Docs Show 9th U.S. Attorney Targeted, Aides Say

A ninth U.S. Attorney was initially among those targeted for firing, according to a preliminary list being compiled by Karl Rove, former chief of staff to U.S. Attorney Alberto Gonzales. But the Minnesota federal prosecutor, Thomas Heffelfinger, left his office voluntarily before the final list of eight U.S. attorneys allegedly let go as part of a political purge was completed, reports a McClatchy Newspapers article.

The article attributes the information to two unnamed senior Congressional aides who reportedly saw Rove’s preliminary firing list, which has not yet been publicly released. However, Heffelfinger himself told McClatchy that he “had no indication whatsoever” of any dissatisfaction with his work before he left his post voluntarily in February 2006, almost a year before the list of prosecutors to be fired was finalized.

“Heffelfinger’s case interests congressional investigators because he worked in one of the states that White House political adviser Karl Rove identified as an election battleground, and because he was replaced by a 34-year-old Bush administration loyalist who’d been a member of Gonzales’ inner circle,” the article states. Four top aides to Rachel Paulose, the U.S. Attorney who replaced Heffelfinger, resigned their leadership posts in April, reportedly in an apparent protest against the way she has handled her job.

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