By Jon Christian Ryter
March 17, 2007
When Janet Reno was sworn in as the Attorney General of the United States she was given a priority task—fire all 93 US Attorneys so the co-presidency of Bill and Hillary Clinton could appoint US Attorneys who would carry their water pail and play step-'n-fetch-it for the White House—just as US Attorney Johnny Sutton of the Western District of Texas has carried the water for President George W. Bush and Attorney General Alberto Gonzales since November 30, 2001.
Bush, however, did not order the firing of all patronage US Attorneys (something I believe he should have done). While White House Counsel Harriet Miers suggested the President replace every US Attorney since all of them were Clinton appointees, Bush ordered the firing of only eight liberal Clinton-appointed US Attorneys.
US Attorneys, like all appointed officials, serve at the discretion of the President. US Attorneys, who are political appointees, expect to leave office when the president who appointed them leaves the Oval Office. The New York Times, which didn't see anything wrong with Bill Clinton firing 93 US Attorneys when he took office, believes a legal travesty has now taken place because Bush ordered Attorney General Alberto Gonzales to fire eight US Attorneys who chose to drag their heels in investigating possible vote fraud in 2004 by 527s like MoveOn.org on behalf of Democratic candidates.
On March 12 House Judiciary Chairman John Conyer [D-MI] (who should know after 42 years in the House that US Attorneys serve at the discretion of the Executive) told USA Today that he wants to grill Karl Rove about the firing of the eight (who were terminated last year). Conyers wants to find out about Rove's alleged role in recommending the firings. Rove passed along one complaint to Harriet Miers—who recommended that Bush fire all of them—just as Clinton did. White House spokeswoman Dano Perino admitted that Rove did pass on complaints he heard from New Mexico GOP Chairman Allen Weh. (Either its okay for Democratic presidents to fire US Attorneys to alter the pedigree of the Judicial Branch politics and not Republican presidents, or its okay for either party to fire all of them but not some of them.) Precedent says the federal prosecutors serve at the discretion of the President. End of story. Or rather, that should have been the end of the story.
Sen. Chuck Schumer [D-NY] who is leading the Senate probe into this purported egregious act, told the media that Rove's possible participation in the dismissal of New Mexico's US Attorney David Iglesias was "...extremely disturbing evidence..." of high level political maneuvering. I think the only maneuvering was being done for the cameras by Schumer and Conyers who both need to be recalled for wasting taxpayer money for political pomp and posturing. Six of the seven Democratic US Attorneys told House and Senate majority party investigators that they were stunned when they received s request for their resignations. Iglesias told the committees that he was fired after being called by two Republicans concerning corruption cases involving New Mexican Democrats. Iglesias said he was being pressured to file charges against the two before the 2004 election. (The two were Sen. Pete Domenici [R-NM] and Congresswoman Heather Wilson [R-NM]. Both denied they attempted to influence corruption investigations.) (I personally find it interesting that the only politicians that seem to get their day in court before an election are Republicans. (It appears, however, to be a Republican-appointed US Attorney for Eastern Louisiana, Jim Letten, who is dragging his heels on filing criminal charges against Congressman William J. Jefferson [D-LA] for accepting a $100 thousand bribe in marked bills—of which $90 thousand was found, wrapped in aluminum foil, in his freezer.)
The liberal media is now fanning the sparks of discontent in an attempt to create a raging forest fire. Sadly, even though the Bush Administration did nothing wrong in terminating Clinton appointees who actually received six year job extensions by having their separations delayed until December, 2006 instead of Jan. 20, 2001, the Gonzales aide who actually terminated the prosecutors was forced to fall on his own sword. In February, 2005 shortly after he assumed the post as Attorney General, Gonzales rubber-stamped the firing of the Clinton prosecutors and passed the baton to his aide, Kyle Sampson who would be entrusted with the actual terminations. Sampson resigned on Monday, March 12 as the Democratic majority launched what they hope will become Attorneygate.
The liberal Judiciary Committee heads in the House and Senate are demanding to know if the firings had their genesis in the White House and whether the firings were politically motivated. Let me save the House and Senate about $20 million in taxpayer dollars that these committees should not be allowed to spend. Of course the firings were politically motivated. The job of US Attorney is a political position.
On April 12, 1993, two months after the co-presidency of Bill and Hillary Clinton assumed office then CNN reporter Ken Bode noted that "...[f]or the last decade the Justice Department was an ideological warehouse for conservative thinkers. At the same time, Justice became a political arm of the White House..." In reality, the Department of Justice has always been a political arm of the White House with the US Attorneys functioning as the hand that administers the agenda of the White House. Bode, who criticized Reagan and Bush for their "...hard line on abortion [and a] rollback on civil rights..." praised Clinton, whose "...first public office was Attorney General of Arkansas. He was aggressive, high profile, populist...If the Justice Department will reflect President Clinton's policies, expect the new Attorney General to be much stronger on civil rights enforcement, pay attention to environmental laws, support the rights of children..." Of course, that would only happen if Clinton could change all of the Reagan-Bush US Attorneys at once since law enforcement is local—particularly on politically-correct, ideological laws.
Bode did not seem at all bothered that Clinton's AG, Janet Reno, had just fired every US Attorney in the country in one fell swoop, noting only that Reno's firing 93 US Attorneys "...has become a highly visible test of how political the Justice Department will be under Bill Clinton and Janet Reno." Because both Houses of Congress were controlled by the President's party, there was no Congressional outcry or demands for public hangings of the Attorney General, or questions raised whether or not the decision to clean house had its genesis in the Oval Office. Two months later Reno made the cover of Time magazine with an article by Nancy Gibbs entitled "Truth, Justice and the Reno Way." Gibbs noted that the New York Times called Reno a "prized asset."
The Washington Post noted that Bush Administration officials have repeatedly called the eight "sackings" (their term) that happened last year as routine firings designed to get rid of a handful of poorly performing political appointees. Leftwing media researchers have received White House documents, and interviews with administration personnel, that make it clear that the firings of these eight was at least discussed, if not decided upon, in 2005. AG Gonzales, regretfully, told the media on March 13 that he would take measures to make sure massing firings of US Attorneys did not happen again. Excuse me? It is the prerogative of the Chief Executive to dismiss, at will, all political appointees in his administration. And, once again, the last time I looked, US Attorneys were appointed.
The documents, which include e-mails between Sampson, Miers and other White House officials, pinpoint February, 2005 as the date when the decision to terminate these attorneys originated. What should have happened, at that moment, was Gonzales, not Sampson, firing them. If Bush-43 had Bill Clinton's spine in 2001, he would have acted on the precedent established by the Clinton Administration and fired not only all 93 US Attorneys, he would have dumped all of the Clinton appointees that were being mainstreamed into permanent berths in the bureaucracy. Instead, Bush decided to play George Washington and tried to create a bipartisan administration that was comprised of Bush-41 and -43 loyalists and Clinton spies. His first mistake as President.
contend that of the eight US Attorneys who were fired only three had
been given low job performance ratings: Margaret Chiara, the US Attorney
for Grand Rapids, Michigan; Bob Cummins of Little Rock, Arkansas and
Carol Lam of San Diego, California. David Iglesias, they maintain, received
good job performance ratings. The liberals just don't seem to get it.
US Attorneys are political appointees. They serve at the discretion
of the President. It doesn't matter if they have done a good job, a
fair job or a lousy job. But it seems to me that the person who should
have been fired first is Kyle Sampson. Sampson managed, over two years,
to make a routine termination of political appointees look like a conspiracy
to fire dedicated and loyal government employees. And, because Gonzales
hired a bureaucratic idiot who lacked the ability to make decisions,
Gonzales should fall on his sword, too. Ole.
© 2007 Jon C. Ryter - All Rights
[Read "Whatever Happened to America?"]
Jon Christian Ryter is the pseudonym of a former newspaper reporter with the Parkersburg, WV Sentinel. He authored a syndicated newspaper column, Answers From The Bible, from the mid-1970s until 1985. Answers From The Bible was read weekly in many suburban markets in the United States.
Today, Jon is an advertising executive with the Washington Times. His website, www.jonchristianryter.com has helped him establish a network of mid-to senior-level Washington insiders who now provide him with a steady stream of material for use both in his books and in the investigative reports that are found on his website.