Some of the least convincing score-settling in “Courage and Consequences” comes when Karl Rove attempts to rebut the charge that he politicized the appointment of U.S. attorneys — the chapter dealing with this is titled “Rove: the Myth.” For one thing, Rove admits filing three complaints about then-U.S. Attorney David Iglesias, but argues that Iglesias was a glory hound who wanted “publicity in preparation for a future political campaign” and “failed to do anything about voter fraud.” Rove says one of his complaints was that Iglesias “sat for months” on an indictment of powerful New Mexico Democrats, “refusing to file it until after the 2006 election for fear he would offend prominent Democrats he might need if he ran for the U.S. Senate.”
I asked Iglesias, who is now part of special prosecution team for Guantanamo detainees, to respond to the specific allegations Rove makes in the book.
****Former U.S. Attorney David Iglesias (Mark Murrmann/ZUMA Press)
ROVE: [Iglesias] failed to do anything about voter fraud that was so egregious that the Bernalillo County (Albuquerque) clerk, a Democrat, and the sheriff, a Republican, had both called for a federal investigation.
IGLESIAS: [Laughing] Oh, this belief that there was this endemic voter fraud. It’s absolutely true that I didn’t file a case, but that was because I didn’t have any evidence I could use to make the case. And I personally looked at the evidence that was supposed to back up these charges.
ROVE: I also passed on the complaint that Iglesias, in order to get publicity in preparation for a future political campaign, had personally bungled a high-profile corruption case involving the past and current state treasurers by interfering with the career prosecutors who were handling the trial.
IGLESIAS: Bungled? In 2005 I got the biggest fish, former state treasurer Michael Montoya, to plead guiltyand cooperate with our investigation. And I got a conviction of the incumbent state treasurer, Robert Vigil, who resigned in lieu of impeachment and was sentenced to 37 months in prison. Now, I didn’t try the case, but I did supervise it. I did get back to back state treasurers to plead guilty or be found guilty at trial.
ROVE: I also forwarded claims that Iglesias had sat for months on an indictment involving charges of corruption by prominent Democrats in the constriction of the Bernalillo County Courthouse, refusing to file it until after the 2006 election for fear he would offend prominent Democrats he might need if he ran for the U.S. Senate.
IGLESIAS: That’s a complete fabrication. That indictment didn’t get filed until three weeks after I left office — in March 2007. Look, here’s where Rove’s lack of knowledge of DOJ policy hurts him factually. It’s standing policy that you can’t file an indictmentright before an election if you think it will effect the outcome. But I’m sure Rove heard from local Republicans that I was intentionally keeping my powder dry. Even had I been planning a run for the Senate in the 2006 timeframe, I wouldn’t have intentionally withheld an indictment for fear of alienating the Democrats. I’m happy with what I’m doing. I have no plans to run for office.