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.