WASHINGTON, March 21 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- In a letter sent todayDemocracy 21 Calls on Attorney General Gonzales to Inform Public Whether Political Interference Has Occurred in Criminal Investigation of Abramoff Scandals
to Attorney General Alberto Gonzales and Deputy Attorney General Paul
McNulty, Democracy 21 President Fred Wertheimer urged the Attorney General
and Deputy Attorney General "to inform the public whether there have been
any attempts at political interference or partisan intervention in the
Justice Department's criminal investigation of the Jack Abramoff scandals."
According to the Democracy 21 letter, "In recent weeks serious
questions have been raised about potential political interference and
partisan involvement in Justice Department decision making in connection
with criminal investigations and with the firing of eight U.S. Attorneys by
President Bush and the Justice Department."
The letter adds, "If true, these improper actions would represent a
fundamental breakdown of our criminal justice system and a basic violation
of the principle that political and partisan considerations should not be
involved in decisions about criminal matters."
The letter states, "Serious concerns have been raised, for example,
about whether U.S. Attorneys were fired for political or partisan reasons,
in connection with their actions in cases involving allegations of voter
fraud, public corruption and incorrect election results."
According to the letter:
Former U.S. Attorney David Iglesias of New Mexico, one of the eight
fired U.S. Attorneys, recently has been quoted as saying, "I thought I was
insulated from politics. But know I find out that main Justice was up to
its eyeballs in partisan political maneuvering." (The New York Times, March
According to a report in The Washington Post (March 21, 2007), records
show that Kyle Sampson, a former top aide of Attorney General Alberto
Gonzales, had at one point called Iglesias a "diverse up-and-comer."
According to The Post article:
Iglesias was not added to the firing list until last fall; he has
called his dismissal a "political hit." He told Congress he was improperly
pressured in pre-election telephone calls from Sen. Pete V. Domenici
(R-N.M.) and Rep. Heather A. Wilson (R-N.M.) about a corruption
investigation he was heading at the time.
According to the letter, "Given the questions that have been raised
about potential political and partisan involvement in Justice Department
criminal cases and in the firing of the eight U.S. Attorneys, Democracy 21
calls on you to inform the public whether there have been any attempts at
political interference or partisan intervention in the Justice Department's
criminal investigation of the Jack Abramoff scandals."
The letter states, "Democracy 21 recognizes that the Justice Department
investigation into the Abramoff scandals has resulted, to date, in a number
of criminal plea bargain agreements and convictions, including Jack
Abramoff and his associate Michael Scanlon. The Justice Department deserves
strong credit for these results."
The letter adds, "At the same time, based on published reports, it
appears that substantial work remains to be done and important matters
remain to be resolved by the Justice Department regarding the Abramoff
The letter states, "For example, while the core of the Abramoff
scandals involved efforts by Abramoff and his associates to buy influence
with members of Congress, action has been taken by the Justice Department,
to date, against one Member, former Representative Bob Ney (R-OH)."
The letter adds, "Serious questions reportedly have been raised
regarding the Abramoff scandals about other former and current members of
Congress, and about the roles played in the scandals by the spouses of
former and current Members, which do not appear to have been resolved yet
by the Justice Department."
The letter continues, "This is just one example of why the public is
entitled to know whether any political or partisan attempts have been made
to intervene or interfere with the Justice Department investigation of the
The letter further states, "Democracy 21 also calls on you to inform
the public about the level of resources currently assigned to the
Abramoff-related criminal investigations and to inform the public about how
the current resources assigned to this matter compares with the resources
previously available for the Abramoff-related investigations."
A copy of the letter is available at http://www.democracy21.org.