Texas Tech faculty members object to the hiring of ‘Professor’ Alberto Gonzales

Sarah Nightingale of the Avalanche-Journal reports that Texas Tech professors object to the hiring of Alberto Gonzales:

More than 40 Texas Tech professors have objected in a petition to Chancellor Kent Hance’s decision to hire former U.S. Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, according to the petition’s creator.

Petition creator Walter Schaller, a Tech philosophy professor since 1986, said Friday he decided to take action because “with the emphasis on ethics the university has adopted, a guy that misled Congress is not the kind of person we want to represent Texas Tech.”

[snip]

The petition cites two main reasons for opposing Gonzales’ hire: because the chancellor should not hire faculty and because Gonzales’ record is questionable.

[snip]

The document goes on to list Gonzales “ethical failings,” including: frequently misleading Congress and the American people; rejecting the Geneva Conventions; denying the Constitutional right of Habeas Corpus; and showing more loyalty to President George W. Bush than to the Constitution.

“I tried to document all of the charges against Gonzales,” Schaller said, citing a 2008 Department of Justice report and a 2009 Inspector Generals’ report investigating Gonzales’ surveillance programs as his information sources.

The petition is here (.pdf).

I sent the following email to the 38 original professors who signed the petition:

Professors:

I wish you luck with your petition in opposition to the employment of Mr. Gonzales by TTU.

Prof. Schaller was quoted saying:

I tried to document all of the charges against Gonzales,” Schaller said, citing a 2008 Department of Justice report and a 2009 Inspector Generals’ report investigating Gonzales’ surveillance programs as his information sources.

As a practicing attorney, I’ve grown very tired of attorneys – like Mr. Gonzales – whose unethical conduct makes them unfit to practice law and began drafting grievance applications to document their conduct, including this complaint against Mr. Gonzales.  My article is written in the form of a draft grievance application that is ready to be filed with the Texas Bar.  I would suggest it would be much harder for TTU to justify the continued employment of former-attorney Alberto Gonzales than the continued employment of former-Attorney General Alberto Gonzales.

Please don’t hesitate to contact me if you – or someone from TTU law school – would like to discuss filing a grievance against Mr. Gonzales with the Texas Bar Association.

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Alberto Gonzales finally lands a job.

It took nearly two years, but Alberto Gonzales finally found a job teaching at Texas Tech:

Texas Tech Chancellor Kent Hance told the Lubbock Avalanche-Journal that Gonzales will start Aug. 1, and that his salary will be around $100,000.

“Anytime I can get a former cabinet member to work for the university, I will,” Hance said. “He can teach (students) about government, about goals, about diversity. Here’s a guy whose parents were migrant workers, and he went on to one of the highest offices in the land.”

Fortunately, Mr. Gonzales will be kept away from the Texas Tech School of Law since he’s only been hired to teach political science.

It took nearly two years, but Alberto Gonzales finally found a job teaching at Texas Tech:
Texas Tech Chancellor Kent Hance told the Lubbock Avalanche-Journal that Gonzales will start Aug. 1, and that his salary will be around $100,000.

“Anytime I can get a former cabinet member to work for the university, I will,” Hance said. “He can teach (students) about government, about goals, about diversity. Here’s a guy whose parents were migrant workers, and he went on to one of the highest offices in the land.”

Fortunately for Texas Tech’s law students, he’ll be teaching a political science course.

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Bar complaints filed against Yoo, Bybee, Addington, Ashcroft, Gonzales, Mukasey, 6 others

Justin Blum at Bloomberg (h/t Zachary Roth at TPMMuckraker) reports that state bar complaints have been filed against twelve Bush administration lawyers involved in the authorization and sanctioning of torture by the United States of America, including two attorneys, Alberto Gonzales and John Yoo, whose disbarments I have long been advocating. [A complete list of the grieved attorneys – with links to the complaints – is included at the end of this post]. See also these reports by UPI, CNN and Scott Shane at NYT. Upon signing and filing the complaints on behalf of VotersForPeace (donate here ) and a coalition of organizations led by Velvet Revolution, attorney Kevin Zeese, Executive Director of VotersForPeace, stated in part:

Today, we filed complaints with the District of Columbia Bar and with four other states seeking the disbarment of 12 Bush-Cheney torture lawyers. These lawyers misused their license to practice law to provide legal cover for the war crime of torture. This misuse of their license requires the bar association to disbar them or the bar will become complicit in torture.

Complaints have been filed against: John Yoo, Judge Jay Bybee, and Stephen Bradbury who authored the torture memoranda. As well as attorneys who advised, counseled, consulted and supported those memoranda including Alberto Gonzales, John Ashcroft, Michael Chertoff, Alice Fisher, William Haynes II, Douglas Feith, Michael Mukasey, Timothy Flanigan, and David Addington. These detailed complaints, with over 500 pages of supporting exhibits, have been filed with the state bars in the District of Columbia, New York, California, Texas and Pennsylvania, and they seek disciplinary action and disbarment. …

This cadre of torture lawyers colluded to facilitate the abuse and torture of prisoners (detainee) that included, evidence suggests, deaths at overseas U.S. military facilities. Human Rights Watch reports 98 deaths of people in custody of the United States in Iraq and Afghanistan. Making torture even worse in this case is that it was used to try and get information to tie Saddam Hussein to al Qaeda – a relationship that did not exist – as well as information about non-existent weapons of mass destruction in order to justify the illegal invasion and occupation of Iraq.

We have asked the respective state bars to revoke the licenses of these attorneys for moral turpitude. They failed to show “respect for and obedience to the law, and respect for the rights of others,” and intentionally or recklessly failed to act competently, all in violation of legal Rules of Professional Conduct. Several attorneys failed to adequately supervise the work of subordinate attorneys and forwarded shoddy legal memoranda regarding the definition of torture to the White House and Department of Defense. These lawyers further acted incompetently by advising superiors to approve interrogation techniques that were in violation of U.S. and international law. They failed to support or uphold the U.S. Constitution, and the laws of the United States, and to maintain the respect due to the courts of justice and judicial officers, all in violation state bar rules.

Torture is illegal under United States and international law. It is illegal under the U.S. Constitution, domestic law and international treaties to which the United States is a party.

* * *

The torture memoranda did not provide objective legal advice to government decision-makers, but instead twisted the state of the law so that it was unrecognizable. They were so inaccurate that these memoranda are more justifications about what the authors and the intended recipients wanted the law to be, rather than assessments of what the law actually is.

* * *

We decided to take action today because the federal government seems unable and unwilling to act. The Department of Justice’s Office of Professional Responsibility has taken nearly five years to complete its report, as some of the memoranda at issue became public in June 2004. Further, this OPR investigation is focused only on two lawyers, John Yoo and Jay Bybee rather than all those involved. This inexcusable delay is unfair to the public because the consequences of any wrongdoing are diminished. The delay has already benefited the two men under investigation, John Yoo now has tenure at Berkeley law school and Jay Bybee now has a lifetime appointment as a federal court of appeals judge. If OPR had completed its duties in a timely manner it is unlikely that either appointment would have been made.

In addition to inaction by OPR, the Congress where select Members were briefed 40 times by the CIA, seems unable to take action because of fear of its own complicity being exposed. And, Attorney General Eric Holder, has now testified that he approved renditions – which results in prisoners being tortured by other countries at the behest of the United States – during the Clinton administration. And, sadly, the President of the United States has now decided to hide evidence of war crimes by refusing to release photographic and video evidence despite a court order to do so. Finally, the administration is appointing General McChrystal to be the head of operations in Afghanistan despite being responsible for commanding Fort Nama in Iraq as well as special forces involved in torture[.]

* * *

Therefore, the people must act to face up to this issue and restore morality and Rule of Law to the United States. In addition to filing these complaints we are starting a campaign for disbarment, public torture hearings and for the appointment of an Independent Prosecutor. People who want to get involved are urged to go to DisbarTortureLawyers.com and VotersForPeace.us.

Only by taking torture out of politics and allowing an independent prosecutor to pursue the facts and apply the law will the United States recover from these war crimes. Application of the rule of law, beginning with disbarment, is a necessary part of the process of healing the nation.

The Velvet Revolution statement regarding the filing of the complaints adds, in part, that:

The individually tailored complaints allege that the named attorneys violated the rules of professional responsibility by advocating torture. The memos written and supported by these attorneys advocating torture have now been repudiated by the Department of Justice, the White House, the Department of Defense and other experts in the field. The recently released Senate and Red Cross reports on detainee treatment provide uncontroverted evidence that the torture techniques advocated by the attorneys were used on human beings over an extended period of time. We have also sent a letter to House Judiciary Chairman John Conyers, asking that he initiate impeachment proceeding against Jay Bybee, who is now a sitting federal judge. The evidence is clear that, during his confirmation hearings, Mr. Bybee misused the classified status of his torture memos to portray a false picture of his legal history. Several Senators have stated publicly that Mr. Bybee would not have been confirmed if they had been aware of his torture memos. The bar complaints have been signed by our board attorney, Kevin Zeese, who also directs the Campaign for Fresh Air and Clean Politics, and Voters for Peace.

We ask other organizations to sign on to this campaign by sending an email to DisbarTortureLawyers@velvetrevolution.us. Individuals can sign on using the form below. This campaign will include a broad public relations push so we urge everyone to spread the word and for the press to contact us for comment and interviews.

You can make targeted donations to this campaign at with an earmark comment in the box at http://www.velvetrevolution.us/donate.php.

The complaints were filed against the following attorneys:

Links to the complaints can also be found at Velvet Revolution here, where you will find a Sign On Form to add your name to the campaign as well as links to the exhibits attached to the complaints, the released torture memos and other information.

Updated 05-19-09 to correctly identify William James Haynes II (instead of Michael Haynes) as one of the dirty dozen torture lawyers.  (h/t earlofhuntingdon)

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Chickens come home to roost as employers shun toxic Bush lawyers

Noting that Alberto Gonzales hasn’t been able to find a job since his 2007 resignation, Charlie Savage and Scott Shane reported on March 8, 2009, that David Addington has joined the pool of unemployable Bush administration attorneys. From their article Terror-War Fallout Lingers Over Bush Lawyers:

For some of Mr. Bush’s lawyers, the most likely consequence may be wariness from potential employers. The former White House counsel and attorney general, Alberto R. Gonzales, for example, has not found a job since resigning in 2007 amid accusations that he misled Congress about surveillance without warrants and the firing of United States attorneys.

He recently told The Wall Street Journal that the controversy surrounding him had made law firms “skittish” about hiring him, calling himself “one of the many casualties of the war on terror.” Mr. Gonzales’s lawyer, George J. Terwilliger III, said in a statement that “Judge Gonzales looks forward to the day when reason prevails over partisan politics and he can get on with his professional life.”

David S. Addington, a top aide to Vice President Dick Cheney who was a forceful voice in internal legal debates, is also said to still be looking for work. The former Pentagon general counsel William Haynes II had been nominated by Mr. Bush for an appeals court judgeship, but was blocked because of his role in detention policies.

He then searched for a job for about a year, according to Pentagon officials, before landing a position at Chevron in 2008. [Emphasis supplied.]

h/t Zachary Roth, Report: Addington, Like Gonzo, Said To Still Be Looking For Work, March 9, 2009

Back on December 3, 2008, Carrie Johnson provided this update on D. Kyle Sampson:

D. Kyle Sampson, [broken link] who served as the chief of staff to Gonzales until his March 2007 resignation, recently took a leave from his job as a partner at the law firm Hunton & Williams while the investigation [by prosecutor Nora R. Dannehy who is investigating the dismissals of nine U.S. attorneys] proceeds. A spokeswoman for the law firm said he is on leave “pending admission to the D.C. bar.” [Ed. note – As of this date, Mr. Sampson has not been admitted to the D.C. bar. Updated March 17, 2009 to add the word ‘not’ to the previous sentence in this Ed. note]

The report by Inspector General Glenn A. Fine singled out Sampson for offering testimony that was “not credible” and “unpersuasive.” The authorities also concluded that Sampson had committed “misconduct.”

An attorney for Sampson previously said that Sampson had gone out of his way to help investigators and that he had offered “his best, most honest and complete recollection of these events.”

It’s shameful that these men are still licensed to practice law but, for whatever the reason and however temporary, they’re not practicing law. This doesn’t take the place of proper investigation by their respective bar associations and imposition of appropriate sanctions, but Messrs. Gonzales, Addington and Sampson are being judged quite harshly by their peers. For now.

* * * * * * * * * *

I sent the following email to Hunton & Williams requesting a response to some questions I had regarding the firm’s employment of Mr. Sampson:

Eleanor Kerlow
Senior Public Relations Manager, Hunton & Williams
(202) 955-1883
ekerlow@hunton.com

Ms. Kerlow,

I write The Grievance Project at which I have been following the career of D. Kyle Sampson. I am writing requesting Hunton & Williams’ response to the following questions related to Mr. D. Kyle Sampson.

  • Was the leave taken at the firm’s request?
  • Has the firm been contacted by Nora R. Dannehy regarding Mr. Sampson?
  • Has any other attorney at Hunton & Williams taken a leave from the firm due to Ms. Dannehy’s investigation?
  • Was a press release issued relating to Mr. Sampson’s leave? If so, please forward a copy to my attention.
  • Is it typical or policy for partners in Hunton’s D.C. office to take a leave from the firm while applying for admission to the D.C. bar?
  • Is Mr. Sampson welcome back to Hunton upon his admission to the D.C. bar?

Thank you for your attention to these questions.

I will update this post with any reply I receive.

Updated on March 11, 2009: Emptywheel and Scott Horton provide much more analysis on this issue here and here, respectively.

Updated on March 17, 2009: I haven’t received a reply from Ms. Kerlow or other official response from Hunton & Williams, so I resent the above email to Ms. Kerlow again asking for a response to my questions.   I also asked Ms. Kerlow whether she or someone else from Hunton & Williams stopped by TGP the other day:

From Statcounter :

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March 14th 2009 03:42:18 PM No referring link
grievanceproject.wordpress.com/2009/03/10/chickens-come-home-to-roost-as-employers-shun-toxic-bush-lawyers/

From Sitemeter:

Domain Name (Unknown)
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Country : United States (Facts)
State : New York
City : New York
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Cross-posted at the Oxdown Gazette, Firedoglake‘s diary blog.

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Alberto Gonzales and Leura Canary named to Top Ten Prosecutors list for 2008

Crossposted at Oxdown Gazette.

Update 08-12-09: The link to the Bad Prosecutors 2008 annual list of the ten worst prosecutors has been corrected.

Update 05-20-09: I was updating links that had gone bad, including the link for the 2008 annual list of the ten worst prosecutors included in this post below.  For reasons unknown to me, it appears that post has been deleted from Bad Prosecutor.  I have asked Mr. Bennett for an explanation.

Bad Prosecutors, published by the Bennett Law Firm, of Houston, Texas, has compiled its annual list[bad link – post removed from site – 05-20-09] – of the ten worst prosecutors – who will each receive a Certificate of Under Achievment [sic]. This year marks Mrs. Canary’s debut to the List, but Mr. Gonzales is now a deserving 2-time honoree:

Image

See all the Certificates here.

In its press release, the Bennett Law Firm explained that the release of the list was delayed due to the election so the firm “would not be accused of being “political[,]” adding that “[w]e plan not to wait as long to release the Top 10 nominees coming in 2009. Therefore, continue to send in your nominations to bbennett@bennettlawfirm.com.” (My emphasis) (Thanks to SH for this link.)

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E-mail to Alabama State Bar Office of Legal Counsel regarding unethical conduct of US Attorney Leura Garrett Canary

Tony McLain, General Counsel, Alabama State Bar
tony.mclain@alabar.org

Copies to:

Mr. Alex Lafayette Holtsford, Jr., President, Montgomery Bar Association
aholtsford@nixholtsford.com

Sam Partridge, Assistant General Counsel, Alabama State Bar
sam.partridge@alabar.org

Robert E. Lusk, Jr., Assistant General Counsel, Alabama State Bar
robert.lusk@alabar.org

Jeremy W. McIntire, Assistant General Counsel, Alabama State Bar
jeremy.mcintire@alabar.org

John Mark White, President, Alabama State Bar
mwhite@whitearnolddowd.com

Thomas James Methvin, President-Elect, Alabama State Bar
tom.methvin@beasleyallen.com

Pamela Harnest Bucy, Vice President, Alabama State Bar
pbucy@law.ua.edu

Keith Byrne Norman, Secretary, Alabama State Bar
keith.norman@alabar.org

Samuel Neil Crosby, Past President, Alabama State Bar
snc@sgclaw.com

Walter Edgar McGowan, Executive Council, Alabama State Bar
wem@glsmgn.com

Maibeth Jernigan Porter, Executive Council, Alabama State Bar
mporter@maynardcooper.com

Richard J. R. Raleigh, Jr., Executive Council, Alabama State Bar
rraleigh@wilmerlee.com

Hon. Leura Garrett Canary, United States Attorney for the Middle District of Alabama
leura.canary@usdoj.gov

Dear Mr. McLain,

I have been researching the conduct of various attorneys in the service of the government of the United States, whether that conduct is a violation of the rules of professional conduct with which each such attorney must comply and authoring factual allegations of the conduct of these attorneys that establish violations of the applicable rules of professional responsibility, including Alberto Gonzales, Kyle Sampson, Harriet Miers, Lisa Murkowski, John Yoo, Mark Everett Fuller, Monica Marie Goodling, Thomas W. Hartmann, Michael J. Elston, Patrick J. Rogers and, now, United States Attorney Leura Garrett Canary. Her claimed recusal from the prosecution of former Gov. Don Siegelman was and remains a sham and violates several of the rules of professional conduct of Alabama. These actions raise a substantial question as to her honesty, trustworthiness and fitness as a lawyer.

Mrs. Canary’s unethical conduct tarnishes the reputation of each member of the Alabama State Bar, including – if not especially – your own. Only a good faith investigation of Mrs. Canary by the Alabama State Bar Office of General Counsel and referral, if and when appropriate, to the Alabama State Bar Disciplinary Committee to answer for her violations of the Alabama Rules of Professional Conduct will undo the damage she has done to the legal profession in Alabama. If the reputations of the Department of Justice and the Alabama State Bar are ever to be salvaged, Mrs. Canary must be investigated by the Alabama State Bar Office of Legal Counsel and referred to the Alabama State Bar Disciplinary Committee to answer for her violations of the Alabama Rules of Professional Conduct.

Although not a formal complaint, the documentation of Ms. Canary’s conduct that I have prepared and included below* (and posted here at The Grievance Project and here at Firedoglake’s Oxdown Gazette) establish prima facie violations of the Alabama Rules of Professional Conduct. Pursuant to Rule 3(c) of the Alabama Rules of Disciplinary Procedure which permits you, as General Counsel, to initiate a disciplinary investigation or proceeding upon your “own motion in light of information received or acquired from any source[,]” it is incumbent on you to exercise your authority.

E.M./The Grievance Project

*I did not include the documentation in this post that I sent in the e-mail. It is posted here .

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Employment of Kyle D. Sampson reflects poorly on Hunton & Williams, LLP, No.3

Updated March 10, 2009 to reflect Mr. Sampson’s leave of absence from Hunton & Williams.

Cross-posted at the Oxdown Gazette, Firedoglake‘s new diary blog.

My third e-mail to Ms. Field:

Andrea Bear Field
DC Office Managing Partner
Hunton & Williams

cc: Kyle D. Sampson , Partner
Hunton & Williams

Dear Ms. Field,

On behalf of The Grievance Project, I would appreciate Hunton & Williams‘s response to the following items:

1. The most recent United States Department of Justice Office of Professional Responsibility and Office of the Inspector General report, An Investigation into the Removal of Nine U.S. Attorneys in 2006, which describes* additional allegations of unethical conduct by Hunton & Williams partner Kyle D. Sampson.

Professor Marty Lederman succinctly summarizes this matter at Balkinization:

The basic thrust of the Report, as I understand it, is that Kyle Sampson was acting in cahoots with the White House Counsel’s Office to fire disfavored U.S. Attorneys — at least some for possibly impermissible reasons — and that AG Gonzales and others at DOJ therefore left the entire project up to Sampson, stepping in merely to rubberstamp whatever decisions he reached in accord with the Counsel’s Office.

Is this type of conduct typical at Hunton & Williams? If not, why does Hunton & Williams continue to condone and encourage this type of conduct through its partnership with Mr. Sampson?

2. The appointment of Nora Dannehy as Special Prosecutor to review this matter, including your partner’s apparently central involvement in this scandal.

Update: The Wall Street Journal’s Dan Slater has published a profile of Ms. Dannehy. (h/t emptywheel)

3. Like the previous report, An Investigation of Allegations of Politicized Hiring by Monica Goodling and Other Staff in the Office of the Attorney General, this most recent report again confirms my opinion that Mr. Sampson committed numerous violations of the rules of professional conduct of both Utah and D.C that raise a substantial question as to his honesty, trustworthiness and fitness to practice law. Has Hunton & Williams reviewed whether Mr. Sampson’s conduct violated the Utah and D.C. Rules of Professional Conduct? If so, what was the conclusion of that review? If not, why not?

Thank you for your attention to this matter.

E.M./The Grievance Project

*Section C of the DOJ OPR/OIG report:

As discussed above, Sampson was the person most responsible for creating the removal plan, selecting the U.S. Attorneys to be removed, and implementing the plan. Yet, after the controversy over the removals erupted, Sampson attempted to downplay his role, describing himself as the “aggregator” and denying responsibility for placing several of the U.S. Attorneys on the list.

We concluded that from start to finish Sampson mishandled the removal process. And, as discussed above, he inappropriately advocated bypassing the Senate confirmation process for replacing U.S. Attorneys through a strategy of “gum[ming] this to death” and “run[ning] out the clock” while appearing to act in good faith.

We were also troubled by Sampson’s claims that he did not recall the reasons for many of the removals or who had recommended that certain U.S. Attorneys be removed. For example, while Sampson said he did not place Iglesias on the list at the request of the White House, his recollection on this issue was varying and vague. We question why Sampson could not recall the precise reason why he placed Iglesias on the removal list, given the relatively short passage of time since the incident, and the fact that Iglesias’s name alone was added, for the first time, to the November 2006 list. Moreover, other misleading after-the-fact explanations for why Iglesias was placed on the list caused us to further doubt the candor of Sampson’s explanations. In the end, we question whether Sampson provided us the full story about Iglesias’s placement on the list, as well as the reasons for other U.S. Attorney removals.

As discussed in the sections that follow, we also concluded that Sampson made various misleading statements about the U.S. Attorney removals to the White House, Congress, and other Department officials.

1. Misleading Statements to the White House

Sampson’s misleading statements about the U.S. Attorney removals began as the selection process was unfolding. He misrepresented to the White House how the selections occurred. In an e-mail to Harriet Miers in January 2006 forwarding a list of names to the White House, Sampson wrote, “I list
these folks based on my review” of the EARS evaluations, and “my interviews with officials in the Office of the Attorney General, Office of the Deputy Attorney General, and the Criminal Division.” Sampson thus created the general impression that the EARS evaluations and his “interviews” of senior Department officials, including officials in the Criminal Division, formed the basis of his identification of specific U.S. Attorneys for removal.

However, Sampson admitted to us that he did not remember speaking to anyone in the Criminal Division about the performance of U.S. Attorneys, except “only in the most general terms.” He also acknowledged that he never reviewed any EARS evaluations. He told us that it would have been better if he had stated in the e-mail to Miers that it was based on his understanding of somebody else’s understanding of the reviews of the offices. [Footnote] 202[.] We believe that Sampson’s misleading statements to Miers gave the impression that the Department had engaged in a far more systematic and structured evaluation process to determine which U.S. Attorneys should be removed.

2. Misleading Statements to Congress

Sampson similarly misled congressional staff in his January 12, 2007, briefing that the removals were based on EARS evaluations. At this meeting, Sampson and Acting Assistant Attorney General for the Office of Legislative Affairs Richard Hertling briefed staff for Senators Patrick Leahy and Dianne Feinstein about the removals. Sampson told the Senators’ staffs that the Department had been engaged in a process to identify underperforming U.S. Attorneys and that the process included a review of the EARS evaluations. The two staff members for the Senators told us that Sampson initially explained that the terminations were based on the EARS evaluations, but backtracked when Feinstein’s counsel pressed him for copies. According to both staff members, Sampson then explained that some of the removals were based on EARS evaluations, and some on other factors such as caseloads and responsiveness to Department policy initiatives.

According to Hertling, who said he knew little about the controversy at the time, Sampson attempted to impress upon the congressional staff that the removals were the result of a process the Department undertook to identify U.S. Attorneys who were the “weakest performers,” and that the process included a review of EARS evaluations. Hertling told us that one of the things that stuck in his mind was Sampson’s “specific reference” to EARS evaluations as a basis for identifying these particular U.S. Attorneys for termination.

However, Sampson claimed to us that he mentioned the EARS evaluations only in connection with Ryan’s removal. He said that he doubted he would have suggested that the other removals were based on the EARS evaluations because “that wouldn’t have been accurate.” Yet, based upon the recollection of the other witnesses at the briefing, including Hertling, we believe that Sampson misled the congressional staff that EARS evaluations played a more significant role in the Department’s decision-making process than they actually did.

Second, Sampson included misleading statements in the Department’s response to a February 8, 2007, letter from several Senators asking for information about the circumstances of Cummins’s resignation and Griffin’s appointment. Sampson, who drafted the response and circulated it in the Department and the White House for comment, had the final sign-off on the language in the response.

The response, which was sent on February 23, 2007, contained three misleading statements. The first was the statement that “it was well-known, as early as December 2004, that Mr. Cummins intended to leave . . . .” As we noted in Chapter Five, we found evidence that in drafting the response Sampson discovered a small news item in a free weekly Arkansas tabloid reporting that Cummins might begin exploring career options before the expiration of President Bush’s second term. However, Cummins told us he did not intend to resign at that time and was not looking for other employment. We also found no evidence that anyone at the Department was aware of the article until February 2007.

The second misleading statement in the Department’s response was that “the decision to have Mr. Griffin replace Mr. Cummins was first contemplated in spring or summer of 2006 [and] the final decision to appoint Mr. Griffin . . . was made on or about December 15 . . .” This statement is directly contradicted by the January 9, 2006, e-mail Sampson sent to Miers in which Griffin is listed as a replacement for Cummins. The second part of the statement, that the final decision to appoint Griffin was made around December 15, is also misleading. As noted in Chapter Five, Sampson informed Goodling on August 18, 2006, that the Attorney General would appoint Griffin Interim U.S. Attorney following Griffin’s return to the Department.

The third misleading statement in the Department’s response was that “The Department is not aware of Karl Rove playing any role in the decision to appoint Mr. Griffin.” This statement is contradicted by Sampson’s e-mail on December 19, 2006, to Associate White House Counsel Christopher Oprison in which Sampson wrote, “I’m not 100 percent sure that Tim was the guy on which to test drive this authority, but know that getting him appointed was important to Harriet, Karl, etc.” While Sampson later explained this e-mail by stating that he “assumed” but did not know that Rove was involved in the decision to appoint Griffin, we found this explanation unpersuasive and belied by the evidence.

3. Misleading Department Officials

Sampson also misled Department officials and allowed them to mislead others about several aspects of the U.S. Attorney removals.

First, in mid-December 2006 after media reports began questioning the circumstances of Griffin’s appointment, Sampson drafted talking points for the Department’s Office of Public Affairs to use to respond to media inquiries. In these talking points, Sampson wrote that “Griffin was appointed Interim U.S. Attorney because of the timing of Cummins’s resignation.”

In fact, as Sampson knew, Cummins had been removed so that Griffin could take his place. The Department’s talking points left the misleading impression that Griffin was appointed as Interim U.S. Attorney because of the unexpected timing of Cummins’s resignation, when in fact Cummins was told to resign to create a position for Griffin.

Second and more important, Sampson’s failure to disclose what he knew about the White House’s involvement in the removals caused McNulty and Principal Associate Deputy Attorney General William Moschella to provide inaccurate testimony to Congress. Both McNulty and Moschella testified that based on what they knew at the time, the White House was not involved in the removals until October 2006 and at that point became involved only to sign off on the process.

Sampson was present at staff preparation sessions before both McNulty’s and Moschella’s congressional testimony where the group discussed what they should say in their testimony. Several other participants told us that the question about the White House’s involvement was raised during at least one of McNulty’s preparation sessions, and McNulty indicated that he would tell Congress that the White House was involved to sign off on the process because U.S. Attorneys are Presidential appointments. This was a misleading statement about the extent and timing of the White House’s role, which Sampson knew. However, Sampson did not correct McNulty’s mistaken belief or inform him of the full extent of the White House’s involvement.

Consequently, in a closed briefing session on February 14, 2007, McNulty told members of the Senate Judiciary Committee that the U.S. Attorney removal process began within the Department in September or October of 2006, and that the Department sent a list to the White House Counsel’s office in October and asked if they objected to the names. Similarly, Moschella testified incorrectly before a House Judiciary Subcommittee on March 6, 2007, based on what he had learned during the preparation sessions and from McNulty’s testimony, that the process to remove the U.S. Attorneys began in early October 2006 and that the White House eventually became involved in the removals, but only to sign off on the proposal because the U.S. Attorneys were Presidential appointees.

When we interviewed Sampson, he rationalized his not correcting the misimpression left at the preparation sessions by arguing that there were two separate phases of the process – the earlier “thinking” phase and the later “action” phase, and he said he was focused on the later action phase during the preparation sessions. We found Sampson’s testimony on this point not credible. Sampson sent three separate lists of U.S. Attorneys for removal to the White House for consideration before the fall of 2006. We believe that Sampson should have been more forthcoming at the preparation sessions about the White House’s involvement to ensure that McNulty and Moschella were aware of the facts and did not mislead Congress. Sampson’s failure to do so resulted in inaccurate and misleading testimony about a critical aspect of the controversy.

We concluded that Sampson engaged in misconduct by making misleading statements and failing to disclose important information to the White House, members of Congress, congressional staff, and Department officials concerning the reasons for the removals of the U.S. Attorneys and the extent of White House involvement in the removal process.

[Footnote] 202[:] However, even that would have been inaccurate because, as we noted in each of the U.S. Attorney chapters, with the exception of Ryan’s March 2006 EARS evaluation (which had not yet taken place), each of the EARS evaluations of the removed U.S. Attorneys was largely positive.

Report, pp. 346-351.

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