Leader Blues

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

EDITORIALS>>Prosecutors in perspective

John Thurston writes from Cabot:
“Ernie Dumas went to great lengths describing the firing of eight federal prosecutors by the Bush Justice Dept. Unmentioned is the fact that upon taking office in 1993, Janet Reno, attorney general for President Clinton, fired all 93 federal prosecutors.
“Included were some investigating high Democrat officials like Dan Rostenkowski. “A Google search of ‘1993 + fired federal prosecutors’ will confirm that event.

“I don’t recall anyone getting overly excited about that. But we all know that Dumas is a Democrat hack from the get go.”
Every president replaces all the U.S. attorneys when he takes office. Ronald Reagan did. George W. Bush did in 2001. Clinton never fired one in midterm in his eight years in office. No other recent president has either. The problem is politicizing the criminal justice system by removing U.S. attorneys who resist the political pressure. As a matter of fact, the research shows that fewer U.S. attorneys left office for any reason — judgeships, death, resignations — in Clinton’s eight years than under Reagan, the four years of Bush the elder and George W. Bush.

Terms expire in January after election years and they sometimes continue to serve till the new administration gets all its ducks in a row. Paula Casey, the Democrat, had resigned and left when Bush took office, so there was a very short hiatus with an acting attorney before Bush installed Bud Cummins. All Clinton’s nominees were submitted to the Senate and confirmed every one by the Republican Senate.

It was Clinton’s U.S. attorney who indicted Dan Rostenkowski of Chicago on 17 counts and convicted him. It was Casey, the Democrat, who prosecuted Rep. Lloyd George, D-Danville, on the prison case and Nick Wilson, D-Pocahontas, and all his associates on the attorney ad litem cases. They were all Democrats.

But the only difference that counts is those who were fired recently were all Republicans appointed by Bush who were relieved for what the internal memo described as disloyalty to Bush and “chafing” at the White House agenda. And they were appointed without consultation with the Senate.

By the way, Clinton did fire one U.S. attorney in his eight years. Attorney General Reno called and personally fired the U.S. attorney in Florida after reports that he bit a stripper at a night club, or something like that.