POLITICIZING U.S. ATTORNEYS

That Little House of Horrors called the Patriot Act keeps coughing up all sorts of nasty surprises.

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That Little House of Horrors called the Patriot Act keeps coughing up all sorts of nasty surprises.

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The most recent is a provision that the Bushites very quietly slipped into the renewal of the act last year. It changed U.S. attorneys from being apolitical prosecutors to serving as partisan political hacks. Rather than vetting these powerful appointments through the normal senate confirmation process, the Patriot Act’s new proviso allows the attorney general to remove any U.S attorney and substitute someone else to serve indefinitely.

No one noticed this nasty until recently when there was suddenly a political purge of seven U.S. attorneys. Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, Bush’s Puppet, displaced all of them with GOP political loyalists. Ironically, all those ousted had been appointed by Bush, and they had received high marks for their professionalism, but apparently they were not partisan enough for the White House.

Take H. E. “Bud” Cummings, the U.S. attorney for Arkansas. He’s one of the most distinguished lawyers in the state, but he was summarily bounced to make room for Timothy Griffin. Is the new guy a renown legal mind with deep experience as a prosecutor? Ha! He’s a joke. While he barely has any legal experience at all,this 37-year-old is a Karl Rove protégé whose only claim to fame is that he’s been the research director of the Republican National Committee.

Another who got the boot is David Iglesias of New Mexico. He got the boot from Bush and he’s not keeping quiet abut it. He says he was pursuing a kickback scheme involving a couple of local Democrats last fall when he got calls from Washington demanding that he speed up their indictments to help Republicans in the congressional elections. This respected prosecutor says that he was ousted “because I didn’t play ball.” “I know it’s not performance-related,” he says. “I know it’s not misconduct. What else does that leave? Politics.”

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This is Jim Hightower saying… The Bushites have quit trying to govern and are now trying to turn the entire federal apparatus into a Republican political machine.

Sources:
“Why have So Many U.S. Attorneys Been Fired? It Looks a Lot Like Politics,” The New York Times, February 26, 2007.
“Pushing Out Justice,” The Progress Report , March 1 , 2007.
“Ex-prosecutor Says Politics Was Motive for Dismissal,” The New York Times, March 1, 2007.
“Fired U.S. Attorney Says Lawmakers Pressured Him,” Washington Post, March 1, 2007.

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