Watchdog Will Probe U.S. Attorney Firing, Political Influence

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An investigation of political influence in the Bush administration will include a probe into the firing of at least one U.S. attorney, the Los Angeles Times reports.

The probe by the federal Office of Special Counsel will look at political operations run by presidential political adviser Karl Rove, the story says. It will center on whether political dealings violated the Hatch Act, which limits government officials’ political activities, according to the Washington Post.

The broad investigation grew out of more limited inquiries into the firing of U.S. Attorney David Iglesias of New Mexico and into a Jan. 26 PowerPoint presentation by Rove deputy J. Scott Jennings. During the program, Jennings told employees of the General Services Administration about congressional seats that need to be protected in the next election, the Post says.

“We will take the evidence where it leads us,” Scott J. Bloch, who heads of the Office of Special Counsel, told the Times. “We will not leave any stone unturned.”

A White House spokesman says the Hatch Act does not bar political briefings.

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