Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Senate Ethics Probe of Domenici Intensifies

Uh oh. According to a report by Jason Leopold and Matt Renner of Truthout, Sen. Pete Domenici could be facing more bad news about his late 2006 phone call to then U.S. Attorney David Iglesias of New Mexico. Iglesias has testified before Congress that he interpreted the call to his home as "pressure" by Domenici to rush an indictment in a corruption case as election day neared. Excerpts:

The US Senate Select Committee on Ethics has stepped up its probe of Pete Domenici, the Republican senator from New Mexico ... Over the past couple of weeks, the Ethics Committee has been interviewing witnesses - including staffers from the US attorney's office in New Mexico - who were privy to a phone call Domenici made to Iglesias last November ... according to the senior staffers.

... According to some senior staffers working for lawmakers who sit on the Ethics Committee, the six-month preliminary investigation into Domenici has turned up enough evidence to open a formal, public investigation into the New Mexico senator, having determined that Domenici acted inappropriately and that he may have violated Senate Ethics rules when he called Iglesias to ask whether Aragon would be indicted before the state's voters went to the polls last year.

But it's unclear if the Ethics Committee will end up launching a formal probe. A sticking point, Ethics Committee staffers say, is the long-standing "ethics truce" between Democrats and Republicans that dates back to the mid-1990s where lawmakers from both political parties agreed not to file ethics complaints against each other.

Oh that's a good excuse, isn't it? Just what we need, an "ethics truce." You might want to contact members of the Senate Ethics Committee to urge them to responsibly carry out their duties instead of playing patsy with their friends across the aisle.

The Truthout piece also reports that the House Ethics Committee is continuing to pursue its preliminary investigation into similar claims involving Rep. Heather Wilson (NM-01).

If you'd like to help defeat Domenici and Wilson, consider making a donation -- no matter how small -- to the New Mexico netroots Beat Back Bush New Mexico fundraising page at ActBlue that supports the candidacies of Don Wiviott for Senate and Martin Heinrich for Congress.

To read our previous posts about the firing of U.S. Attorney David Iglesias, visit our archive.

September 19, 2007 at 03:14 PM in 2008 NM Senate Race, Ethics & Campaign Reform, Local Politics, U.S. Attorney Iglesias | Permalink | Comments (2)

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

All Three NM Repubs Make CREW's Most Corrupt in Congress List

Today, the nonpartisan Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) released its third annual report on the most corrupt members of Congress. The report, entitled Beyond DeLay: The 22 Most Corrupt Members of Congress (and two to watch), catalogues the corruption in the 110th Congress and documents the unethical and possibly illegal activities of its most tainted members. CREW has compiled the members’ transgressions and analyzed them in light of federal laws and congressional rules.

The misdeeds of New Mexico's entire Republican Congressional delegation -- Sen. Pete Domenici, Rep. Heather Wilson (NM-01) and Rep. Steve Pearce (NM-02) -- placed them among the top 22 offenders out of 535 members of Congress.

CREW also has re-launched the report’s website, BeyondDelay.com. The site offers short summaries of each member’s transgressions as well as the full-length profiles and all accompanying exhibits. I'm providing a summary of the transgressions of New Mexico's Republicans, but be sure to click on their names to access the complete reports:

Sen. Pete Domenici
Summary: Former NM U.S. Attorney David Iglesias has claimed that Sen. Domenici contacted him before the November 2006 elections to pressure him about an ongoing corruption probe into state Democrats. Iglesias previously stated that in mid-October, he was pressured about the pace of the investigation by two NM lawmakers. Initially, when asked about Iglesias’s allegations, Domenici stated, “I have no idea what he’s talking about.” Apparently, Rep. Heather Wilson first called Iglesias and Domenici called a week later. Domenici later admitted that he called Iglesias, stating “I asked Mr. Iglesias if he could tell me what was going on in that investigation and give me an idea of what time frame we were looking at."

Rep. Heather Wilson
Summary: The former U.S. Attorney in Albuquerque, David Iglesias, stated that, in mid-October 2006, two members of Congress from New Mexico pressured him about an ongoing corruption probe of state Democrats. Apparently, Rep. Wilson first called Iglesias and Sen. Pete Domenici called a week later. After Domenici admitted that he called Iglesias, Wilson finally admitted that she too had called the U.S. Attorney. Wilson stated that she contacted Iglesias to complain about the pace of his public corruption investigation. She claimed, “I did not ask about the timing of any indictments and I did not tell Mr. Iglesias what course of action I thought he should take or pressure him in any way. The conversation was brief and professional.”

Rep. Steve Pearce
Summary: 1) Rep. Pearce was the president of Lea Fishing Tools, Inc. In the fall of 2003, Pearce sold the company’s assets to Texas-based Key Energy, in exchange for 542,477 shares of common stock, but failed to include the transaction on his 2003 financial disclosure report. In that report Pearce indicated that he was the president of Trinity Industries, Inc., “F/K/A Lea Fishing Tools, Inc.,” and that he held between $5 and $25 million of stock in the company. Given that all of Lea Fishing Tools’ assets were transferred to Key Energy, it appears that Trinity Industries may be a holding company for the Key Energy stock, but this is unclear.

After selling Lea Fishing Tools’ assets to Key Energy, Pearce was required to report the sale on his financial disclosure form as a transaction, but he failed to do so. By failing to list the sale, Pearce appears to have violated the Ethics in Government Act.

2) Rep. Pearce has been a consistent and strong advocate of drilling in Otero Mesa, NM despite environmentalists and the Bureau of Land Management’s (BLM) assertion that only a minuscule amount of oil and natural gas lie beneath the grasslands. Pearce, however, contends that drilling in the area would keep natural gas prices level and create jobs thereby stimulating the state’s economy. Initially, the BLM opposed opening the area arguing that drilling would both directly and indirectly destruct the habitat for wildlife. In 2000, however, BLM reversed its decision and proposed a plan that would open nearly 1.4 million acres to drilling. The BLM turnaround coincided with the largest lease holder in the Otero Mesa, Yates Petroleum, donating over $230,000 to the GOP over the last three election cycles.

Yates Petroleum also has been the single largest donor to Pearce’s campaign committees since 2002 with $32,490 in donations. Individually, members of the Yates family have contributed $78,379.99 to Pearce since he first ran for office in 2002. If Rep. Pearce advocated opening up Otero Mesa to drilling in exchange for campaign contributions, he may have violated the bribery statute or accepted illegal gratuities.

Bad Company
The complete list of the most corrupt members of Congress according to CREW:

Members of House:                     Members of the Senate:
Rep. Ken Calvert (R-CA)               Sen. Pete Domenici (R-NM)
Rep. John T. Doolittle (R-CA)        Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY)
Rep. Tom Feeney (R-FL)               Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-AK)
Rep. Doc Hastings (R-WA)            Sen. Ted Stevens (R-AK)
Rep. Duncan Hunter (R-CA)
Rep. William Jefferson (D-LA)       Dishonorable Mention:
Rep. Jerry Lewis (R-CA)                Sen. Larry Craig (R-ID)
Rep. Gary G. Miller (R-CA)            Sen. David Vitter (R-LA)
Rep. Alan B. Mollohan (D-WV)
Rep. Timothy F. Murphy (R-PA)
Rep. John P. Murtha (D-PA)
Rep. Steve Pearce (R-NM)
Rep. Rick Renzi (R-AZ)
Rep. Harold Rogers (R-KY)
Rep. David Scott (D-GA)
Rep. Don Young (R-AK)
Rep. Jerry Weller (R-IL)
Rep. Heather A. Wilson (R-NM)

“Every year CREW creates this compendium of corruption to expose and hold accountable those members of Congress who believe they are above the law,” Melanie Sloan, executive director of CREW said today. “With the third edition of Beyond DeLay it has become abundantly clear that many public officials believe that the rules don’t apply to them.”

Several members in the study are already under federal investigation including: Reps. Calvert, Doolittle, Feeney, Jefferson, Lewis, Miller, Mollohan, Murphy, Renzi and Young, as well as Senator Stevens.

Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) is a non-profit, nonpartisan legal watchdog group dedicated to holding public officials accountable for their actions. For more information, you can visit www.citizensforethics.org or contact Naomi Seligman Steiner at 202.408.5565 or nseligman@citizensforethics.org.

September 18, 2007 at 03:14 PM in 2008 NM Senate Race, Crime, Ethics & Campaign Reform, NM-01 Congressional Race 2008, NM-02 Congressional Race 2008, U.S. Attorney Iglesias | Permalink | Comments (3)

Thursday, September 06, 2007

Rove Paid Homage to Domenici on Bush Visit to NM

Rovejive

Turns out Karl Rove was on a stealth mission with The Decider when Bush zoomed into Albuquerque on August 27th to attend a big dollar fundraiser for Sen. Pete Domenici at the home of Los Ranchos de Albuquerque Mayor Larry Abraham. According to a report by Jeff Jones in today's Albuquerque Journal (which I can't find online), Abraham told him he rode back to Kirtland Air Foce Base in the presidential limo with both Bush and Rove after the luncheon fundraiser.

There had been no previous mention of Rove's presence in New Mexico with Bush, probably with good reason. Testimony and emails have linked Rove with the U.S. Attorney firing scandal in no uncertain terms. And Domenici and NM GOP operatives were clearly enmeshed with Rove in the unethical political maneuvering that unsuccessfully pressured New Mexico's former U.S. Attorney, David Iglesias, to file bogus "voter fraud" cases and rush indictments in the Albuquerque courthouse case before the November 2006 election. Domenici and other New Mexican Repubs, you may recall, reportedly urged Rove and others to see that Iglesias was fired when he didn't buckle under their pressure.

Iglesias was back in the news recently when Alberto Gonzales finally resigned in disgrace. He's quoted in an article in the Albuquerque Tribune:

"Alberto Gonzales is not solely responsible for my illicit firing. People like (Sen.) Pete Domenici also were responsible," Iglesias told The Tribune.

Iglesias said he believes Karl Rove, former White House deputy chief of staff, "cooked up" the plan to fire the U.S. attorneys with the aid of people such as Domenici, the Albuquerque Republican who today hosted President Bush at a fund-raiser in Los Ranchos de Albuquerque

Since Rove's last day on the job was August 31st, one of his last acts while on the White House payroll was to jet here to see his old cronies in the New Mexico GOP. Rove apparently thought it important to touch base with Domenici, helping him raise cash while undoubtedly urging him to continue his support for Bush's miserably misbegotten Iraq occupation. I'm sure Karl also made a point of hugging Pat Rogers, Mickey Barnett and Repub Party Chair Allen Weh, who were so instrumental in attempting to execute Rove's long running battleground state "voter fraud" strategy to disenfranchise and discourage Dem voters. The three, along with Domenici and Rep. Heather Wilson, were also heavily involved in the process that led to former U.S. Attorney David Iglesias getting fired.

DomencibushTo refresh your memory, Domenici and Weh reportedly urged Rove to pass along the word to Bush and Alberto Gonzales that they wanted Iglesias fired for refusing to make the U.S. Attorney's Office in New Mexico an arm of the GOP political operation. Soon afterwards, Iglesias was gone.

Check out the discussion about the involvement of Rogers and Barnett in our post from May of this year. Also be sure to revisit the excellent piece by James Scarantino from the May 24-30, 2007 edition of the alibi that details the shady dealings of Pat Rogers, Pete Domenici and Rove related to the "voter fraud" campaign and Iglesias' firing.

No wonder Rove accompanied the president to New Mexico last month. He wanted to link up once again with the New Mexico Repubs who were such important cogs in the machine Rove created to politicize the U.S. Department of Justice and make the federal government just another element of his grand plan for GOP dominance at the polls. Oh to have been a fly on the wall when Rove reunited with his New Mexico GOP hit team to reminisce and plot one last time before he left his post at the White House to pursue who knows what. I'm sure Rove wanted to remind his cronies to stick with the party line in any future proceedings in DC about the attorney firings. After all, neither Domenici nor Wilson have yet to be cleared of wrongdoing in their admitted calls to Iglesias before the 2006 election. Silence is golden, and loose lips sink ships -- even ships of state.

For a collection of our previous posts on the firing of David Iglesias and the U.S. Attorney scandal, visit our archive.

September 6, 2007 at 11:41 AM in 2008 NM Senate Race, Crime, Election Reform & Voting, Local Politics, NM-01 Congressional Race 2008, U.S. Attorney Iglesias | Permalink | Comments (1)

Saturday, August 25, 2007

NM Democrats to Protest Bush's Support of 'Pajama Pete'

From the Democratic Party of New Mexico:

Activists Will Launch Pajama Collection Drive
Albuquerque, NM - As New Mexicans brace for George W. Bush's fundraising visit, the Democratic Party of New Mexico will join with a coalition of organizations to call attention to Senator Pete Domenici's slumberous attitude concerning working families' priorities. 

Bring Pajamas
GeopeteOn Sunday, August 26 at Kelly's Brew Pub in Albuquerque, 3222 Central Ave. SE, Democrats will collect new and used pajamas for protesters to wear at a rally on the day Bush arrives [see below]. The pajamas will be donated to charity after the Monday event. 

"It's time for Senator Domenici to wake up and focus on the important issues that affect all New Mexicans, including jobs, health care, and ending the war in Iraq," said Chairman of the Democratic Party of New Mexico Brian Colon.

SUNDAY, AUGUST 26, 2007, 1-3 PM
DEMOCRATS AND PEOPLE AGAINST PETE
PAJAMA COLLECTION DRIVE & SIGN MAKING
KELLY'S BREW PUB
3222 CENTRAL AVE. SE, ALBUQUERQUE

Petition to Demand Domenici and Wilson Come Clean
The pajama collection drive will be backed by a petition demanding that Domenici and Rep. Heather Wilson come clean about their involvement in the U.S. Attorney scandal and testify under oath about the pressure they put on former U.S. Attorney David Iglesias to push politically sensitive indictments into the courts just before the November, 2006, election.

JammiesDomenici is also known as "Pajama Pete" because he was spotted wandering the halls of Congress wearing clothes that closely resembled pajamas. He has tried to claim that he was wearing hunting gear.

Editor's note: More on the pajamas/hunting pants incident: from Raw Story.

Pjpete
(h/t Land of Enchantment)

Where's the Monday Pajamas Demonstration?
The rally against Bush's visit to the Albuquerque area for the big dollar fundraiser for Domenici in Los Ranchos on Monday, August 27th, will be at the corner of Rio Grande NW and Green Valley in Los Ranchos, just north of the Village Hall at 6718 Rio Grande NW (map). Ample parking available at the Los Ranchos Village Tennis Courts just south of Village Hall (north of Chavez Rd). Meeting at 8:30 AM.

August 25, 2007 at 12:46 AM in 2008 NM Senate Race, Democratic Party, Economy, Populism, Events, Iraq War, U.S. Attorney Iglesias | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, August 17, 2007

Fired U.S. Attorney David Iglesias Signs Book Deal

This can't hurt Dems' chances against Pete Domenici and Heather Wilson. According to TPMmuckraker:

The book promises to focus on Iglesias' experiences as a U.S. attorney in the Bush administration and his role in the scandal, before and after the firing. It's anticipated to be released in April, 2008.

Also, we hear that the book will spend some time discussing Iglesias' handling of voter fraud cases -- how the administration directed Iglesias' focus on the issue, and how that direction made Iglesias uncomfortable. Remember that Republicans all the way on up to Karl Rove and President Bush were frustrated with Iglesias' failure to indict liberals for alleged instances of voter fraud. Apparently Iglesias was no stranger to such pressure.

August 17, 2007 at 11:58 AM in Books, Crime, Election Reform & Voting, Ethics & Campaign Reform, U.S. Attorney Iglesias | Permalink | Comments (2)

Monday, August 13, 2007

The End (and Beginning) of Rove


Watch till the end to see the future "brain of Bush" working at Nixon's Committee to Re-Elect the President in 1972.

Ah, sweet sorrow, as reported in the Washington Post:

Rove's voice and face betrayed emotion as he then offered his farewell. "I'm grateful to have been a witness to history," he said. "It has been the joy and the honor of a lifetime." Rove added that when he leaves, he will become one of those "ordinary Americans who tell you they are praying for you."

... Rove, 56, who escaped indictment in the CIA leak case, has been under scrutiny by the new Democratic Congress for his role in the firings of U.S. attorneys and in a series of political briefings provided to various agencies across government. Citing executive privilege, he defied a subpoena and refused to show up for a congressional hearing just two weeks ago on the allegedly improper use by White House aides of Republican National Committee e-mail accounts. Fellow Bush advisers have said they believe the congressional probes have been aimed in part at driving Rove out.

But, but, "The White House said Rove's departure was unrelated to the investigations." Right.

RovegeoHere's what Senate Judiciary Committee Chair Patrick Leahy had to say in a statement today:

“Earlier this month, Karl Rove failed to comply with the Judiciary Committee’s subpoena to testify about the mass firings of United States Attorneys. Despite evidence that he played a central role in these firings, just as he did in the Libby case involving the outing of an undercover CIA agent and improper political briefings at over 20 government agencies, Mr. Rove acted as if he was above the law. That is wrong. Now that he is leaving the White House while under subpoena, I continue to ask what Mr. Rove and others at the White House are so desperate to hide. Mr. Rove’s apparent attempts to manipulate elections and push out prosecutors citing bogus claims of voter fraud shows corruption of federal law enforcement for partisan political purposes, and the Senate Judiciary Committee will continue its investigation into this serious issue.

“The list of senior White House and Justice Department officials who have resigned during the course of these congressional investigations continues to grow, and today, Mr. Rove added his name to that list. There is a cloud over this White House, and a gathering storm. A similar cloud envelopes Mr. Rove, even as he leaves the White House.” [emphasis mine]

The plot thickens ....

August 13, 2007 at 06:00 PM in Civil Liberties, Crime, Election Reform & Voting, Ethics & Campaign Reform, U.S. Attorney Iglesias | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Rep. Tom Udall to Cosponsor Gonzales Impeachment Resolution

The plot thickens. An AP story reports Rep. Tom Udall (D-NM3) will join other House Dems today in introducing a resolution directing the U.S. House Judiciary Committee to investigate whether to impeach Alberto Gonzales:

Rep. Jay Inslee, D-Wash., who was a prosecutor in Washington state in the late 1970s and 1980s, is the lead sponsor of the measure.

Co-sponsors of the resolution include Democratic Reps. Xavier Becerra of California, Michael Arcuri of New York, Ben Chandler of Kentucky, Dennis Moore of Kansas, Bruce Braley of Iowa and Tom Udall of New Mexico.

July 31, 2007 at 09:46 AM in Civil Liberties, Crime, Ethics & Campaign Reform, Impeachment, U.S. Attorney Iglesias | Permalink | Comments (5)

Cheney in Albuquerque Monday 8.6.07

Cheneyhighschool
Cheney's high school yearbook photo

VP Dick Cheney will emerge from his cave in an undisclosed location and be in Albuquerque on Monday, August 6. He's set to address the joint opening session of the Marine Corps League's national convention at the Marriott Hotel located at 2101 Louisiana Boulevard NE. According to the meeting agenda, Cheney will be speaking to the convention from 10:30 to 11:00 AM. No word yet on any other events scheduled for Dick while he's in town.

I wonder if he'll try to raise some bucks for the faltering Repub team while here. Or maybe he'll just have a conversation or two with Pat Rogers or another of the NM Repub biggies about how to illegally keep Democratic voters off the rolls with voter caging techniques or trumped up claims of "voter fraud."

As we previously reported, Bush himself will be attending a fundraiser for Sen. Pete Domenici in New Mexico sometime in late August.

Karl Rove must be fretting about the GOP's chances in New Mexico in 2008. With the House Ethics Committee meeting behind closed doors to hear testimony about  Rep. Heather Wilson's pressuring phone call to fired U.S. Attorney David Iglesias, Sen. Pete Domenici entangled in a similar controversy on the Senate side and Rep. Steve Pearce voting against a recent House resolution to establish that permanent bases won't be built in Iraq (that passed by a 399-24 margin), Rove has his work cut out for him.

July 31, 2007 at 09:07 AM in 2008 NM Senate Race, Election Reform & Voting, Events, Local Politics, NM-01 Congressional Race 2008, NM-02 Congressional Race 2008, U.S. Attorney Iglesias | Permalink | Comments (10)

Iglesias to Testify to House Ethics Committee on Pressure Call From Heather Wilson

Oh to be a fly on the wall. As reported by Jason Leopold at Truthout:

David Iglesias, the former US attorney for New Mexico who was fired last year along with eight other federal prosecutors, will testify Wednesday before the House Ethics Committee about a phone call he received from Representative Heather Wilson (R-New Mexico), who queried Iglesias about the status of public corruption cases he was pursuing in the state.

In a brief interview Monday, Iglesias said he will testify in a closed-door session of the Ethics Committee about the call he received from Wilson last October. The committee has opened a preliminary investigation into allegations that Wilson violated House ethics rules by calling Iglesias to find out about corruption cases involving Democrats weeks before last year's midterm elections. Wilson faced a tough reelection campaign last fall.

July 31, 2007 at 07:00 AM in Crime, Ethics & Campaign Reform, NM-01 Congressional Race 2008, U.S. Attorney Iglesias | Permalink | Comments (1)

Sunday, July 29, 2007

NY Times Editorial: Impeach Gonzales

Sliceconst
© 2007 Stephen Pitt

Well, it would be a start. Read the editorial: Mr. Gonzales’s Never-Ending Story.

July 29, 2007 at 07:00 AM in Civil Liberties, Crime, Ethics & Campaign Reform, U.S. Attorney Iglesias | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, July 27, 2007

Must See TV Tonight on NOW: Repub Plan to Disqualify Dem Voters in NM, Other Battleground States

Iglesias1Tonight, July 27, 2007 at 8:00 PM Mountain Time on PBS' NOW on KNME: How Secure Is Your Right to Vote? Those interviewed include investigative journalist Greg Palast, who has done extensive work on the issue in New Mexico and elsewhere. (Check local listings.) NOW investigates a secret Republican plan designed to disqualify voters by various means including voter caging:

Was there a White House plot to illegally suppress votes in 2004? Is there a similar plan for the upcoming elections? NOW examines documents and evidence pointing to a Republican Party plan designed to keep Democrats from voting, by targeting people based on their race and ethnicity. Congress is investigating, and so are we. NOW speaks with David Iglesias, one of eight fired US attorneys, who says he lost his job because he refused to go along with the White House plan to suppress votes.

Was the White House involved? David Iglesias, one of the fired U.S. Attorneys, thinks so: "It's reprehensible. It's unethical, it's unlawful. It may very well be criminal." Iglesias told NOW he was repeatedly urged by his superiors at the Justice Department to investigate allegations of false voter registrations. After his investigations came up short, Iglesias said Republican officials got angry, complained to White House aide Karl Rove. Soon after Iglesias lost his job. As a result of allegations by Iglesias and others, Congress is investigating whether the White House acted unlawfully.

The NOW website also reveals key emails and documents covered in their investigation and also features an extended interview with David Iglesias, as well as one with another fired U.S. Attorney, Bud Collins. Excerpts of Iglesias interview:

NOW: It wasn't only officials at the Department of Justice who were expressing an interest in pursuing such [voter fraud] cases. You were getting requests from other individuals, correct?

DI: That's correct. In fact, there was a Republican attorney, Pat Rogers, who was a prominent local attorney who tried to pressure me to come up with cases. He would send emails to my assistant, who I had tasked with running this election fraud taskforce ... And I had lunch with Mr. Rogers last fall and he expressed his concern about what he believed to be this systemic, ongoing election fraud. I did not know at the time that he belonged to an organization called the American Center for Voting Rights. He did not disclose to me that he was representing any other interest. And I've also found out that the Republican Party was very interested in stamping out what it believed to be instances of voter fraud.

NOW: The State Republican Party or the National Republican Party?

DI: Both. But who contacted me or some of my assistants was the State Republican Party.

... NOW: In one press account you're quoted as characterizing Mr. Rogers' interest in this issue as "obsessive."

DI: Yes. I was aware of grumbling within the State Republican Party. I had friends of mine who were attorneys. One was a former federal prosecutor himself and he would tell me during the course of early 2005 through mid-2006 ... "The Republicans are still upset with you. They still expect you to prosecute cases."

So I knew there was this belief that was I intentionally not prosecuting prosecutable cases. And I knew Rogers, as a prominent Republican, who had actually represented the State Republican Party in some civil litigation related to the voter ID issue ... I knew he was interested in the issue. And then I was also aware of the emails and phone calls he had been leaving with my assistant, who I had tasked with prosecuting this. So I knew there was a tremendous amount of dissatisfaction of me not prosecuting any cases.

What I believed, however, was consistent with historic practice—that the Justice Department would insulate me from any partisan political pressure. As it turns out, they didn't do that. And that was one of the bases for forcing my resignation.

... 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.

July 27, 2007 at 02:38 PM in Candidates & Races, Crime, Election Reform & Voting, Ethics & Campaign Reform, Local Politics, Media, U.S. Attorney Iglesias | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, July 26, 2007

At Last! Leahy Subpoenas Rove (and Jennings)

You can find the subpoenas, cover letters and Sen. Patrick Leahy's floor statement today (video and text) right here. The vibrations in the battle against a lawless White House just moved up an octave in intensity and speed ....

"... Stonewalling this congressional investigation is further demonstration that this Administration refuses to abide by the rule of law."

“... The evidence shows that senior White House political operatives were focused on the political impact of federal prosecutions and whether federal prosecutors were doing enough to bring partisan voter fraud and corruption cases.  It is obvious that the reasons given for the firings of these prosecutors were contrived as part of a cover up and that the stonewalling by the White House is part and parcel of that same effort,” Leahy said.  “The Bush-Cheney White House continues to place great strains on our constitutional system of checks and balances.  Not since the darkest days of the Nixon Administration have we seen efforts to corrupt federal law enforcement for partisan political gain and such efforts to avoid accountability.”

"... E-mails show that Mr. Rove initiated inquires at least by the beginning of 2005 as to how to proceed regarding the dismissal and replacement of U.S. Attorneys.  The evidence also shows that he raised political concerns, including those of New Mexico Republican leaders, about New Mexico U.S. Attorney David Iglesias that may have led to his dismissal.  He was fired a few weeks after Mr. Rove complained to the Attorney General about the lack of purported “voter fraud” enforcement cases in his jurisdiction."

"...With our service of these subpoenas, I hope that the White House takes this opportunity to reconsider its blanket claim of executive privilege, especially in light of the testimony that President was not involved in the dismissals of these U.S. Attorneys.  I hope that the White House steps back from this constitutional crisis of its own making so that we can begin to repair the damage done by its untoward interference with federal law enforcement.  That interference has threatened our elections and seriously undercut the American people’s confidence in the independence and evenhandedness of law enforcement.  Mr. Rove and the White House must not be allowed to continue manipulating our justice system to pursue a partisan political agenda.  Apparently, this White House would rather precipitate an unnecessary constitutional confrontation than do what every other Administration has done and find and accommodation with the Congress. If there are any cooler or wiser heads at the White House, I urge them to reconsider the course they have chosen.

"There is a cloud over this White House and a gathering storm.  I hope they will reconsider their course and end their cover up so that we can move forward together to repair the damage done to the Department of Justice and the American people’s trust and confidence in federal law enforcement." [emphais mine]

You really, really should read or watch the entire statement. Constitutional crisis, here we come.

July 26, 2007 at 04:59 PM in Crime, Ethics & Campaign Reform, U.S. Attorney Iglesias | Permalink | Comments (4)