NM GOP chief asked Rove to fire U.S. attorney
Rove was urged to fire U.S. attorney in N.M.
State's Republican chairman says he made request in
Originally published March 11, 2007
WASHINGTON // Presidential adviser Karl Rove and at
least one other member of the White House political
team were urged by the New Mexico Republican Party
chairman to fire the state's U.S. attorney because of
dissatisfaction in part with his failure to indict
Democrats in a voter fraud investigation in the
battleground election state.
In an interview yesterday with McClatchy Newspapers,
Allen Weh, the party chairman, said he complained in
2005 about then-U.S. Attorney David Iglesias to a
White House liaison who worked for Rove and asked that
he be removed. Weh said he followed up with Rove
personally in late 2006 during a visit to the White
"Is anything ever going to happen to that guy?" Weh
said he asked Rove at a White House holiday event that
"He's gone," Rove said, according to Weh.
"I probably said something close to 'Hallelujah,'"
Weh's account calls into question the Justice
Department's stance that the recent decision to fire
Iglesias and seven U.S. attorneys in other states was
a personnel matter - made without White House
intervention. Justice Department officials have said
the White House's involvement was limited to approving
a list of the U.S. attorneys after the Justice
Department made the decision to fire them.
Rove could not be reached yesterday, and the White
House and the Justice Department had no immediate
"The facts speak for themselves," Iglesias said, when
he was told of Weh's account of his conversation with
Weh's disclosure comes as Congress investigates the
firings of the U.S. attorneys, most of whom had
positive job evaluations, including Iglesias.
Democrats have charged that the Bush administration
tried to inject partisan politics into federal
prosecutions in order to influence election outcomes.
Weh said he doesn't know whether Rove was directly
involved in the firing or was merely advised of the
Weh insisted this wasn't about partisan politics.
"There's nothing we've done that's wrong," he said.
"It wasn't that Iglesias wasn't looking out for
Republicans. He just wasn't doing his job, period."
But Iglesias, who was fired Dec. 7, said he believes
politics was the driving force. He accused Republicans
Sen. Pete V. Domenici and Rep. Heather A. Wilson of
trying to pressure him to bring indictments against
several Democrats in time for the 2006 congressional
Domenici and Wilson acknowledge calling Iglesias but
deny pressuring him.
Justice Department officials have revealed Domenici
repeatedly contacted officials within the department
requesting Iglesias' removal. But when asked Friday
whether he contacted Rove about the issue, Domenici
said he could not remember.
Defense lawyers trying to convince juries to acquit
their clients in corruption cases often accuse the
government of mounting political vendettas against
their clients. But it's virtually unheard of to have
the former U.S. attorney in the case to be offering
possible evidence of such interference.
"Anyone with any experience within the Justice
Department is completely shocked and appalled by what
has been described," said Stanley Hunterton, a former
federal prosecutor of 12 years. "One of the things the
Department has stood for was being apolitical. Sure,
politics does gets involved in the appointment
process, but this is just nuts."