The whole story of the seven fired U.S. attorneys is a tangled web of explanations and speculations. I’ve blogged a bit before on this issue, when it was suggested by an “administration official” that the firings happened because somebody somewhere wanted to “make things happen” in the affected areas.
Via Think Progress, we found out that some of the attorneys were never told why they were
fired asked to resign:
Earlier this week, Deputy Attorney General Paul McNulty admitted that the U.S. attorney in Arkansas, Bud Cummins, was pushed out to make way for a â€œ37-year-old protegeâ€ of Karl Rove. Initially, the Justice Department tried to claim that Cummins left on his own. Cummins said the matter was â€œhandled poorlyâ€ and he was given no explanation for his forced resignation.
According to McNultyâ€™s Senate testimony, the other six were fired for â€œperformance-relatedâ€ issues. But of those six, two have now spoken out, rebutting McNultyâ€™s empty excuses. They state that the Justice Department never cited poor performance â€” or gave any explanation at all â€” as a reason for being pushed out.
Now, whether or not they were told why they were fired, the basic claim of “performance issues” has stuck. However, McClatchy today has a story refuting those claims. Sure enough, David Iglesias, the U.S. Attorney for New Mexico, was given a good performance review last year:
David Iglesias, the U.S. attorney in New Mexico, also received a positive evaluation last year, according to another Justice Department official.
Both officials asked not to be identified because they weren’t authorized by the Justice Department to release the information.
The other U.S. attorneys who received good reviews were John McKay, the former U.S. attorney in Seattle; Paul Charlton, the former U.S. attorney in Arizona; and Carol Lam, the current U.S. attorney in San Diego.
Carol Lam, of course, was the prosecutor who dug deep into the Duke Cunningham scandal.
I don’t have much to add to all this. It seems clear that the attorneys were fired to make way for those more sympathetic to the administration (and, in the case of Lam, Republicans in general) but there is so much anonymous sourcing that everything is speculation at this point.
Thanks to Kevin for the McClatchy linkage this morning.