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Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Iglesias: Why I Was Fired

Fired U.S. Attorney David Iglesias makes his case in a New York Times op-ed. After reviewing the documents released by the Justice Department, he concludes the evidence is clear that he was fired not for job performance issues, but for political reasons. Iglesias ends by saying, "only a written retraction by the Justice Department setting the record straight regarding my performance would settle the issue for me." Excerpts:

United States attorneys have a long history of being insulated from politics. Although we receive our appointments through the political process (I am a Republican who was recommended by Senator Pete Domenici), we are expected to be apolitical once we are in office. I will never forget John Ashcroft, then the attorney general, telling me during the summer of 2001 that politics should play no role during my tenure. I took that message to heart. Little did I know that I could be fired for not being political.

Politics entered my life with two phone calls that I received last fall, just before the November election. One came from Representative Heather Wilson and the other from Senator Domenici, both Republicans from my state, New Mexico.

As for the continued yammering by Bush-Rove-Gonzales apologists that Iglesias was incompetent or worse in "refusing" to issue indictments for alleged "voter fraud" crimes in New Mexico, he says:

As this story has unfolded these last few weeks, much has been made of my decision to not prosecute alleged voter fraud in New Mexico. Without the benefit of reviewing evidence gleaned from F.B.I. investigative reports, party officials in my state have said that I should have begun a prosecution. What the critics, who don’t have any experience as prosecutors, have asserted is reprehensible — namely that I should have proceeded without having proof beyond a reasonable doubt. The public has a right to believe that prosecution decisions are made on legal, not political, grounds.

... After reviewing more than 100 complaints of voter fraud, I felt there was one possible case that should be prosecuted federally. I worked with the F.B.I. and the Justice Department’s public integrity section. As much as I wanted to prosecute the case, I could not overcome evidentiary problems. The Justice Department and the F.B.I. did not disagree with my decision in the end not to prosecute.

March 21, 2007 at 12:08 PM in Crime, Ethics & Campaign Reform, Local Politics, U.S. Attorney Iglesias | Permalink


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