27 March 2007

Clinton Did It Too?

The nation's leading law officer is on the hotseat for equivocating and engaging in blatant deceptions over his involvement with the political dismissals of U.S. attorneys.

Naturally, Bush loyalists and neocon Kool-Aid quaffers are repeating adnauseum that "Clinton did it, too". However, as this article demonstrates, that is a load of hooey:

Bush says that firing US Attorneys for political purity is a “customary practice.” He’s lying, of course. It isn’t a customary practice and never has been. It’s corruption on a wide scale. The enabling legislation is a paragraph in the ill-thought-out and hastily-passed USA PATRIOT Act. Under the newly-invented process, if a US Attorney is fired, he or she can be replaced by someone who is never required to be confirmed by the Senate—leading us to a place where the top US law enforcement officer in each region can be another Brownie.

The Bush Administration fired U.S. Attorneys because they prosecuted well-connected Republicans, as happened with Carol Lam in San Diego, who lost her job for convicting congressman Randy “Duke” Cunningham for evading taxes and conspiring to pocket $2.4 million in bribes, including a Rolls-Royce, a yacht and a 19th-century Louis-Philippe commode. They fired them for not going out of their way to prosecute Democrats when the timing would be advantageous to Republicans. This happened to U.S. Attorney David Iglesias of New Mexico, who ignored requests by Rep. Heather Wilson (R-NM) to indict Manny Aragon before the November elections in order to improve her chances of being reelected. U.S. Attorney H. E. “Bud” Cummins III of Little Rock was fired in order to politicize the office and reward a political operative by giving the job to Tim Griffin, a hand-picked protege of Karl Rove.

Back to the Clinton excuse: How many US Attorneys left office before their four-year terms were up during the Clinton presidency (other than to accept greater responsibility within the Justice Department), and why? Answer: Two of them.

And what were the two attorneys dismissed for? One was filmed by a television camera grabbing a reporter by the throat and another left after accusations he bit a topless dancer on the arm.

It is true that the White House's explanation for the firings is more much more disturbing than the charges that they are abusing the office for political purposes.


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