In an op-ed piece that he wrote for Wednesday’s New York Times, former U.S. attorney David C. Iglesias believes that emails released by the Justice Department this week, confirm his suspicions that politics played a role in his dismissal. Iglesias said that the U.S. attorneys have a long history of being non-political, even though they are confirmed by a political process, and he thinks that he was fired, not being political, but for not being political enough. Iglesias points to something that happened right before the November election as the event that led the White House to decide to fire him.

Iglesias describes what happened when politics entered into the picture. “Politics entered my life with two phone calls that I received last fall, just before the November election. One came from Representative Heather Wilson and the other from Senator Domenici, both Republicans from my state, New Mexico. Ms. Wilson asked me about sealed indictments pertaining to a politically charged corruption case widely reported in the news media involving local Democrats. Her question instantly put me on guard. Prosecutors may not legally talk about indictments, so I was evasive. Shortly after speaking to Ms. Wilson, I received a call from Senator (Pete) Domenici at my home. The senator wanted to know whether I was going to file corruption charges, the cases Ms. Wilson had been asking about, before November. When I told him that I didn’t think so, he said, “I am very sorry to hear that,” and the line went dead.”

A few weeks after these phone calls, Iglesias’s name was added to the list of U.S. attorneys who would be asked to resign, despite the fact that he had received excellent evaluations, had a 95% conviction rate, and had been described in Justice Department documents two years earlier as a, “diverse, up and comer.” So the question is, why would a Republican U.S. attorney with these kinds of credentials be asked to resign?

It seems that the obvious reason is that he took his job seriously, and wouldn’t get sucked into partisan politics. When one takes the time to read about these fired U.S. attorneys, it is clear that the White House’s defense of the firings, “for performance based reasons” is a joke. The administration is in deep trouble here, and they had better hope that this doesn’t go to court, because I think that they will lose.

To read the David C. Iglesias op-ed column go to http://www.nytimes.com/2007/03/21/opinion/21iglesias.html

Jason Easley is the editor of the politics zone at 411mania.com.  His news column The Political Universe appears on Tuesdays and Fridays at www.411mania.com/politics

Jason can also be heard every Sunday afternoon at 1:30 pm (ET) as the host of The Political Universe Radio Show at http://www.blogtalkradio.com/thepoliticaluniverse blog radio 

 

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