McKay fired for investigating Wales assassination?

Via Talking Points Memo, an unnamed WA state prosecutor chimes in on the news that former U.S. Attorney John McKay’s efforts to seek more resources to investigate the 2001 assassination of form Assistant U.S. Attorney Tom Wales, may have in part led to his firing:

I’ve read TPM for years, and appreciate your work. I email you because I read something today about the firing of John McKay that finally put me over the edge.

Apparently during Comey’s testimony today he said that one of the reasons McKay got himself in hot water with the DOJ heavyweights was because he was pushing for additional resources to investigate the murder of Tom Wales, who was an Assistant US Attorney in Seattle. Tom Wales was shot and killed in 2001. What nobody has talked about, and what you may not be aware of, is the fact that Tom Wales was extremely active in attempting to get tighter gun control laws passed here in Washington.

Think about that for a second. A pro-gun control federal prosecutor was shot and killed. John McKay was agitating for more resources to bring his killer to justice. That pissed off DOJ, who apparently thought that McKay should spend his time going after bogus voter fraud prosecutions rather than solve the murder of a guy who was in favor of gun control. If you don’t think the fact that Tom Wales’ political views weren’t taken into consideration by the higher ups at DOJ when they decided to punish McKay for fighting to find his killer, you haven’t been paying attention to the way these guys have operated for the last 6 years. Every single thing they do is about politics, and the political views of those they help or hurt.

The bottom line of this whole McKay firing could be summed up in this way: try to catch killers, you get fired. File BS charges of voter fraud, you keep your job.

It’s a slap in the face to every prosecutor in the country. It’s our job to seek justice for those that aren’t able to seek it for themselves. None of us should give a damn what the political views are of the victims we try to protect. It’s beyond reprehensible for them to punish McKay for doing this. But for this administration, it’s par for the course.

Politically motivated, bogus voter fraud prosecution, good. Investigation of politically motivated murder, bad.


  1. 1

    Tree Frog Farmer spews:

    If the thugs at the BIAW and the second amendment rewriting whackjobs here in WA contribute to the overal demise of these criminals in the Whitehouse, so much more the delicious.

  2. 2

    Tlazolteotl spews:

    I’m glad that prosecutor spoke out – even if anonymously (I can understand that, s/he probably wants to try to stay employed).

  3. 3

    YOS LIB BRO spews:



  4. 4

    ArtFart spews:

    It seems pretty far-fetched…except there’s been one hell of a lot of awfully bizarre stuff happen in the last seven years, and just about everything I’ve heard from or about BIAW suggests that they’re a bunch of hard-core whackos. The idea of living or working in some structure build by these clowns would be some cause for heartburn.

    Still, methinks the smart money is that McKay was canned not for what he did but for what he didn’t do: help steal the election for Rossi.

  5. 5

    delbert spews:

    The suggestion that McKay was fired because he wanted to solve Wales’ murder and the DOJ didn’t, is repulsive.

    If anything, it sounds like they know who did it (the airline pilot), but they can’t prove it.

  6. 6

    Richard Pope spews:

    Josh Marshall, the blog-meister of Talking Points Memo, does say that the prosecutor quoted above was mistaken:

    “One quick note: the point about Wales was actually brought up first by Rep. Mel Watt (D-NC) while Watt was questioning Comey.”


    So far, the only source of this Owen Wales connection has come from the question that Rep. Mel Watt posed during Deputy Attorney General James Comey’s testimony. If there is nothing more to it than this inflammatory question, then it should be dismissed.

  7. 7

    RightEqualsStupid spews:

    Wouldn’t surprise me a fucking bit if some Bush regime death squad killed Wales.

  8. 8

    Richard Pope spews:

    Here is what I find more bizarre:

    March 2005 — Gonzo’s chief of staff Kyle Sampson puts John McKay on a list of U.S. Attorneys who should be removed from office.

    [see link to yesterday’s Seattle Times in Goldy’s posting]

    August 8, 2005 — former Justice Department Chief of Staff Kyle Sampson e-mailed a White House official to complain that McKay “got screwed” by the selection panel and urged the White House to consider him anyway. The next day, in an e-mail to someone else about McKay, Sampson wrote, “it’s highly unlikely that we could do better in Seattle.”


    If Sampson thought that McKay should be replaced as U.S. Attorney in March 2005 for not being a loyal Republican, why 17 months later did he think that McKay would be the finest choice for federal district court judge in Seattle? And then the following month, changed his mind again and said that McKay should go?

  9. 9

    Tree Frog Farmer spews:

    @8 Let me cut through the fog for you,Richard. Left to their own devices, many people will attempt to do their job to the best of their abilities. Clearly they are not always being directed to fulfil the political machinations of political apparatchiks like Karl Rove. Left to their own devices, they may actually try to do their jobs. . .

  10. 10

    Richard Pope spews:

    (The August 8, 2005 date should have been August 8, 2006)

    Tree Frog Farmer @ 9

    Well, the August 8, 2006 e-mail actually did reflect Kyle Sampson’s personal and well-considered opinion on John McKay.

    And actually he was correct. Out of all the candidates given serious consideration for the local federal judicial vacancy, McKay was probably the most conservative (or least liberal) and most Republican that stood a reasonable chance for U.S. Senate confirmation. As it is, President Bush has nominated King County Superior Court Judge Richard Jones, a moderate of Democratic background. Rationally, Republicans should have preferred McKay over Jones for policy and ideology reasons.

  11. 11

    Tree Frog Farmer spews:

    I’ve long since given up trying to make good sense out of any policy decisions made by the Bush regime.

  12. 12

    Tree Frog Farmer spews:

    As an aside; It would appear that our local FBI, as well as Mckay’s office, have a great deal of information as to the identity of Wales’ killer. McKay appears to have been following the tried and true Federal practice of ‘turning up the heat’,’putting on a full court press’, maximizing the considerable investigative resources of the Federal Law enforcement agencies to convert this information into usable evidence.
    Unfortunately, this is a Cardinal Sin in the Bush world view. The allocation of resources is only to be used to forward their political agendas, and to enrich their cronies.

  13. 13

    Tlazolteotl spews:

    Tree Frog Farmer,

    It seems like one can hardly go wrong by suspecting the very worst of this bunch. Sadly, I’ve never been disappointed when following this guidance.

    I still have hope of an administration, someday, that doesn’t constantly lower the bar.

  14. 14

    ConservativeFirst spews:

    by Goldy, 05/04/2007, 10:30 AM

    Investigation of politically motivated murder, bad.

    The Wales murder remains still unsolved. So no one, including you, knows if it was politically motivated.

  15. 15


    Rove and company are trying to saturate the Justice Department with loyal Republicans in their hirings. They have been conducting a coordinated campaign nationwide of trying to suppress voters who tend to vote Democratic. The fact that McKay, like other prosecutors who were fired, tried to give allegiance to the law rather than play politics with Rove, probably still was the lightening rod for his firing.

    Once they saw the success of conservatives on the Supreme Court with the Supreme Court decision giving the Presidency to Bush over Gore, it not hard to see the connections to try to saturate the government at all levels with loyal conservative Republicans so that their legacy can live on even when they are out of office.

    If the Justice Department was really intent on serving the law under Bush, then we would have seen investigations and prosecutions stemming from the Ohio elections in 2004, where documented cases of voter suppression existed in the Presidential election. Instead we have repeated false charges by the Republicans of voter fraud where none exists.

  16. 17

    Tree Frog Farmer spews:

    Conjob@14 The publicly available information seems to point to it being a revenge Murder for prosecutions against the leading person of interest.
    The resistance, if not refusal, to commit resources to develope this information into evidence is political.
    Nice deflection.
    Thanks for playing, tho’. . . . .

  17. 18

    Dick Hertz spews:

    The Pope’s Dick @6 says:

    So far, the only source of this Owen Wales connection . . .

    I think you mean Tom Wales. Tom Wales was the prosecutor who was killed. Owen Wales is a scumbag collection attorney who wound up in the WSBA journal’s sports section a/k/a Disciplinary Notices.

  18. 19

    Wells spews:

    Good assessment of 1st republican presidential candidate debate:

    “You know when a party is dead, when the most popular guy at the party… is dead.”

  19. 20

    ConservativeFirst spews:

    Tree Frog Farmer says:

    The publicly available information seems to point to it being a revenge Murder for prosecutions against the leading person of interest.

    05/04/2007 at 2:25 pm

    (my emphasis)

    The best argument you have is “seems to point to”? That’s hardly meets the standard of knowing something is true. Even if what you say is true, what appears to be a revenge murder hardly seems to meet the standard of “politically motivated”.

    Goldy’s engaging in hyperbole here. The evidence that the Bush administration was considering firing McKay for requesting addtional resources to investigate the Wales murder is quite flimsy. It is solely based on the statement of a Democratic Congressman’s recollection of a hearing that ocurred over 2 years ago. Even the person the Congressman recalls making the statement doesn’t remember making it.

    From Goldy’s link:

    In questioning former Deputy Attorney General James Comey, Rep. Mel Watt, D-N.C., said: “It was suggested that Mr. Sampson had concerns or that concerns had been raised … relating to the murder of an assistant U.S. attorney named Thomas Wales, in which Mr. McKay had requested some action by the department.”

    The suggestion was raised while Comey’s predecessor, Larry Thompson, served as deputy attorney general, Watt said.

    Comey responded: “I don’t remember discussing that tragedy with anyone other than Mr. McKay, and it was simply briefly to talk to him about how awful it was. He cared very passionately about finding the person who killed his assistant U.S. attorney.”

  20. 21

    Richard Pope spews:

    Dick Hertz @ 18

    I know who Owen Wales is, and I totally agree that he is a “scumbag collection attorney”. Thanks for the link to the WSBA discipline notice. I guess this was a Freudian slip on my part. Are these folks related in any way?

  21. 22

    Tree Frog Farmer spews:

    @20 The primary person of interest in the Wales Murder investigation was prosecuted by Wales for weapons violations.
    It is perhaps a stretch to assign political motivations to such a murder. But the individual is described as a vicious, vindictive whackjob. Taking away his “toys” could be a motive for murder.
    There is always more than a little disaffection in the ranks of law enforcement when there is any reluctance to provide all possible resources to solve such a murder.

  22. 23

    righton spews:

    wow, tinfoil crowd on the left

    shame on you goldy for strongly hinting the bush gang killed wales…

    shows how low you can go. what’s next?

  23. 25

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    @15 “Once they saw the success of conservatives on the Supreme Court with the Supreme Court decision giving the Presidency to Bush over Gore, it not hard to see the connections to try to saturate the government at all levels with loyal conservative Republicans so that their legacy can live on even when they are out of office.”

    Has it occurred to you that maybe they don’t necessarily plan to leave office when their constitutional term is up?

  24. 26

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    @23 “shame on you goldy for strongly hinting the bush gang killed wales…”

    Where did he say that? The most Goldy insinuated is the Busheviks tried to take the heat off the killer, which is not the same thing as accusing the Bush gang of carrying out the hit.

  25. 27

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    I don’t know who killed Wales. We’ve all heard about this “person of interest.” You’ve got to be real careful about stuff like that. Maybe insiders privy to information that hasn’t been reported in the media know who the killer is. But investigators have been wrong before. I remember a high profile arrest in the Green River case that turned out to be a slightly eccentric but totally innocent person. Their suspicions of this pilot might be ill-founded, too. Then again, maybe not. I just don’t know, and I don’t feel comfortable with these speculations.

    The fact Wales was a gun-control proponent has been well publicized in the media and is known to people who read newspapers.

  26. 28

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    This story really isn’t about Wales or his killer. The real story here is that McKay was looked at for possible firing in the spring of ’05, when the election contest was still white hot. The correlation between this email and McKay’s refusal to file bogus election fraud charges against the Democrats hits you between the eyes like a .45 bullet. Only a dead person could miss it.

  27. 29

    righton spews:

    sorry lefties; all you have is conjecture by 1 guy that McKay’s dismissal was cuz he was chasing the killer of an anti guy US attny. Huge stretch of logic

    What does Darcy think about this?

  28. 30

    Tree Frog Farmer spews:

    RipeOne@29 Aside from stinking up the comments threads here, have you noticed that there is Nationwide scandal enveloping “Gonzo” and his dismissal of these USAG’s?
    We needn’t ask what ‘Haircut’ Reichert thinks. . .he lacks the Sine Qua Non. . . .

  29. 31

    righton spews:

    farmer and other nuts

    Not sure what kind of a scandal it really is; president fired some AGs. end of story.

    i have to bring up Goldies new love mate, Darcy. She must have some brilliance to share on this; lest we be left w/ the fake email that goldy made up