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The Gonzales Seven [continued]

Arkansas: H.E. (Bud) Cummins

Nominated by George W. Bush 12/2001 and approved by the US Senate 12/26/2001

In June 2006 Bud Cummins received a call from the Justice Department asking him to resign. Paul Krugman of the New York Times reports that Dec. 15th,

"[...] Bud Cummins, the U.S. attorney (federal prosecutor) for the Eastern District of Arkansas, received a call on his cellphone while hiking in the woods with his son. He was informed that he had just been replaced by J. Timothy Griffin, a Republican political operative who has spent the last few years working as an opposition researcher for Karl Rove."

Cases under investigation by Cummins' Office

According to FBI probe targets governor, Bud Cummins had been investigating Missouri Governor Matt Blunt's Administration to see if he "abused his power by forming a system of umbrella companies established through Kansas City law firm Lathrop & Gage LC to run the state's licensing network." The paper continues: "Though the investigation is common knowledge, spokesmen in the FBI's Kansas City and St. Louis offices would neither confirm nor deny its existence. As a matter of policy, they can't comment unless charges are filed." Amidst the ensuing nightmare of bad publicity for Blunt, Cummins denied that he was investigating the governor, and in fact closed the investigation in October of 2006.

But all that stopped in December when US Attorney General Alberto Gonzales announced the appointment of Thomas Griffin as his replacement.   In keeping with this Administration's disregard of qualifications (see Harriet Miers, for example), 38-year old Griffin's main qualification to become US Attorney seems to be his 2002-2005 stint as research director for the Republican National Committee. He's also been a Judge Advocate in Iraq and a former advisor to Karl Rove.

Cases prosecuted by Cummins

Bud Cummins U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Arkansas, announced in September 2006 that a jury returned guilty verdicts against Bertram Case “Casey” Miller, on one count of conspiracy, and three counts of wire fraud.

Arizona: Paul K. Charlton

Nominated by George W. Bush 7/31/2001 and approved by the US Senate 11/06/2001.

Possible replacement from the AP via Arizona Daily Star: "Senators John McCain and Jon Kyl on Thursday recommended Diane J. Humetewa, a member of the Hopi Indian tribe who currently is senior litigation counsel and tribal liaison for the U.S. Attorney's office in Arizona, to serve as the next U.S. Attorney for Arizona."

Cases under investigation by Charlton's Office

Charlton's US Attorney's Office and the FBI's Phoenix office are investigating two land deals and influence peddling related to Arizona House of Representative's Renzi (who has the dubious distinction of for two years running, being on the Most Corrupt Members of Congress list compiled by the Center for Responsibility and Ethics, according to the Daily Courier and The Washington Post.)   Historically, land deals (especially those involving water rights) in Arizona equate to organized crime, corruption, and murder (See Don Bolles for an example).  No wonder Charlton went quietly and did not have to be officially dismissed.

Aside from Charlton's investigation, Renzi has been the subject of two Federal Election Commission (FEC) cases, one of which involves not disclosing campaign contribution receipts.

Cases prosecuted by Charlton

From Charlton's testimony before the Senate Committe on the Judiciary:

[...]we have taken a strong stand against human smugglers and hostage takers. Provable cases are accepted for prosecution, and cases involving violence receive top priority. In the past two years, my Office has taken dozens of violent smugglers off the street and seen them receive lengthy prison sentences. In Fiscal Years 2004 and 2005 we brought a total of 32 smuggling-related hostage taking cases, most of which involved multiple defendants. Comparatively, we brought two such cases in Fiscal Year 2001 one in Fiscal Year 2002 and six in Fiscal Year 2003.

"As U.S. Attorney, Mr. Charlton served as the Chairman for the Border Subcommittee, comprised of U.S. Attorney's from around the nation who also advise the Attorney General of the United States on border issues."

Washington State: John McKay

Nominated by George W. Bush 9/19/2001 and approved by US Senate 10/24/2001

Why did McKay resign and who will be replacing him?

From the Seattle PI we have this:

McKay had hoped to be nominated as a U.S. district judge, but he is not among three finalists currently being vetted by the White House.

"I'm very disappointed," he said. "I would have liked to have transitioned to the bench, but I'll just transition to the private sector."

Replacement?

"Welcome to the United States Attorney's Office web site for the Western District of Washington. We hope you find the information at this site useful and informative. Our goal is to make our Office more accessible, and to help you communicate with us." -- Jeffrey C. Sullivan, Interim U.S. Attorney

Cases under investigation by McKay's Office

McKay joined forces with the Naval Criminal Investigative Service and FBI to create a regional network called LINX that has become a national model.

Apparently McKay's transgression what he was not investigating: The King County Voting Scandal. The Democratic candidate Christine Gregoire won that Gubernatorial race in 2004, but by only 129 votes. As an April 2005 Wall Street Journal article reported:

Slade Gorton, a Republican former state attorney general and U.S. senator, has joined with six Republican members of the King County Council in calling for a Justice Department investigation of the county's handling of ballots. Records indicate that some election officials in King County knew that the absentee ballot report they filed in November was inaccurate because there was evidence at least 86 ballots had been misplaced. Ignoring the requirement that they count the number of ballots received, instead they simply added together the number counted and rejected.

Other articles looked into the notion of 8 Dead voters.

Cases prosecuted by McKay

The sentencing and appeals of Ahmed Ressam, who was convicted in 2001 on terrorism and explosives charges for plotting to bomb Los Angeles International Airport on the eve of the millennium; $35 million settlement between the Department of Justice and the University of Washington over illegal billing by doctors; urged the FBI to continue investigating the murder of Assistant U.S. Attorney Tom Wales, who was shot in his Queen Anne home on Oct. 11, 2001.

Friends in High Places:

To the cynical, it seems that the Bush administration, in the face of a Democratic controlled house, senate and states - with newly regained subpoena and investigative powers - is rolling out the tactic it "beta'd" with Frederick Black, the U.S. Attorney in Guam, who was demoted in the midst of his investigation into Abramoff.  On November 18th 2002, Black's office issued a federal grand jury subpoena "which required the Guam Superior Court Administrative Director to release records." (from John Conyers August 23rd 2005 letter to  Glenn A. Fine, Inspector General.) The day after the subpoena was issued, November 19th, President Bush demoted Attorney Black.

For those old enough to remember President Nixon's Saturday Night Massacre - firing Special Prosecutor Archibald Cox as he got too close to the truth in Watergate - the firing of federal prosecutors signals that someone in high places has something to hide.

ePluribus Media Researchers, Contributors and Fact Checkers: avahome, biblio, standingup, greyhawk, zan, roxy317, kfred, silence, Aaron Barlow, cho, jeninRI and others went fishing...

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Footnotes

Nomination and approval dates for these US Attorneys were taken from the Daily Digest

Editor's Note: Although some news articles have also identified Heffelfinger of Minnesota as one of the U.S. Attorneys resigning under questionable circumstances, his resignation came before the March 2006 Patriot Act Reauthorization which provided the shortcut to "recess appointment without congressional confirmation" of U.S. Attorneys.  However, Heffelfinger's "demotion" fits the pattern established for the Gonzales Seven as detailed here.