What About the Attorneys Who Weren’t Fired?
Arthur Davis (D-Al.) made a point at a House Judiciary Committee hearing today that’s been overlooked in the resurfacing of the fired U.S. attorney scandal: What about the federal prosecutors who weren’t ousted?
The Justice Dept. internally investigated how the White House/Justice Dept. decided which U.S. attorneys were considered disloyal to the Republican Party and should be dismissed. But it didn’t look at the corollary: Did prosecutors avoid dismissal by prioritizing the wishes of GOP lawmakers and state Republican parties?
Justice Dept. Inspector General Glenn Fine said that it was certainly a possibility, and that the Department’s Office of Personal Responsibility is investigating what may have been politically motivated prosecutions by U.S. attorneys.
The most prominent of these possible cases involves former Alabama Gov. Don Siegelman.
Davis has been a leading critic of that prosecution, suggesting that none other than Karl Rove pressured Alabama U.S. Attorney Leura G. Canary to re-open the probe of Siegelman. U.S. attorneys in Pennsylvania and Wisconsin have also been investigated for politically tinged prosecutions.
Beyond evoking the Siegelman case, Davis raised another point: “Virtually anyone can say they were politically targeted,” Davis said at the hearing. “Almost everyone on this side of the aisle (meaning Democrats) has been getting phone calls saying, ‘I’m being prosecuted because I’m a Democrat.’”
According to Davis, every federal prosecutor is now– fairly or not– susceptible to having their credibility questioned.
This could, of course, be cleared up if the White House revealed they prosecutors they actually spoke with.