Questions remain on McKay firing

While the country’s attention is understandably focused on the financial sector bailout, the Justice Department has released a report (300 plus page PDF) on the politically motivated firings of nine U.S. attorneys, including John McKay, who was the USA for Western Washington. From the AP via The Seattle Times:

Attorney General Michael Mukasey appointed a prosecutor Monday to pursue possible criminal charges against Republicans who were involved in the controversial firings of U.S. attorneys.

His move follows the leading recommendation of a Justice Department investigation that harshly criticized Bush administration officials, members of Congress and their aides for the ousters, which were seen by many as politically motivated.

Results of the investigation were made public Monday. The report singled out the removal of U.S. Attorney David Iglesias of New Mexico – among 9 prosecutors who were fired – as the most troubling.

Republican political figures in New Mexico, including Sen. Pete Domenici and Rep. Heather Wilson, had complained about Iglesias’ handling of voter fraud and public corruption cases, and that led to his firing, the report said.

That initial AP article doesn’t mention McKay, so a quick look at the report itself is in order. The voluminous report examines the McKay firing in extensive detail, including the demands made by a certain “association” and “an outside group,” in Washington state about the 2004 gubernatorial recount, doubtless referring to the BIAW and the Evergreen Freedom Foundation, who were very public in their demands for McKay’s scalp.

Bottom line is that the key administration officials involved (Rove, Miers, Goodling, et al.) have managed to thwart the investigation to this point. From page 267 of today’s DOJ report: (bold added)

In sum, we could not determine whether complaints to the White House about McKay’s handling of the voter fraud allegations stemming from the 2004 Washington State gubernatorial election contributed to his placement on the removal list, particularly without interviews of relevant White House officials.

The report castigates the administration in other conclusions regarding McKay’s firing. On page 268 it concludes that alleged concerns about sentencing statistics were not convincing:

In sum, this purported reason appears to be another after-the-fact rationalization for why McKay was included on the removal list. We believe that raising this claim in the briefing to Congress was misleading and cast further doubt on the Department’s credibility in providing the real reasons for the removals of the U.S. Attorneys.

And finally, the section about McKay’s firing reads like a finely-tuned legal document when it comes to whether McKay’s concerns about an information sharing system called LInX played a role. From page 269:

In sum, we believe the evidence suggests that Sampson placed McKay on the list for removal because of his actions in the LInX matter. However, the Department’s various descriptions of why McKay was removed severely undermined its credibility when it tried to explain its actions.

This thing isn’t over from what I can tell.

Comments

  1. 1

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    I was gonna post this but you beat me to it. Another news item this morning is that Congress will adjourn without passing a tax bill (meaning, no AMT relief for middle class taxpayers) because of Republican obstructionism in the Senate. It’s the usual stuff — Republicans want to pay for tax relief with bigger deficits instead of making the rich give back a little of Bush’s tax breaks for the wealthy.

  2. 2

    Mr. Cynical spews:

    Goldy–
    Yet another Democrat turd to deflect attention away from Gregoire’s $8 BILLION of increased spending and the $3.2 BILLION Budget deficit.

    Anything to avoid discussion about the Budget!!

    Goldy…you are………INSUFFERABLE!

  3. 4

    Mr. Cynical spews:

    3. Jon DeVore spews:
    “I’m not Goldy.”

    Pathetically Jon…you are close enough.
    Especially in your ability to wordsmith and spin such “reports” to attempt to cast a shadow on the Governor’s Race & Rossi.
    If you spent as much time on the $3.2 BILLION Deficit Jon as you do the “side-shows” perhaps something productive and beneficial might happen??
    Oh, I forgot….Lefty’s like you love misery and smut. You live for it.

  4. 5

    cmiklich spews:

    It isn’t over and shouldn’t be.

    Mr McKay should face serious Federal Prison time for corruption while in office. When there are TENS of THOUSANDS of illegally registered voters in WA and documented proof that thousands voted illegally and there aren’t THOUSANDS in PRISON for that, then he is personally corrupt. And guilty of dereliction in office.

    Any person who knowingly votes illegally should face serious FEDERAL PRISON time. And any Federal Prosecutor (or local) who does NOTHING about it, SHOULD FACE DECADES BEHIND BARS!

  5. 6

    rhp6033 spews:

    Cynical @ 2:

    Morologus es! Tace atque abi!

    (I’ve been looking for an opportunity to say that).

  6. 7

    rhp6033 spews:

    Oops, I spoke too soon. Cmiklich at # 5 earned it even more than Cynical did.

    Cmiklich is trotting out the tired old allegation that tens of thousands of illegally registered voters, which he regularly presumes or implies to be Democratic voters.

    But in the 2004 govenatorial election contest, the Republicans could find only a handful of illegal voters, and the Republican judge in a Republican county found that those illegal votes were – for Republicans!!!!!

    McKay didn’t prosecute illegal votes because the F.B.I. couldn’t find evidence to forward to him that a crime had been committed. Apparantly for the Bush White House and Cmiklich, that’s irrelevant – he should have pursued the prosecutions for political purposes, regardless of the merit.

  7. 8

    rhp6033 spews:

    Gee, a Republican-led F.B.I. couldn’t find evidence that Democrats commited voter fraud. A Republican U.S. Attorney refused to bring an action against Democrats for lack of evidence against them. A Republican judge in a Republican county found that of the handfull of illegal votes in the 2004 guvenatorial election, the two or so who could be proven to have voted for a specific party voted – Republican.

    You would think by now that they would be too embarrassed to keep bringing up that subject again, wouldn’t you? But noooo, Cmiklich keeps thinking in terms of the “Big Lie” – he thinks if he keeps saying it often enough and with enough force, people will keep believing it.

  8. 9

    rhp6033 spews:

    Of course, McKay and his brother were thrown under the Bush Neo-con bus because they weren’t sufficiently partison and “unreliable” moderates. Of course, that description applies to just about everyone who isn’t to the right of Attila the Hun.

  9. 10

    rhp6033 spews:

    Not that any of this matters to the long-delayed prosecution of the individuals involved. I will be absolutely astounded if Bush doesn’t pardon everyone involved (including himself) on Jan. 19th.

  10. 11

    rhp6033 spews:

    What’s missing from Cynical’s and Cmiklich’s attempts to deflect the focus of this thread is that the Bush administration’s firings in this case go to the heart of the nation’s basic premise that we are first and foremost a nation of laws, and that no one is above the law. Secondly, and perhaps most importantly, is that the attempt to pervert our laws was for the basic purpose of influencing an election, thereby depriving our citizens of the right to affect their representatives based upon the facts before them. Instead, the Republicans tried to create new “facts” where in fact no facts existed.

    Remember that extremists such as the Nazis and the Stalinists used trumped-up charges and arrests before elections as a way to remove political opponants, send a message to others that they had better be cooperative, and to make the electorate believe that the opponants were criminals. It seems the current Republican Party has taken a page from their book.

  11. 12

    Ekim spews:

    @10

    While monkeyboy could pardon everybody for the crimes they have committed, he cannot protect them from a grand jury investigation by the next administration, or protect them if they lie or keep them from being impeached for their illegal actions.

  12. 13

    rhp6033 spews:

    Ekim @ 12. Good point. Pardons would have the affect of removing the 5th Amendment refusal to testify from their arsenal in subsequent investigations. If they lie during those investigations, they can be prosecuted for perjury.

    So their best prospect for keeping themselves out of jail at that point would be to admit that they were liars, they always have been liars, and they always will be liars.

  13. 14

    cmiklich spews:

    Okay rhp: McKay is an “at will” employee. GWB could fire him merely because he wanted to. Case closed.

    But, McKay should still be in prison! And there were THOUSANDS of cases of documented vote fraud in 2004! People registering where they didn’t live, people double-registering (and double voting), people lying about it afterwards. And a corrupt judicial system that promotes continued lawlessness as a way of promoting job security for themselves.

  14. 15

    reformed republican spews:

    @14: Cased closed – except that all the USA’s were “at will” but they appear to have been fired for partisan political reasons – that now will bring a special prosecutor to investigate to see if justice was subverted for political purposes. Case open, republican law breakers going down.

    They may be at-will but if the people who fired them lied about why – they are subject to perjury and jail. Say hello to a striped suit Karl Rove.

  15. 16

    Steve spews:

    @14 Well, that’s certainly the BIAW commie-fascist view of things. Delusional. Reality must be hard work for you.

  16. 17

    rhp6033 spews:

    cmiklich @ 14: That’s not exactly correct. They could be fired for any reason other than an “improper” one. My own employment is “at will”, but that doesn’t mean that my employer can violate other laws in firing me, such as discrimination laws, or as retaliation for reporting workplace safety laws, etc.

    In this case, the criminal question is whether McKay and the others were fired as part of a conspiracy to obstruct justice. For example, in the case of the California case, it appears that the A.G. was fired in retalization for her persuing a criminal charge against a Republican Congressman (Cunningham), and in order to send a warning to others who might be so inclined. Likewise, McKay was apparantly fired because he wouldn’t pursue partison prosecutions without any supporting evidence, which is also obstruction of justice. With respect to the New Mexico A.G., he was fired because he refused to push the case so indictments of prominent Democrats could be announced right before an election, which would also be obstruction of justice. In each case, if the A.G. had consented to do what the White House wanted them to do, then the A.G.s themselves would have been guilty of obstruction of justice and could have been charged.

    So it’s not enough to say that they were terminable “at will”.

    And let’s not forget that Gonzales appears to have perjured himself when he gave, under oath before Congress, false testimony regarding the reasons for such firings.

    And why do you keep insisting that there are “thousands of documented cases of voter fraud” in 2004, when we’ve already proven (numerous times) that the Republican Party couldn’t prove a single case of an illegal vote for a Democrat in the 2004 govenatorial contest – and that’s in a Republican County with a Republican judge!

    I guess you see facts as you wish them to be, not as they are.

  17. 18

    rhp6033 spews:

    What puzzles me most is that once the Republicans have established the precedent of using the Justice Department for political purposes – why aren’t they worried that the Democrats will do the same? We’ve certainly got a lot more evidence we can use against the Republicans than the other way around. The only problem is that there aren’t enough jail cells to hold all the Republicans we could prosecute.

    Or maybe, that’s why they are pulling out all the stops in order to get McCain elected?????

    Personally, nothing does my heart good as much as the vision of Karl Rove and Dick Cheney in prison orange, working on a road crew as I drive by and honk.