Bush DOJ officials cleared in firing of U.S. attorneys

Here’s something that, curiously, didn’t get much media play this week — certainly not in proportion to the attention the accusations got. From Politico:

The Justice Department said Wednesday that it did not intend to charge former Attorney General Alberto Gonzales or any other members of the Bush administration for their role in the firings of nine U.S. attorneys.

In a letter sent to House Judiciary Committee Chairman John Conyers (D-Mich.), Assistant Attorney General Ronald Weich said that Attorney General Eric Holder has accepted the recommendation of special counsel Nora Dannehy “that criminal prosecution is not warranted.”

The letter did note that Gonzales made “inaccurate and misleading” statements and that his chief of staff made “misleading” statements about the firings, which critics, including Conyers, charged were politically motivated — but said Justice had found “insufficient evidence” to press any charges.

Rep. John Conyers, a Michigan Democrat and chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, is trying to spin the conclusion as confirmation that the firings were political, just not criminal. Something tells me that the Obama Justice Department, with its lawsuit against Arizona’s immigration law and heavily criticized kid-glove treatment of the New Black Panther Party, doesn’t want to get caught up in a debate right now about just how much political consideration in decision-making is legitimate.

But even if we are talking about politicization, the Dannehy report points out that, in the most-discussed firing, that of the U.S. attorney for New Mexico, David Iglesias:

There also was insufficient evidence that anyone in the White House or DOJ [Department of Justice] sought to influence Mr. Iglesias to bring a voter fraud or public corruption case in advance of the November 2006 election, or at anytime. Furthermore, the investigative team concluded that the evidence established that Senator [Pete] Domenici contacted DOJ and the White House to seek Mr. Iglesias’s removal, not to ask the White House or DOJ to pressure Mr. Iglesias, and Mr. Iglesias was not aware of Senator Domenici’ s complaints to the White House or DOJ. Mr. Iglesias was not asked to resign until December 7, 2006, well after the election and after any actions that he might have taken would have affected the election. Likewise, the evidence did not show that anyone sought Mr. Iglesias’s removal in order to replace him with a United States Attorney who would act in a manner aimed at influencing the due administration of justice.

Although Senator Domenici’s motive for seeking Iglesias’s removal were in part politically motivated, a public official does not violate the law by seeking the removal of a United States Attorney for his failure either to pursue a particular case the official believes is legitimate or to pursue certain types of cases the official believes should be brought, even if the public official’s motives are partisan and inconsistent with the values of DOJ.

In any case, something tells me that, like most cases in the court of public opinion, the acquittal won’t catch up to the charges here.

110 comments Add your comment

Lutie Bascomb

July 23rd, 2010
10:42 am

Miles W. Rich

July 23rd, 2010
11:07 am

Wingfield, you sure know how to spin. The Justice Department decided not to prosecute, either because they did not believe that there was enough evidence to convict, or because they believed that the price of prosecution was not worth the reward. (their resources are not unlimited). But nowhere did they CLEAR the accused or say that there was no evidence to warrant prosecution. I am sure you would not claim because O.J. Simpson was found not guily of the murder of Nicole and the waiter that he was found innocent. He wasn’t, and these people were not cleared of the charges. When are you going to work for Fox News, or Andrew Breitbart? Your “journalistic skills” would blend in nicely with either of those organizations. You are a supreme right wing spinmeister.

Jefferson

July 23rd, 2010
11:15 am

Totally political. But that’s the way the system is.

CJ

July 23rd, 2010
11:16 am

Politico: “…Justice had found “insufficient evidence” to press any charges.

To be sure, not finding enough evidence to press charges is not the same as “clearing” or “acquitting” Bush DOJ officials.

Kyle Wingfield

July 23rd, 2010
11:35 am

OK, here’s what the Bush DOJ folks were guilty of: Believing that voter fraud is a crime that ought to be prosecuted. Now, do any of my liberal friends want to explain why that belief has become “politicized” in this country?

David Granger

July 23rd, 2010
11:40 am

Future presidents need to just do what the damn Clintons did to stop federal prosecutors from coming after them: Just fire every U.S. attorney in the country, and replace them with your own people.

Jefferson

July 23rd, 2010
11:43 am

One thing for sure, Bush knows how to commit Voter fraud and influence a FL Gov and AtGen. Without a doubt.

ByteMe

July 23rd, 2010
11:52 am

OK, here’s what the Bush DOJ folks were guilty of: Believing that voter fraud is a crime that ought to be prosecuted

That’s not what they believed at all. They believed that voter turnout that was not solidly in the Republican camp must be evidence of voter fraud. Same as they tried to push that belief in 2008. They lost both times because their messages suck, not because of voter fraud. But they tried to use Federal prosecutors to make the case that the Republican lost the race because of fraud instead of voters who just got tired of Republican BS. And the prosecutors that pushed back were fired because they weren’t “solid” enough for the White House.

But you keep spinning your theories….

CJ

July 23rd, 2010
12:03 pm

…do any of my liberal friends want to explain why [believing that voter fraud is a crime that ought to be prosecuted] has become “politicized” in this country?

Believing that voter fraud is a crime that ought to be prosecuted hasn’t been politicized from the left. Allegations and/or charges of voter fraud, fraud that didn’t take place, for political gain is the complaint.

Grand Forks

July 23rd, 2010
12:18 pm

“Bush DOJ officials cleared in firing of U.S. attorneys”

And left wingers are screaming! LOL

Grand Forks

July 23rd, 2010
12:19 pm

“Bush knows how to commit Voter fraud and influence a FL Gov and AtGen. Without a doubt.”

So why did Gore concede the race?

Grand Forks

July 23rd, 2010
12:21 pm

“You are a supreme right wing spinmeister.”

Someone has obviously never been to a Tucker or Bookman blog.

booger

July 23rd, 2010
12:25 pm

Miles,

You state that nowhere did they state that their was no evidence to warrent prosecution. Actually that is exactly what they said. Special counsel stated,” criminal prosecution is not warrented”.

Kyle Wingfield

July 23rd, 2010
12:27 pm

So…the absence of charges against Alberto Gonzales, et al., despite a two-year inquiry by a special investigator, which followed an earlier inquiry by the Office of the Inspector General — that’s four years of investigating the Bush DOJ, for those keeping score at home — doesn’t prove that they were innocent. But the limited number of voter-fraud convictions proves that voter fraud isn’t a problem?

Btw, the people at the heart of the dispute with Iglesias were successfully prosecuted and sentenced to prison on political corruption charges once a new U.S. attorney took over: http://bit.ly/afW0uE

But y’all keep spinning your theories…

Jefferson

July 23rd, 2010
12:29 pm

GF you got that 8th grade school girl “smarty pants” act going your way.

Hillbilly Deluxe

July 23rd, 2010
12:29 pm

Don’t all U S Attorneys serve at the pleasure of the Chief Executive, whomever that night be at the time?

Grand Forks

July 23rd, 2010
12:30 pm

“GF you got that 8th grade school girl “smarty pants” act going your way.”

Are you in to 8th grade girls, Jeff?

Jefferson

July 23rd, 2010
12:31 pm

See what I mean. Women GOP logic.

Grand Forks

July 23rd, 2010
12:32 pm

“But y’all keep spinning your theories…”

Like I said, most left wingers who can actually get into a college, get their degrees in poetry, pottery making, bong making, philosophy or art history.

Grand Forks

July 23rd, 2010
12:33 pm

“Women GOP logic.”

Left wingers are scared of GOP women. GOP women are hot, smart and make tons of money.

Grand Forks

July 23rd, 2010
12:34 pm

Jefferson finally got a piece of the pie.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p9y4iXAso4I

booger

July 23rd, 2010
12:49 pm

One of the most revealing parts of this column is your reference to the fact that this will not get much media coverage. These days the media pretty much only reports, All the news that supports our point of view.

On that same subject, last week the NYT ran three feature articles on why private industries are not hiring. All came to the conclusion that it had nothing to do with government policies. Many economists and proffesors were referenced, but not one columnist bothered to ask a manager of a business.

sam

July 23rd, 2010
12:59 pm

actually kyle, what the Bush DOJ was guilty of was hiring/firing of attorney’s based on political convictions…whether or not the new DOj wants to prosecute them, why would they? the DOJ has always been the most political of washington organizations and it always will be…however i dont recall an administration being so brazen as to openly ask candidates and current employees about political affiliations or religious beliefs, leave it to bush jr to come up with that one….god forbid there are people in your admin that dont think exactly as you do.

Dusty

July 23rd, 2010
1:01 pm

Kyle,

So glad you brought this up. How much attention do you think that proviing the innocence of a Bush official will get in the news? Very little, if any.

I hope historians will get all this straight as Democrats have made it their life’s goal to condemn George W. Bush. The constant and farcical intimidation by Democrats will go down as the darkest efforts in history against a sitting president. The slow process of bringng out the truth will eventually bring forth justice.

In the meantime, as you see here, Democrats are slow learners about the truth. The “slow” keep right on repeating their ignorance. As ’tis said..”So what’s new?”

David S

July 23rd, 2010
1:09 pm

The Bush administration appears to be getting away with every unconstitutional, immoral, illegal, and war criminal act it committed. Of course, being the way the executive branch is and our government now is, the next administration will likely let the current administration off the hook for all of the SAME criminal activities it has committed. Looking at the executive branch of our government over the past 150 years, it is of little wonder that they all get to get away with criminal behavior. The next administration certainly won’t prosecute since they are planning more of the same or worse than their predecessors.

I could really care less about some arbitrary firings. This is the smokescreen to take the public’s eye off the truly criminal behavior of Alberto Gonzales and the rest of the parasites that infested the white house at the beginning of this decade.

Grand Forks

July 23rd, 2010
1:14 pm

“The Bush administration appears to be getting away with every unconstitutional, immoral, illegal, and war criminal act it committed.”

Maybe you should go make a citizens arrest.

Grand Forks

July 23rd, 2010
1:15 pm

“In the meantime, as you see here, Democrats are slow learners about the truth. The’

Well Dusty, you know as well as I do, most democrat voters have low IQ’s.

Grand Forks

July 23rd, 2010
1:19 pm

Dusty, the beautiful and intelligent Michelle Malkin explains left wing retardation.

The Democrats’ War on the West

“Why do they hate us?” It’s a burning question on the minds of border-dwelling taxpayers, small-business owners, farmers, and Rocky Mountain oil and gas industry workers suffering under punitive Democrat policies. Eighteen months into the Barack Obama administration, the war on the American West is in full swing.

http://townhall.com/columnists/MichelleMalkin/2010/07/23/the_democrats_war_on_the_west

CJ

July 23rd, 2010
1:26 pm

Kyle,

Seriously? The absence of charges proves innocence? C’mon. I’m not suggesting that the relevant players in Bush’s DOJ are definitely guilty despite the “insufficient evidence” to press charges, but your proclamation of innocence is just as silly as what you’re accusing others of.

And nobody is or has suggested that voter-fraud isn’t a problem (it’s particularly a problem with absentee ballots where the right refuses to address it). The suggestion is that the problem of voter fraud at the polls is hyped for political gain.

Kyle Wingfield

July 23rd, 2010
1:26 pm

You’re correct, Hillbilly. Which is another reason this “scandal” was always overblown.

Chris Salzmann

July 23rd, 2010
1:27 pm

On the subject of being cleared, ACORN too was investigated, thanks to the many Republican ditto heads who believe everything that comes of FOX News and was cleared too.

Kyle Wingfield

July 23rd, 2010
1:29 pm

CJ, I was just trying to draw a distinction. But the better way to phrase it would have been “… doesn’t mean they weren’t guilty.”

Horrible Horrace

July 23rd, 2010
1:44 pm

Too bad you liberal LOSERS. Just shows YET AGAIN Bush was correct.

Horrible Horrace

July 23rd, 2010
1:48 pm

Grand Forks

July 23rd, 2010
1:19 pm

Excellent article and right on the mark!!

DannyX

July 23rd, 2010
1:50 pm

“YET AGAIN Bush was correct.”

Great, Bush was correct! Prove it. Have him come out of his self imposed exile and let him start campaigning for Republican candidates.

Can’t wait.

Horrible Horrace

July 23rd, 2010
1:51 pm

LOL…All you libs are beginning to feel the agony of the coming defeat, hence, the Anti-Right/Anti-Bush rhetoric…LOL.

Get ready you LOSERS cuz come Nov 2010 the TRUE Americans will begin taking away the pie from you and your Grand Poobah, OBumbler!

BBBWWWWWAAAHAHAHHAHAAAAAA!

Horrible Horrace

July 23rd, 2010
1:52 pm

DannyX

July 23rd, 2010
1:50 pm

PLEASE…lettuce yield the floor to DannyX. Ok DannyX…take it away, LOSER!!

Jimmy62

July 23rd, 2010
1:56 pm

Maybe they realized that, in plain wording, the attorneys serve at the pleasure of the President, and even if there was a tradition of not firing them for certain reasons, there is NO law saying you can’t, and breaking tradition is not in any manner illegal. The whole thing was the stupid manufacture of left wing critics of the Bush administration, and was a waste of time and money. Plus, I imagine Obama wants to be able to fire attorneys, too, and would look pretty hypocritical to do that after prosecuting Bush for it.

Jimmy62

July 23rd, 2010
2:01 pm

Chris Salzmann: ACORN is still under investigation for a number of things in a number of different states. The items they are in no way exonerated for include such things as voter registration fraud, campaign funding fraud, and unofficially of being dirty scumbags who are in it to help themselves, not poor people, which is why they organize living wage protests, and hire protestors at less than minimum wage. They also protest against eminent domain- until the potential developer of the area they are protecting pays them off. Then all of the sudden they drop their protests and stop protecting the poor people whose property is about to be stolen.

But keep living in your fantasy land that ACORN is a good organization looking out for the little guy.

CJ

July 23rd, 2010
2:16 pm

ACORN is still under investigation for a number of things in a number of different states.

Wrong. ACORN was under investigation for a number of things in a number of different states [and by federal investigators]. Nevertheless, they were never charged with anything.

Just one example, “ACORN: GAO Investigation Finds No Misuse of Federal Dollars” http://tinyurl.com/28futze

Grand Forks

July 23rd, 2010
2:26 pm

Enter your comments here

Rafe Hollister

July 23rd, 2010
2:28 pm

Kyle: Dems will continue to try to find something wrong with this decision as to them voter fraud is the American Way. Evidence exists that shows they probably stole the Minnesota election and coronated Al Franken. They tried to steal Florida in 2000 by trying their best to disenfranchise (Al Sharpton’s favorite word) military voters. They oppose the counting of military ballots fairly regularly on technical grounds.

I bet you will see no mention of this decision on Sin-thee’s or Jay’s Blog, doesn’t fit the agenda.

Grand Forks

July 23rd, 2010
2:28 pm

“Nevertheless, they were never charged with anything.”

Acorn Charged in Voter Registration Fraud Case in Nevada

NY Times

Felony charges filed against 7 in state’s biggest case of voter-registration fraud

Seattle Times

For some reason when I posted the link, my comment went into moderation.

Rafe Hollister

July 23rd, 2010
2:30 pm

Its been so long ago, I forgot B-1 Bob Dornan being screwed out of office by Loretta Sanchez (fake hispanic). She got the voters of thousands of illegal immigrant voters to push ole Bob to the sideline.

Rafe Hollister

July 23rd, 2010
2:34 pm

Danny X: I am waiting to see Barry campaign for Rerun Roy, never happen, I’m willing to bet.

The Udder Side!!!!

July 23rd, 2010
2:36 pm

Grand Forks

July 23rd, 2010
12:33 pm

Lynn Cheney and and Ann Coulter are Right wing and Butt Ugly!!!

Jefferson

July 23rd, 2010
2:39 pm

Horrible Horrace

July 23rd, 2010
2:54 pm

King Rat probably doesnt want OFumbler anywhere around him.

Horrible Horrace

July 23rd, 2010
2:55 pm

Yeppers its gonna be a sad Thanksgiving and Christmas for the Left Handed LOSERS.

BUUUWWWAAAAHAHAHHAAAAA!

Steve

July 23rd, 2010
2:59 pm

“Udder Side”, at least most of the plug-ugly female man-servatives can’t/don’t breed. Lynn Cheney, Sarah Palin and Michele Bachman are the token breeding sows since somebody has to keep the stupid gene passed along.