Sunday, March 18, 2007

Sunday morning very bright...

I can't resist a purely political comment this morning (well, I can, but I won't). In this NYT story on David Iglesias, the fired US Attorney for New Mexico, there is no complaint mentioned about Mr. Iglesia's handling of criminal matters involving anything except Democrats or the Democratic party. In the voter registration case, the subtle but important legal issue is intent. The person accused of filing false voter registrations apparently did so because she was paid by the card, so to speak. There was no evidence she intended to influence the outcome of the election, which is the standard required under federal law to prosecute the crime. She did it for the money, which, apparently, politicians (you know, the people who write the Federal laws) consider a motivation they don't want criminalized.

The complaints against Mr. Iglesias all revolve around prosecution of public corruption cases. Not immigration issues, not drug smuggling, not any other serious criminal activity. No, it's about "poisoning our election processes." A statement which, coming from the GOP, should make a whore blush, of course. Bush v. Gore still bothers a lot of people, not all of them partisan Democrats.

Carol Lam was pursuing further prosecutions in the Duke Cunningham corruption case. She doesn't merit the interest of the New York Times because no US Representative was foolish enough to call her directly, apparently. David Iglesias' case is more interesting because of the interference of Sen. Domenici and Rep. Wilson. But finding an instance of a US Attorney being replaced because they refused to prosecute criminals; well, let's just say if there was one, the White House would be trumpeting it 24/7 by now. These firings were about politics, and nothing else.

“People who understand the history and the mission of the United States attorney and Justice Department — they are uniformly appalled, horrified,” said Atlee W. Wampler III, chairman of a national organization of former United States attorneys and a prosecutor who served in the Carter and Reagan administrations. “That the tradition of the Justice Department could have been so warped by that kind of action — any American should be disturbed.”
I think they are. Perhaps not quite enough, yet; but I think they are.

Why point this out at all? The irony, of course:

During the conference call Friday, planned as a pep talk to raise morale at a Justice Department tainted by the firings and the FBI's misuse of the Patriot Act, Gonzales apologized for how the dismissals were handled and for suggesting there were problems with the prosecutors' job performances, according to an official familiar with the conversation.

But the official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to disclose details of the call, said Gonzales did not apologize for firing the eight U.S. attorneys, a decision he and President Bush have defended.

Justice Department spokesman Brian Roehrkasse said Saturday the call was set up to allow Gonzales to reiterate "how important the U.S. attorneys are to him as his representatives in the communities they serve and as prosecutors charged with protecting their communities from violent criminals, drug dealers and predators."
Of course, we fire them for not prosecuting voter fraud involving Democrats. Because those are felonies we simply cannot tolerate; even if we can't prove them.

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