FIRED FEDERAL PROSECUTORS AND ELECTION FRAUD
Sacked for Indicting
and Not Indicting Republicans?
“Scoop” Independent News
Top U.S. law enforcement official Attorney General Alberto Gonzalez engineered a Pearl Harbor Day for eight Republican appointed federal prosecutors. From one end of the country to the other, previously well regarded prosecutors were summarily fired (allowed to resign) on December 7, 2006. Chief of the Office of U.S. Attorneys, Michael Battle spread the news. In a rare case of the messenger shooting himself, Battle abruptly decided that he too would resign after the firings turned into a major scandal this month.
Even hard core Bush supporters were appalled. High profile Republican partisan and former federal prosecutor Joseph diGenova made his opinion clear: “This is really a pathetic way of running government." Mark Corallo, a former close aid to Attorney General Ashcroft said: "These are people who worked hard in the pursuit of justice. To go out and trash their reputations -- it's galling." John Smietanka, deputy to George H. W. Bush’s Attorney General William Barr, offered this: “If they were going to ask for the resignations of people, they should have given reasons, just for pure tact and humanity." (Source of quotations: Law.Com, 12 Mar 2007)
Working at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue seems to be the essential requirement to stick one’s head in the sand and support this process.
Why were these eight selected? The notion that they were somehow ineffective is a non starter. All eight prosecutors had positive personnel reviews by the Department of Justice (DOJ) according to the Wall Street Journal whose reporters had access to the files. The conventional wisdom is that they were somehow disloyal to the Bush White House, either through acts of omission or commission. That’s obvious. But what were those acts?
Is there a common element to the firings? In the case of four of the eight, there might be.
David Iglesias., New Mexico. “Leaned on” by a Senator and his heir for failing to indict Democrats before 2006 elections.
Senator Pete Domenici, (R-NM), recommended David Iglesias as New Mexico’s federal prosecutor. Imagine the volatile senator’s outrage when he reportedly called and asked Iglesias for a favor. Domenici was concerned about the slow pace of expected indictments of Democrats in election related cases according to Iglesias. Should the indictments come just before the 2006 election, they would help Republicans in tight races. The alleged interference took its toll. Iglesias said “I felt sick afterward. I felt leaned on. I felt pressured to get these cases moving.”
A big part of the pressure was from Congresswoman Heather Wilson, (R-NM). She called Iglesias and reportedly pressured him to indict the same Democrats requested by Domenici. Iglesias would have none of it. Wilson later said that she’d called to help Iglesias with his investigation, an assertion that became the object of mockery among commentators. Regarded as Domenici’s political heir for the New Mexico Senate seat, she was one of those Republicans who would benefit form early indictments of high profile Democrats. Wilson needed every bit of leverage available to win re-election. She won by less than 1,000 votes in one of those controversial elections.
There were no pre-election indictments by prosecutor Iglesias.
The likely motivation for the firing was clarified by New Mexico Republican Party Chairman Allen Weh. In a just published account by McClatchy Newspapers, he described a 2005 phone call with Karl Rove, Weh asked, “Is anything ever going to happen to that guy?” referring to Iglesias’ failure to bring the requested pre election charges against Democrats. Rove’s response was direct, “He’s gone.” And he was, just a few months after the phone call.
John McKay, Washington State. Investigate “voter” fraud in 2004 Governor’s race or tell me why you didn’t!
John McKay of Washington State was apparently the object of a longer held grudge by the White House. He refused to investigate allegations of voter fraud in the 2004 election for Governor of Washington State. McKay told Senate investigators of receiving a call from the chief of staff for Republican Congressman “Doc” Hastings. The call concerned a prosecution to challenge the Democrats in their 200 vote victory in the 2004 race for governor.
The Seattle Times published a letter from trade association executive Tom McCabe to Rep “Doc” Hastings from July 2005. Talk about a demand letter. Hastings, a former chair of the House Ethics Committee, surely knew what this meant.
I urge you to call on President Bush to fire John McKay, U.S. Attorney for Western Washington.
…. If you decide not to do this, let me know.
Executive Vice President
(N.B. The cc. list on this letter includes one “John Fund.”)
After receiving the letter, Hastings staffer Ed Cassidy called prosecutor McKay making inquiries about the status of the 2004 allegations. McKay quickly cut him off expressing concerns about illegal influence (it’s a crime to try and influence a federal prosecutor's decisions in this way).
The call ended and a few months later so did McKay’s federal service. His reward for service to his country was a threat that DOJ would release information damaging to his reputation. They did. It was widely dismissed.
Daniel Bogden, Nevada. Getting too close to corporate gifts for a Republican Governor
Nevada federal prosecutor Daniel Bogden may have been undone by an explosive FBI probe of just re-elected Governor Jim Gibbons. Gibbons’ dealings with friend and defense contractor Warren Trepp are a part of the investigation. It isn’t hard to figure out why.
Among the dozens of e-mails is one allegedly sent days before Trepp and his wife prepared to set sail on a Caribbean cruise with (Governor) Gibbons and his wife. In it, Trepp's wife allegedly wrote to her husband: "Please don't forget to bring the money you promised Jim and Dawn." Trepp's reply, according to the Journal report, was: "Don't you ever send this kind of message to me! Erase this message from your computer right now!” Washington Post
There are other examples of Trepp’s cash and carry relationship with his friend and traveling companion, the governor. The possible resignation of Gov. Gibbons due to a scandal was apparently too much for the White House to bear. Senate testimony indicated that there was really no reason to remove Gibbons other than to make room for a political appointee. Long service and an excellent record offered no protection for this loyal civil servant.
Another layer of protection for the governor was provided when intelligence czar, John D. Negrponte filed a statement saying any investigation of the Gov. Gibbons – Trepp connection would compromise vital national security interests.
Is this the security of knowing that you’ll be able to actually spend the walking around money your patron gave you during your Caribbean vacation together? Time will tell.
Carol Lam, California. Poking around the mother of all political scandals, Hookergate.
Carol Lam’s courteous demeanor masks a prosecutor tough as nails. It was Lam who brought charges against Republican Congressman Randall H. “Duke” Cunningham. Lam indicted and convicted the former Naval flying ace and Republican icon for bribe taking in 2005. She wasn’t done yet.
Exposed and disgraced, Cunningham resigned after the indictment and apparently began singing the right tunes for the prosecutor. Lam widened her investigation and connected Cunningham’s cash cow, defense contractor Brent Wilkes, with a broader potential scandal involving Wilkes and former CIA executive Dusty Foggo.
Hookergate has it all – politicians participating in prostitution, gambling, and influence peddling. It’s alleged that federal money was provided to a Virginia based limousine company to carry Congressmen between Capitol Hill and the Watergate complex for recreational sex with prostitutes and gambling with each other. It appears that both Foggo and Wilkes are closely connected to the merry making.
The implications of this scandal are staggering. Any member of Congress caught up in this scheme, particularly if photographed, will be forced from office immediately. It doesn’t take much imagination to figure out which political party will be totally decimated if this scandal explodes.
After Lam’s previously announced resignation was moved up, she remained undeterred. Just before leaving office, she filed an incredibly detailed indictment of Wilkes and Foggo that will be at the top of her replacement’s to do list. This more than justifies a Congressional investigation into the more explosive Hookergate affair.
It is apparent that the four dismissals are related to politics and not performance. A pattern begins to emerge. Political leverage is brought to bear on past, current or future elections through the use of federal prosecutors, clearly not a part of the job description. Two prosecutors were dismissed after failing to indict citizens in order to influence an election. The Nevada prosecutor was sacked in the midst of an investigation that had the potential to remove a sitting Republican governor. But Lam takes the cake.
It appears that she was dismissed early to discourage the very indictment she brought just before leaving, an indictment that has the potential to literally wipe the Republican Party off of the political map. If it ever breaks, Hookergate will be the mother of all political scandals with corruption, influence peddling, and prostitutes paid for with government funds.
It’s no coincidence that the eight were removed when they were. This process was a gift to the President by Republican Senator Arlen Specter. In a clever move before the bill was finalized, Specter included a few sentences in the Patriot Act broadening the options for the midterm dismissal of federal prosecutors. The White House noticed this loophole and used it when needed, without restraint.
Hovering at a paltry 30% approval rating with no hope in sight, the White House operation needs every bit of help it can get. Given the reaction of even their staunchest supporters, the troubles are just beginning.
Special thanks to Mario for his ongoing insights.
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