Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Unprecedented removals of US Attorneys by Bush administration

Justice Dept. Names New Prosecutors, Forcing Some Out:
"The Justice Department is removing several United States attorneys from their jobs, among them Carol C. Lam, the top federal prosecutor in San Diego, who led the corruption prosecution of former Representative Randy Cunningham.

Justice Department officials said Tuesday that Ms. Lam's dismissal had nothing to do with the prosecution of Mr. Cunningham, Republican of California, but was based on her overall record in prosecuting firearms violations and crimes along the California border with Mexico.

But Senator Dianne Feinstein, Democrat of California, said that Ms. Lam and Kevin V. Ryan, the United States attorney from San Francisco, among others, were being pushed out without cause. Mr. Ryan's office has been investigating the backdating of stock options granted to corporate executives.

Ms. Feinstein said on the Senate floor on Tuesday that Ms. Lam, appointed in 2002, was a straight shooter and a good prosecutor.

"To my knowledge," Ms. Feinstein said, "there are no allegations of misconduct having to do with Carol Lam. She is a distinguished former judge. Rather, the only explanation I have seen are concerns that were expressed about prioritizing corruption cases over smuggling and gun cases."
Some are suggesting that this smacks of significant abuse of power. Note the Lam removal in California, above, and her prosecution of a high profile Republican. The article mentions that others leaving are in Arkansas, where a Rove protege is taking the job, Nevada and San Francisco, for example. Notice a pattern? What prominent Democrats are from Arkansas, Nevada and San Francisco? Hmmmmm....what say you, Alberto?
“We in no way politicize these decisions,” Attorney General Alberto R. Gonzales told The Associated Press on Tuesday.
That's right, because the Bush administration is above that, aren't they?