Wed Mar 07, 2007 at 12:16:00 PM PST
See, it just really was about performance issues all along. The Justice Department didn't want to fire any U.S. Attorneys who had all previously received glowing performance reviews, but when the calls and letters from GOP members of Congress started to rain in, well then, their performance issues became clear. Or something. Here's what he says:
The Justice Department, out of respect for these individuals, would haveI bet the Justice Department would rather not talk publicly about this, to feed the "wild and innaccurate speculation" in the press. Here's some really interesting "speculation" in the Seattle Times on the dismissal of Washington's John McKay:
preferred not to talk publicly about those reasons, but disclosures in the press
and requests for information from Congress altered those best-laid plans.
Although our reasons for their dismissal were appropriate, our failure to
provide those reasons to these individual U.S. attorneys at the time they were
asked to resign has only served to fuel wild and inaccurate speculation about
Like me, U.S. attorneys are political appointees, and we all
serve at the pleasure of the president. If U.S. attorneys are not executing
their responsibilities in a manner that furthers the management and policy goals
of departmental leadership, it is appropriate that they be replaced.... I hope
that this episode ultimately will be recognized for what it is: an overblown
McKay delivered a vigorous defense of his work and the performance of hisHastings, former chair of the House Ethics Committee (how perfect is that?) sees absolutely no impropriety in the call from his staff to McKay at all. It was purely routine, of course. And what could have prompted that call? Could it have been this letter obtained by the Times, in which Tom McCabe, president of the Building Industry Association of Washington (also known as GOP candidate Dino Rossi's finance committee) complains to Rep. Hastings about McKay?
office. He challenged the Justice Department's shifting explanations about why
he was asked to resign.
He revealed that soon after the hotly contested 2004
governor's race in Washington state, the chief of staff to Rep. Doc Hastings,
R-Pasco, called him to ask about the status of any federal investigations into
"I was told the purpose of the call was to inquire on behalf
of Congressman Hastings" about the status of ongoing investigations of voter
fraud, McKay said.
McKay said he was "concerned and dismayed by the call,"
given Cassidy's job and the sensitivity of the election....
began to ask McKay whether any future action would be taken by the U.S.
Attorney's Office with regard to the governor's race.
"When Mr. Cassidy
called me on future action, I stopped him and I told him I was sure that he
wasn't asking me on behalf" of Hastings, McKay told the Senate committee,
"because we both knew that would be improper. [Cassidy] agreed it would be
improper, and he ended the conversation in a most expeditious manner."
I urge you to call on President Bush to fire John McKay, U.S. Attomey or WesternBut now it's time for the Administration to admit its mistake and replace Mr. McKay with someone (a Republican?) who will conduct an investigation of election improprieties.
Washington. Mr. McKay has refued to even give a cursory glance at the
illegalities and irregularities that occurred in our state's 2004 election--the
most tainted election in U.S. history (ed. note: McCabe has a very short
But of course, Hastings wouldn't have followed up with the White House. "'I flat-out refused to do so, which Ed Cassidy told him in the bluntest of terms,' Hastings said." So there's just this little mystery now:
In remarks after the hearings, McKay said that officials in the White HouseWhat they like to call "voting impropriety" is awfully high on the list of things that this Justice Department cares about. Consider this story from Greg Palast:
counsel's office, including then-counsel Harriet E. Miers, asked him to explain
why he had "mishandled" the governor's race during an interview for a federal
judgeship in September 2006.
But the Committee missed a big one: Timothy Griffin, Karl Rove’s assistant, the
President’s pick as US Attorney for the Eastern District of Arkansas. Griffin,
according to BBC Television, was the hidden hand behind a scheme to wipe out the
voting rights of 70,000 citizens prior to the 2004 election.
Key voters on
Griffin’s hit list: Black soldiers and homeless men and women. Nice guy, eh?
Naughty or nice, however, is not the issue. Targeting voters where race is a
factor is a felony crime under the Voting Rights Act of 1965.
In this case it would appear that the prosecutor wasn't fired for "performance" issues, but instead to make way for the appointment Griffin, his reward for his 2004 efforts to purge voters.
These are but a small piece of this larger story that is going to expose Alberto Gonzales for the partisan lackey that he is. His management of the Justic Department, his entire career in "public" service, has been about one thing and one thing only: doing the bidding of George W. Bush.