Sunday, March 04, 2007
by Paul Blumenthal, 03.04.2007
Back at the beginning of the year the Justice Department announced that it was replacing seven U.S. Attorneys in an unprecedented move. The Attorney 'purge' was able to take place due to a provision allowing the Justice Department to unilaterally replace U.S. Attorneys for any reason that was snuck into the PATRIOT Act reauthorization by Senator Arlen Specter (R-PA).
McClatchy Newspapers reports today that one of those Attorneys, David Iglesias, U.S. Attorney from New Mexico, was pressured by Rep. Heather Wilson (R-NM) and Sen. Pete Domenici (R-NM) to bring down indictments on local Democratic officials prior to the 2006 midterm election. Iglesias refused and has since been purged by the Justice Department. If Wilson and Domenici did attempt to pressure a sitting U.S. Attorney for the political benefit of the oft-endangered Wilson it would be a serious ethical violation.
Wilson's history with Domenici is integral to this story. Wilson was one of the top Democratic targets in the 2006 election and faced her toughest competition in years from New Mexico Attorney General Patsy Madrid. She barely eked out a victory after a late gaffe by Madrid during a debate. Wilson's continuing victories are essential to the aging Domenici as he views the Albuquerque Republican as his heir. Domenici is an institution in New Mexico. He has served since the 1970s and represents a more moderate strain of Republicanism than those elected in the 1980s or 90s. Wilson was brought up through the system by Domenici and clearly the heir apparent to his Senate seat, much to the chagrin of the more conservative Southern New Mexico Republican Congressman Stevan Pearce. This explains why Domenici, the second of the two to pressure Iglesias, was "more persistent than Wilson ... When Iglesias said an indictment wouldn't be handed down until at least December, the line went dead." Meanwhile the White House is choosing between four potential replacements for Iglesias, all of whom were hand picked by Domenici. Domenici is up for reelection in 2008.
Playing with justice for political reasons is a serious violation of the public's trust. That two Members of Congress may have done this to further their careers or legacies is abominable. The Ethics Committees in both Houses of Congress have just been handed a chance to prove if they work or not. If Members wish to insist that they do not need an Independent Oversight Board to investigate wrong doing they must begin with the cases of Wilson and Domenici to prove that they can and will police their own. On the grander scale, the Justice Department has serious questions it must answer in what may be an attempt to stifle or distort justice for purely political reasons.
Keelhaul them, I say.
You idiot. "UC got the LANL contract, once again" If you worked at LANL you would know beyond a doubt, that "UC" did NOT get the contract. We are currently suffering from the imposition of regulations, rules, and mandates from "non-UC" overseers (far beyond those imposed by DOE) who have not a clue that they've just inherited a world-class national security research institution and are about to destroy it. Go take your hatred of UC and stick it.
The FBI report will be released which shows that former Associate Director John Mitchell really did take classified material home on a laptop.
Senator admits role in criminal investigation - MSNBC (AP News)
New Mexico politician acknowledges asking fired U.S. attorney about probe
St. Pete appears to be in deep trouble. Like him, or not, if Pete goes, LANL is going to experience serious funding problems and a big drop in political protection.
Looks like another nail in the coffin may be coming LANL's way.
Yes, you are being too narrow-minded. Pete Dominici has been an integral part of the LANL funding process for many years. When he has a major screw-up, it is lab news.
Old "Get Over It" Pete may have just hammered the last nail in his own political coffin. Whether or not his demise will mean anything to LANL is another question, because of late he has seemed content to just sit back and watch LANL self-destruct.