Legal Ethics

White House Discussed US Attorney Iglesias for Months Before 2006 Firing


A top federal prosecutor in New Mexico was seemingly fired in 2006 after he didn’t jump on political corruption cases that could have helped a Republican lawmaker win re-election, and “extensive communication” among attorneys and aides at the White House preceded his dismissal for months beforehand, reports the Washington Post.

A more than two-year investigation by the House Judiciary Committee indicates that the firing of New Mexico U.S. Attorney David Iglesias may have been the most egregious case of lobbying by Republican politicians and members of the Bush administration concerning the controversial December 2006 dismissal of nine U.S. attorneys, according to the newspaper.

The article details e-mail information and committee testimony by former White House counsel Harriet Miers and Karl Rove, political chief for former President George W. Bush.

Both Miers and Rove have said they didn’t attempt to influence any Department of Justice prosecution, directly or indirectly, and were not involved in the decision-making concerning the firing of Iglesias and eight other U.S. attorneys in 2006, the Post reports.

“Under the Bush regime, honest and well-performing U.S. attorneys were fired for petty patronage, political horse trading and, in the most egregious case of political abuse of the U.S. attorney corps—that of U.S. Attorney Iglesias—because he refused to use his office to help Republicans win elections,” says House Judiciary Chairman John Conyers Jr. (D-Mich.) “When Mr. Iglesias said his firing was a ‘political fragging,’ he was right.”

Information gathered during the investigation is posted on the House Judiciary Committee’s website.

Additional coverage:

ABAJournal.com (2008): “Prosecutor Firing Tidbits: Phone Firings, Rejected 9th Circuit Bid, Iglesias E-Mails”

ABAJournal.com: “Karl Rove Tells N.Y. Times: I Relayed US Attorney Hiring & Firing Info”

New York Times: “Papers Show Bush Aides’ Role in Firings of Prosecutors”

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