Alberto Gonzales: Not just unethical, but criminal?


As reported by Jason Leopold at the Online Journal on February 29, 2008, (h/t nonnie9999), Alberto Gonzales not only engaged in unethical conduct, but likely also engaged in conduct that was criminal:

John McKay, the former US attorney for the Western District of Washington who was also fired in late 2006 for reasons that appear to have been motivated by partisan politics, wrote in a lengthy article in the January edition of the Seattle University Law Review [incorrect link in original document] that Iglesias’s firing stands out among the other eight federal prosecutors because it demonstrates “the very real prospect of improper interference with an ongoing criminal investigation involving public corruption and the seeking of political advantage.”

“Violations of the obstruction of justice statute may have occurred and should be investigated,” McKay wrote. “Even as the role of the White House remains shrouded in its claims of executive privilege, 23 certain White House employees appear to have been heavily involved in the dismissal of U.S. Attorney Iglesias. In several e-mails it appears that these officials were reacting directly to the complaints of Senator Pete Domenici (R-NM) and the ongoing investigation into public corruption in New Mexico. For example, Deputy White House Counsel Bill Kelley smugly e-mailed Gonzales’ Chief of Staff Kyle Sampson to report that Domenici’s office was ‘happy as a clam’ on learning of Iglesias’s ouster. Senior Counselor to the President Karl Rove bragged about Iglesias’s dismissal by proclaiming ‘he’s gone’ to the New Mexico Republican Party Chairman, who had previously complained to Rove about Iglesias.”

* * *

This chain of events troubles McKay who wrote in his law review article that former Attorney General Gonzales ultimately approved Iglesias’s termination with the full knowledge that it was based on partisan politics.

Gonzales admitted “he took multiple phone calls from Domenici concerning [Iglesias], urging that he be replaced, and has admitted that [President Bush] spoke with him about the ‘problems’ with Iglesias,” McKay wrote.
”Gonzales has even admitted that one of the reasons that Iglesias was fired was because Senator Domenici had “lost confidence” in Iglesias. “While these allegations are troubling under any analysis, a thorough and independent investigation is necessary to determine whether criminal laws have been violated,” McKay added. “Among the considerations facing the inspector general is whether the actions of former Attorney General Gonzales constituted obstruction of justice by removing Iglesias.”

Don’t hold your breath waiting for justice. No attorney employed by the Michael Mukasey-led Department of Justice will initiate an investigation of and pursue a criminal prosecution against Alberto Gonzales. As Leopold reports, they’re too busy fighting voter fraud:

Recently, the OPR contacted Iglesias’s former executive assistant, Rumaldo Armijo, to interview him about whether he was pressured by Pat Rogers, a Republican attorney in Albuquerque, and Mickey Barnett, a Republican lobbyist, to bring charges of voter fraud against Democrats in the state, Iglesias confirmed when asked about the matter during an interview.

Rogers was affiliated with the American Center for Voting Rights, a now defunct non-profit organization that sought to defend voter rights and increase public confidence in the fairness and outcome of elections. However, it has since emerged that the organization played a major role in suppressing the votes of people who intended to cast ballots for Democrats in various states. Rogers is also the former chief counsel to the New Mexico Republican Party, and was tapped by Domenici to replace Iglesias as US Attorney for New Mexico.

Rogers did not respond to emails seeking comment.

Armijo was also unavailable for comment. During his tenure in the US attorney’s office he was in charge of issues related to voter fraud in New Mexico. Iglesias said in an interview that he launched an in-depth investigation into claims of voter fraud in New Mexico and found the allegations to be “non-provable in court.” He said he is certain that his firing was due, in part, to the fact that he would not file criminal charges of voter fraud in New Mexico. Iglesias added that, based on evidence that had surfaced thus far and “Karl Rove’s obsession with voter fraud issues throughout the country,” he now believes GOP operatives had wanted him to go after Democratic-funded organizations in an attempt to swing the 2006 midterm elections to Republicans.

Armijo spoke to the Senate Ethics Committee last year about numerous telephone calls and emails dating back to 2005 he received from Rogers related to voter fraud, and Iglesias’s alleged failure to investigate the matter while Iglesias was US attorney, Iglesias confirmed.

Last May, House Democrats released a transcript of an interview congressional investigators had with one of Gonzales’s senior Justice Department staffers, Matthew Friedrich, in which Friedrich recounted that over breakfast in November 2006, Rogers and Barnett told him they were frustrated about Iglesias’s refusal to pursue cases of voter fraud and that they had spoken to Karl Rove and Domenici about having Iglesias fired.

“I remember them repeating basically what they had said before in terms of unhappiness with Dave Iglesias and the fact that this case hadn’t gone anyplace,” Friedrich said, according to a copy of the interview transcript. “It was clear to me that they did not want him to be the US attorney. And they mentioned that they had essentially . . . they were sort of working towards that.”

According to media reports, Rogers said he does not recall speaking to Rove about Iglesias.

Additionally, Barnett and Rogers met with Monica Goodling, the Justice Department’s White House liaison, in June 2006 to complain that Iglesias was ignoring voter fraud. Goodling’s meeting with Rogers and Barnett took place at the urging of a colleague. Rogers also drafted a lengthy letter that he sent to Domenici detailing what he claimed were Iglesias’s prosecutorial failures, Iglesias said he had been told.

Allen Weh, the New Mexico Republican Party chairman, told McClatchy Newspapers in March that he urged Rove to use his influence to have Iglesias fired because Weh was unhappy with Iglesias’s alleged refusal to bring criminal charges against Democrats in a voter fraud investigation.

At best, nothing will happen until Attorney General John Edwards(?) can order an investigation on January 21, 2009. But the fact that justice will not be served by the Department of Justice does not mean that justice must be denied:

ANY person residing in ANY state can file a grievance against Alberto Gonzales.

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11 Responses

  1. Yes, criminal. And, your communication to Harriet Miers is much appreciated. You are on a roll! (my blogroll, that is)

    : )

    Also, this isn’t directly related to your post, but it is related. It seems that longtime Republican dirty trixter Roger Stone may have known months ago that Spitzer was going down.

    I would like to take this opportunity to call attention to the fact that, just because a very high-profile suspect is guilty does not mean the prosecution was not politically motivated and/or carried out in violation of appropriate legal standards.

    The Stone thing is at Suburban Guerrilla: http://susiemadrak.com/2008/03/19/21/11/prescient-4/

  2. Gene’O,

    Thanks for the link.

    I’ve had no response from Ms. Miers or from the e-mail I sent to D. Kyle Sampson and his boss. I still need to e-mail Judge Fuller and Sen. Murkowski. And Alberto Gonzales if I ever find an e-mail address for him.

    Stone is a piece of work. I’d not seen the Sub, Guer. site before and yours is the second reference I’ve seen today.

    E.M.

  3. ha ha. Susie at S.G. is great, and well-respected. I get lots of good info from there, even though I don’t comment or link over there very much.

    Good luck on finding an address for Alberto.

  4. More stuff on that Stone connection has been coming out over the past couple of days. If you haven’t already seen the stuff at Hullabaloo and in the NYT, you can follow the link in this post:

    http://geneo.wordpress.com/2008/03/23/scott-horton-strikes-again/

    Gene’O

  5. Hey, E.M. did you try and leave me a link today? I’m not sure what happened, but it didn’t come thru

    :)

  6. Gene’O,

    I tried. Send a couple of links by e-mail.

    Another update on the Spitzer/Stone story:

    Did Spitzer Get Stoned?

    E.M.

  7. I got that FDL link you sent me. Ty.

    You should check your referrals if you haven’t looked at them today.

    :)

  8. Saw that. Thanks for the link. Got quite a few – for me, anyway – hits today.

    There’s a good timeline of the story here:

    Just What DID Trigger That Investigation of Spitzer?

    E.M.

  9. http://geneo.wordpress.com/2008/03/26/the-revolution-will-not-be-televised/

  10. I really liked your blog! I have to say it is hard to come by blogs with great information like yours. It is definitely bookmark worthy! Thanks for putting it together. Peace!

    • Thanks.

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