Tuesday, August 11, 2009

An Old Question Answered

Quite some time ago, back when the Bush Administration suddenly fired eight U.S. Attorneys with what amounted to no explanation whatsoever, I wrote this:

So, the question remains, who really authorized the firings? Clearly, it wasn't Catherine Martin or Harriet Miers. They might have had the authority to fire someone in their own departments, but that's about it. The "juice", to coin a term, needed to fire someone in another department lies elsewhere in the White House.

Who Fired The USA Eight?

It now appears that we have an answer for at least one of those eight USAs, and it's none other than Mr. Douchenozzle himself, as Talking Points Memo relates:

Perhaps the key takeaway from the just released documents on the U.S. attorney firings is this:

Karl Rove claimed recently that he and his staff acted merely as a conduit for passing on concerns about David Iglesias. But it's now clear that Rove's office pushed from 2005 for Iglesias to be canned, and was intimately involved in the decision.

Docs Show Rove Pushed For Iglesias Firing

Rove certainly did have the "juice" (a term used in the documents available at that time, by the way). He was on my short list of suspects, mainly because it had been clear for some time that he was after Iglesias' head, among others. Until now, though, there hadn't really been a paper trail to prove his connection. That is no longer true. Part of that "paper" is apparently an interview former White House Counsel Harriet Meirs had with the House Judiciary committee:

In a June 15 interview with House investigators, former White House Counsel Harriet Miers detailed a remarkable 2006 contact with Karl Rove, then on the road in New Mexico, regarding US Attorney David Iglesias.

Rove, Miers recalled, was "very agitated" about Iglesias, who was later ousted in the Bush Administration's purge of US Attorneys. Rove was getting "barraged" with complains by "political people that were active in New Mexico."

'Very Agitated' Rove Called Miers From New Mexico To Complain About Iglesias

For those just tuning in, the problem with these firings, along with their seemingly abrupt and arbitrary nature, was that in at least the case of five of those USAs, it was alleged that the reason they were fired was because they refused to press bogus vote fraud cases in the interest of enhancing the chances of Republicans in their district. As Miers testified, Iglesias' case was particularly blatant:

President George W. Bush and Karl Rove, the former White House political adviser, both appear to have helped orchestrate the firing of former New Mexico U.S. Attorney David Iglesias after receiving numerous complaints from Republican activists that the federal prosecutor would not pursue charges of voter fraud, according to a report on the U.S. attorney purge released Monday by the Justice Department’s internal watchdog.

The 390-page report is the culmination of an 18-month joint investigation by Inspector General Glenn Fine and the head of the agency’s Office of Professional Responsibility, H. Marshall Jarrett. Their report concluded that Iglesias’s firing was the most “controversial” and that his dismissal was “engineered” by New Mexico GOP lawmakers Sen. Pete Domenici, Congresswoman Heather Wilson and former White House political adviser Karl Rove over complaints about Iglesias’s refusal to secure indictments in voter fraud cases and in a public corruption case.

Many election integrity experts believe claims of voter fraud are a ploy by Republicans to suppress minorities and poor people from voting. Historically, those groups tend to vote for Democratic candidates. Raising red flags about the integrity of the ballots, experts believe, is an attempt by GOP operatives to swing elections to their candidates as well as an attempt to use the fear of criminal prosecution to discourage individuals from voting in future races.

Bush’s Concerns About Voter Fraud Led To Iglesias’s Firing

What will become of this now is a good question. Certainly, such attempts at meddling shouldn't go uncorrected, but at this point I don't know what can be done.

Perhaps in a year or two we'll be able to answer that question.

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