in a moment.
The Post also says that Harriet Miers recommended that all U.S. Attorneys be fired. Gonzales wisely rejected this blunderbuss recommendation. It's worth noting, though, that such a mass firing would not have been unprecedented. President Clinton, through Janet Reno, fired all of the U.S. Attorneys after he was elected. Clinton used the mass firing as a means of covering up his real intention -- to fire the U.S. Attorney in his home state of Arkansas. They didn't call Clinton "Slick Willie" for nothing.
This time, eight prosecutors lost their jobs. It's not implausible to think that out of 93 U.S. Attorneys, eight might be good candidates for replacement. But let's take a quick look at some of the specifics. According to the Post, three of them had low ratings -- Margaret Chiara in Michigan, Carol Lam in San Diego, and Bud Cummins in Little Rock. Cummins was replaced by Tim Griffin, whose career Karl Rove apparently wanted to advance. There's nothing novel in appointing a rising star with good connections to the job of U.S. Attorney. I've seen no evidence that Griffin was unqualified and, as noted, Cummins had received a poor rating.
Two of the fired prosecutors -- Kevin Ryan in San Francisco and David Iglesias in Albuquerque -- received strong evaluations. But according to the Post, Ryan's firing "has generated few complaints because of widespread managment and morale problems in his office."
The focus instead is on Iglesias because, in addition to the strong evaluation, he was not on the original list of prosecutors recommended for removal by Gonzales' aide Kyle Sampson. Rather, he apparently was added as a candidate for removal in response to complaints from New Mexico Senator Pete Domenici and other New Mexico Republicans that he was not prosecuting enough voter-fraud cases.
Is the firing of Iglesias a genuine scandal? As David Frum notes, it depends on the facts: was there a serious problem of voter fraud in the state, was Iglesias sluggish in dealing with it, and did the administration act even-handedly by insisting that its U.S. Attorneys adequately deal with serious allegations of voter fraud lodged by both political parties?
Until we see good evidence that the answer to one or more of these questions is "no," the firing of Iglesias is not scandalous.
UPDATE: Jeralyn Merritt, a liberal blogger and criminal lawyer whose work I respect, argues that
The travesty of the current U.S. Attorney firing scandal is not that U.S. Attorneys are being replaced. That is expected after an election, such as the one in 2004. It's that it's happening in 2007. . .In 2007, there should be no replacements, except for any U.S. Attorneys who proved to be unqualified.
But Merritt doesn't really explain why this is so. She agrees that U.S. Attorneys "serve at the pleasure of the President." So why shouldn't a U.S. Attorney be replaced at any time if he or she is not performing well overall, or if his office is plagued by morale problems, or if she is not enforcing the immigration laws, or if he is not dealing adequately with substantial allegations of voter fraud? That's the way it works for all other presidential appointees; why not U.S. Attorneys?
The issue should be the merits of the individual decisions, not the violation of some presumption that U.S. Attorneys will only be removed at a designated point in the political cycle.
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So, Gonzales was justified, and he still fired his aide?
I just don't get why this Administration keeps blinking every time a Dem challenges them.
The President needs his spine back. It is there when it comes to the WOT. Then it goes in a lock box.
Just more Dim-driven non-news
This is what you get for trying to play nice with a group that has no intention of returning the favor.
The aide gave incorrect information that was presented to the congress.
there's a reason why people call the dems the "evil party"
and the pubs the "stupid party".
[The President needs his spine back.]
The "compassionate conservative" with "the new tone" has never had a spine when it comes to domestic policy issues. I voted for him twice because I'd much rather have this moderate Republican than either of the two buffoons Gore or Kerry, but it's simply not in this President's nature to put up a fight when the opposition gets vicious.
In my opinion, this is because he takes his Christian beliefs very seriously and prefers to turn the other cheek to those who strike him in the face.
I'm only voting for a presidential candidate in '08 who can convince me that he'll be willing and able to dispense to his enemies, foreign and domestic, a lot more hurt than they can give him.
If that's accurate,then I'm wrong and he should have left.
The majority in yesterdays decision pointed to a 1998 dissent in which at least three current members (and one former member) of the Supreme Court have read bear arms in the Second Amendment to have meaning beyond mere soldiering. They were former Chief Justice William H. Rehnquist, who died in 2005, and Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Antonin Scalia and David H. Souter.
Ginsburg & Souter, who knew?
Did you know that in New York City, through 1969 virtually all the public high schools had riflery teams?
Thousands of students carried their rifles on subways, buses and streets on their way to school, when they went to practice in the afternoon and on their way home. And until 1963, all commercial pilots were required to carry guns and were allowed to carry guns until 1987.
From time to time, Ill ping on noteworthy articles about politics, foreign and military affairs. FReepmail me if you want on or off my list.
Thanks for the ping!
President Clinton, through Janet Reno, fired all of the U.S. Attorneys after he was elected. Clinton used the mass firing as a means of covering up his real intention -- to fire the U.S. Attorney in his home state of Arkansas. They didn't call Clinton "Slick Willie" for nothing.
Chuck Schumer didn't say boo when the Clinton's fired everyone but Chertoff.
give me a gop candidate willing to take the mike and say 'i'm paying for this microphone' in response to 'rat attack and sycophant media shrieking
we've warned this tone deaf president repeatedly about failing to fire back in kind and win news cycles, but i conclude he is hopeless and a complete naive fool
Someday a real Republican with stones will laugh in the scumbag liberal newsrooms' faces and then rub their noses in more of whatever got their panties in a bunch. Gonzales should have turned around and fired a few more US attorneys just for poops and giggles.
Merrit was a Clinton knee-padder. How does her statement that the attorneys should not be fired in '07 square with Schumer's call for Gonzales to resign? Shouldn't he have to wait till '09 when the new president is sworn in ?
Just now, on the hourly news, my local (Sacramento) radio station announced Chuckie Schumer is complaining about the firings, and then added: "Former President Clinton fired all of the Attorneys General when he first took office." Nice to see at least a little of the other side of the story.
Oops. I meant "US Attorneys," not, of course, "Attorneys General." Our newly elected lamebrain moonbat AG Jerry Brown must be on my mind. Sorry.
I tried to post this info on Powerline ...to no avail
(if anyone can post it ...go ahead)
From Alb Journal:
Written by Bruce Daniels - ABQnewsSeeker
Friday, 09 March 2007
Pundit Fred Barnes finds nothing wrong with calling prosecutors about ongoing cases.
8:20am UPDATE: Bernalillo County Sheriff Darren White, an outspoken Republican, just got through with a phone interview with 770 KKOB Radio's morning show fill-in host Pat Frisch, telling Frisch and listeners that complaints about fired U.S. Attorney David Iglesias's performance had been circulating since at least 2004 and not from politicians, but from federal law enforcement officials (none of whom were named).
White also claimed that New York Democratic Sen. Charles Schumer, who chaired Tuesday's Senate Judiciary Committee hearing where Iglesias and other fired U.S. attorneys testified, was being hypocritical. Schumer, White said, had himself leaned on federal prosecutors early in the push to find whoever leaked the name of former CIA operative (and soon-to-be Santa Fe resident) Valerie Plame Wilson to the media.
Sherrif Darren White should become the voice of reason for this story. He is really good
Attention Media Folks
Oh brother ...
You may be right. If that's the case then he is wrong. Whenever he doesn't stand up and shout the truth, he is committing a sin of omission by allowing a lie to stand.
It does not matter a whit what he does - the dems will just move on to another area where they can instill doubt in the president and his administration.
The dems have the media that carries the plan for them and we have never learned to fight back against the dems. We just jump on the bandwagon and complain about Bush.
So, all the while criticizing Bush we might just look at how we allow the dems to be corrupt without repercussions, allow them to tell our administration what must be done, allow them to make black white, allow them to tell us what words we can use.
We are idiots for not throwing these accusations, wherever they appear, right back at them and then ignore them. Same as they do to any of our complaints - ignore and do exactly what they want to do.
Will we ever, ever learn we are stronger when we work together in the party instead of continually eating our own under the guize of "pure conservatism" or, in reality, purely childish tirades to boost our own petty egos?
I would frankly like to see a few just stand up here and let the dems know - "back-off".
Oh puh-leaze. Even if Gonzalez did anything worthy of being fired, I wouldn't want to get rid of him with Harry Reid's filibuster-happy crowd in control of the Senate. They haven't yet voted on a replacement for John Bolton, have they?
The real scandal is that NOBODY ever gets fired in the DC bureaucracy! The great Jack Welch, former CEO of GE, would famously demand of his managers that the cull out the lowest 10-20% of performer each year, arguing that there is always a bell-curve, and that there always are sub-par performers (by definition). Only in government bureaucracies does incompetence get rewarded again and again by that blind eye of neglect.
My old firm did exactly that, and I'm sure we were not alone.
Was it not Clinton who, in 1993, fired all but one U.S. Attorney--most appointed by Republicans? Where was the outcry then?
I'm seeing conflicting reports on this and I don't remember myself which is correct:
Did GWB also fire all (or most) US Atty's following is election or did he not?
Dunno yet. Found this though:
"One of President Clintons very first official acts upon taking office in 1993 was to fire every United States attorney then serving except one, Michael Chertoff, now Homeland Security secretary but then U.S. attorney for the District of New Jersey, who was kept on only because a powerful New Jersey Democrat, Sen. Bill Bradley, specifically requested his retention."
you might be interested in this
The dems have the media that carries the plan for them and we have never learned to fight back against the dems.
Reagan never seemed to have that problem, did he.
I certainly agree with that!
I found this little exchange at NPR (it doesn't matter who, just a couple of pant stains posing as NPR journalists). I just marvel at the amount of shit these guys can shovel and not gag on the stench.
How unusual is it for a U.S. attorney to be fired?
It's very unusual. Richard Nixon fired one when he was in office. [Jimmy] Carter fired a U.S. attorney who was making an investigation of a Democratic House member that he wanted to keep in office. Bill Clinton fired one. But it's really very rare for this to happen.
In this case it was eight attorneys.
That is close to unprecedented. I did a book on the Justice Department, and I just have never seen something like this.
Now, that being said, when a president comes into office, historically, all the U.S. attorneys leave. And he appoints a new set of these individuals there are about 90 of them.
I guess we're supposed to learn from this exchange that when Bill Clinton came into office and all 93 U.S. attorneys abruptly cleaned out their offices and left at the same time to be replaced by a new set of individuals it was NOT because they were FIRED by the new administration. No, of course not. They just LEFT. Because that's what HISTORICALLY happens. ALL the U.S. attorneys JUST LEAVE. On their OWN. For NO REASON!
Pardon me if I sound a little bit incredulous.
I wasn't into politics much in those days either but Reagan was known as The Great Communicator. If you Google it you get Reagan tributes.
Well, that is that. Reagan is gone.
We have a George Bush and I am thankful we had him as I can not imagine going through 9/11 with Al Gore.
We failed in not giving support to him and in not fighting the democrats each and every turn. So much easier to feel we are being conservative by threatening to withdraw support if Bush does not do............
We are a bunch of idiots who will never, ever be able to band together and fight. We are lazy, childish, and unrealistic.
And the democrats never give up - but, oh, we do. You see it was because Bush was not perfect - not anything to do with our laziness, childishness, and total inability to stand and fight.
Oh Lord! The very thought!
We failed in not giving support to him
WE?! Listen, GW palmed off the "Uniter" crap on people that trusted him. The voters. WE have been screaming since he let Clinton off the hook for trashing the WH. DON'T even go there.
As I have said many times on here. If you want only to blame George Bush - go to DU.
I will not waste time giving you more and more opportunity to bash the only man in Washington doing anything FOR us. You don't complain about the congress, you don't complain or fight the democrats - you, in your superiority, choose only the cowardly, easy attacks on George Bush.
You are not needed here if that is your goal.
The Dems are really after Heather Wilson (R-New Mexico) and her compalaining about the US Attorney's office. There were a lot of irregularities in 2000, 2002, and 2006 in New Mexico. I don't believe the US Attorney ever moved on this, at least I never heard a thing about it, and I wondered why.
And you know this how? That's some of the silliest crap that I've read in awhile. I wasn't elected President. Fighting Dems wasn't my job.
You are not needed here if that is your goal.
Last time I checked, JimRob runs FR.
AND, I'm not a Republican. I'm a Conservative. And no man is my god.
And apparently your job is to trash George Bush while ignoring what is going on in our government.
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