U.S. attorney timeline/2001-May 31, 2006

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U.S. attorney timeline/2001-May 31, 2006

U.S. attorney timeline/June-December, 2006

U.S. attorney timeline/January-March 11, 2007

U.S. attorney timeline/March 12-April 6, 2007

U.S. attorney timeline/April 10-June 11, 2007

U.S. attorney timeline/June 12, 2007-present

Contents

Summary of events from 2001-May 31, 2006

From late 2001-late 2002, all of the U.S. Attorneys who would ultimately be controversially fired were appointed. Around the 2004 elections, a number of U.S. Attorneys came under Republican criticism for their work, some of whom were contacted by public officials voicing complaints about particular investigations. Following these complaints, the White House and Department of Justice began discussing the possibility of firing some U.S. Attorneys.

In November, 2004, the Chief of Staff for Rep. Doc Hastings (R-Wash.), contacted U.S. Attorney for Washington John McKay to inquire about whether McKay would conduct particular voter fraud investigations advantageous to Republicans. Elected officials and their staffs are prohibited from making such inquiries, however. Following the election, in which Republicans failed to win the Governor’s seat, the Republican Party Chair of Washington, Chris Vance, contacted McKay to voice concerns. Vance also spoke with Karl Rove about the election. The White House and Hastings were also repeatedly contacted by a prominent Washington businessman about firing McKay.

During this time period complaints arose regarding other Attorneys as well. In mid-2005, New Mexico Republican Party Chairman Allan Weh complained to a liaison for Karl Rove about U.S. Attorney David Iglesias. Later that year Senator Pete Domenici (R-NM) contacted Alberto Gonzales to voice concerns about Iglesias’ performance, with Gonzales deputy Kyle Sampson and Principal Associate Deputy Attorney General William Moschella in attendance at the meeting. Domenici again contacted Gonzales’ office in January, 2006, and in April of that year Domenici placed a third call to Gonzales to complain about Iglesias, with Monica Goodling joining Sampson and Moschella on that call.

In mid 2005, another Attorney later fired, Carol Lam of California, began investigating allegations of corruption regarding a Republican Member of Congress—Rep. Duke Cunningham, who would later serve a prison sentence for his actions. Lam’s investigation focused on Defense contracts, bribery, and corruption surrounding Cunningham, Brent Wilkes, Kyle “Dusty” Foggo, and then-Appropriations Committee Chairman Jerry Lewis (R-Calif.). A few months after Lam began her investigation 18 Republicans signed a letter criticizing her work, citing her “lax” handling of immigration cases. As Lam expanded her investigation, Gonzales’ Chief of Staff, Sampson, worked on pressuring and firing her.

In early 2006, another Attorney fired in late 2006, Bud Cummins, began investigating Missouri’s Governor, Republican Matt Blunt, for bribery and corruption. Blunt is also the son of powerful Republican Congressman and House Whip Roy Blunt (R-MO). During this time, a former Rove deputy and eventual Cummins assistant and replacement, Tim Griffin, was in touch with Sampson. Sampson mentioned to White House Counsel Harriet Miers that Griffin might be appointed a U.S. Attorney in the near future.

As these complaints arose and the prospect of firings entered the horizon, the PATRIOT ACT was revised to take power away from Congress and give power to the White House regarding U.S. Attorney appointments. In late December, 2005, Gonzales’ deputy drafted provisions for the revised PATRIOT ACT which would eliminate restrictions on the length of service for interim U.S. attorneys, and allow future interim attorneys to serve indefinitely without Senate confirmation following White House appointment. The language was signed into law in March, 2006.

Throughout this period, the White House and Department of Justice initiated and proceeded with discussions about of the possibility of firing some or all U.S. attorneys. In late December, 2004, Sampson and Gonzales discussed the possibility of replacing all 93 U.S. Attorneys, with Karl Rove inquiring about the prospective firings in January, 2005. Later, Sampson and Miers discussed the possibility of firing all 93 U.S Attorneys, but eventually this idea was discarded. Instead, Sampson worked on ranking the Attorneys based on their “loyalty to the President and Attorney General,” and advised Miers that only particular attorneys should be replaced.

Timeline

2001-2002: All eight U.S. Attorneys are appointed

The White House appoints all eight U.S. Attorneys, who are sworn in on the following dates:

  • 10/18/01: David Iglesias (New Mexico)
  • 10/24/01: John McKay (Western Washington)
  • 11/02/01: Margaret Chiara (Western Michigan)
  • 11/02/01: Daniel Bogden (Nevada)
  • 11/14/01: Paul Charlton (Arizona)
  • 01/09/02: H.E. "Bud" Cummins III (Eastern Arkansas)
  • 08/02/02: Kevin Ryan (Northern California)
  • 11/08/02: Carol Lam (Southern California)[1]

July-August 2002: Duke Cunningham and Mitchell Wade bribery contracts

On March 19, 2007, Think Progress reported on suspicious ties between the first contract that Mitchell Wade received and the purchase of a yacht for Duke Cunningham that may implicate White House officials in the congressman's corruption schemes. Wade's first contract was a one month $140,000 contract, July 15, 2002 to August 15, 2002, with the Office of the Vice President to provide office furniture and computers. Two weeks later on August 30, 2002, Wade purchased a $140,000 yacht for Cunningham with a cashier's check.[2]

April 29, 2004: Sampson makes positive reference to David Iglesias

On April 29, 2004, Justice Department official and Gonzales aid Kyle Sampson refers to David Iglesias as a, "diverse up-and-comer; solid."

Late 2004, pre-election: Tim Griffin leads "vote-caging" scheme, according to the BBC

A 2004 BBC News report revealed that Tim Griffin, a former Karl Rove protégé and former research director for the Republican National Committee led a "vote caging" scheme to allegedly suppress the African-American vote in certain Florida districts in the 2004 election.[3]

October 14, 2004: Hints of separate Republican email accounts

The first hint of Republican use of outside email accounts to conduct political business came in a small item buried in an October 2004 issue of U.S. News & World Report: "I don't want my E-mail made public," said a Bush insider. For this reason, the insider explained that many White House aides had switched to non-work Internet-based email accounts, instead of using the White House system: "It's Yahoo!, baby," said one aide.[4]

November 2004: Chief of Staff for Rep. Doc Hastings (R-Wash.) contacts McKay about investigation affecting governor election recount

"Ed Cassidy, chief of staff for Representative Doc Hastings (R-WA), contacts U.S. Attorney from Washington John McKay following the 2004 gubernatorial election. Cassidy inquires whether McKay will pursue investigations of voter fraud. In later testimony (3/7/07), McKay recalls, "I stopped him and I told him that I was sure that he wasn't asking me on behalf of his boss to reveal information about an ongoing investigation or to lobby me on one, because we both knew that would be improper. He agreed that it would be improper and ended the conversation in a most expeditious fashion.""[5]

Late 2004-early 2005: WA state republicans contact McKay, Karl Rove, about investigations affecting governor election recount

"Chris Vance, Republican Party Chairman of Washington, contacts McKay to voice complaints while the outcome of the 2004 Washington gubernatorial election is still in dispute. Vance claims to have felt impelled to call McKay as a fellow Republican, and recalls the policital atmosphere that spurred his call: "Republican activists were furious because they felt that you had a Republican secretary of state, a Republican county prosecutor in Norm Maleng and a Republican U.S. attorney, but still they saw the governorship slipping away, and they were just angry." Vance also speaks regularly with Karl Rove about the election, though the timing of these conversations is unclear. Sometime following the 2004 gubernatorial election, prominent Washington businessman Tom McCabe, disappointed with McKay's handling of voter fraud allegations, repeatedly contacts the White House to request McKay's firing."[6]

Late December 2004: Gonzales and Sampson discuss the idea of replacing US Attorneys

"Alberto Gonzales, then White House counsel, discusses the idea of replacing all or some of the sitting U.S. attorneys with Justice Department official Kyle Sampson."[7]

January 6, 2005: Rove inquires about prospective firings

"White House Deputy counsel David Leitch emails Kyle Sampson, then at the Justice Department. Leitch relays to Sampson questions from Karl Rove who, according to Leitch's colleague at the White House counsel's office Colin Newman, is curious 'how we planned to proceed regarding U.S. Attorneys, whether we were going to allow all to stay, request resignations from all and accept only some of them, or selectively replace them, etc.'"[8]

January 9, 2005: Sampson further discusses prospective firings

"Sampson responds to Lietch's email. In his rejoinder, Sampson explains the traditional methods of U.S. Attorney replacement, including the behavior of recent administrations. Sampson writes, '[W]e would like to replace 15-20 percent of the current U.S. Attorneys -- the underperforming ones.... The vast majority of the U.S. Attorneys, 80-85 percent, I would guess, are doing a great job, are loyal Bushies, etc.' Sampson concludes the email saying, '[I]f Karl thinks there would be policitical will to do it, then so do I.'"[9]

February 3, 2005: Gonzales confirmed as Attorney General

By a vote of 60-36, Alberto Gonzales is confirmed as U.S. Attorney General. Gonzales is sworn in on February 14th, 2005.[10]

February, 2005: White House considers firing all 93 U.S. Attorneys

In February, 2005, White House Counsel Harriet Miers and Gonzales aid Sampson discussed firing all 93 U.S. Attorneys.[11]

March 2, 2005: Sampson sends Attorney rankings to Miers

Kyle Sampson sent an email to Harriet Miers ranking all U.S. Attorneys, listing "loyalty to the President and Attorney General" among relevant criteria for evaluation. David Iglesias, U.S. Attorney from New Mexico, is listed as someone Sampson "recommended retaining."[12]

June 6, 2005: Lam beings investigating Duke Cunningham

Lam began investigating Randy "Duke" Cunningham on June 6, 2005 after the San Diego Union-Tribune reported on the congressman's overvalued house sale to a connected defense contractor, Mitchell Wade. The investigation led to a series of revelations about Cunningham's misconduct as a government official that included that existence of a bribe "menu" matching the worth of earmarks Cunningham would insert into appropriations bills to bribe money a contractor could give to Cunningham. Cunningham and Wade plead guilty to multiple felonies and Cunningham was sentenced to eight years and eight months in prison, the longest sentence handed down to a sitting Member of Congress. Wade is still cooperating with prosecutors. The revelations in the case led Lam to open investigations into the defense contractor and Republican fundraiser Brent Wilkes, Wilkes' best friend and the number three at the CIA, K. "Dusty" Foggo, and then-Appropriation chairman Jerry Lewis (R-CA).[13]

July 5, 2005: Pressure to fire McKay

"In a letter to Representative Doc Hastings (R-WA), Tom McCabe demands that Hastings 'ask the White House to replace Mr. McKay,' for not adequately pursuing the voter fraud allegations in the 2004 gubernatorial race. Hastings later confirms this but says, 'I flat out refused to do so, which [Hastings' chief of staff] Ed Cassidy told him in the bluntest of terms.'"[14]

Midyear 2005: New Mexico Republican complains about Iglesias to White House

New Mexico Republican Party Chairman Allan Weh complains about U.S. Attorney David Iglesias (NM) to a White House liaison working for Karl Rove.[15]

September 23, 2005: Sampson named Gonzales' Chief of Staff

On September 23, 2005, Kyle Sampson became Alberto Gonzales' Chief of Staff.[16]

September 23, 2005: Senator Domenici contacts Gonzales about Iglesias

"Senator Pete Domenici (R-NM) contacts Alberto Gonzales to voice concerns about the performance of David Iglesias. Kyle Sampson and William Moschella, the Principal Associate Deputy Attorney General, are listed as in attendance."[17]

October 20, 2005: 18 Republicans sign a letter critical of Lam

Eighteen Republicans, led by Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) signed a letter criticizing Lam for her "lax" handling of immigration cases. Among the signatories was Duke Cunningham, who was under investigation for corruption by Lam's office.[18]

November 11, 2005: AG's office discusses eliminating court's role in appointing U.S. Attorneys

"William Moschella, Assistant Attorney General, writes to director of the Executive Office for US Attorneys Michael Battle and others that 'we support eliminating the court's role' in appointing interim U.S. attorneys, 'and believe the AG should have that authority alone.'"[19]

November 18, 2005: Response to complaints against Lam drafted

"David Smith, Legislative Counsel for the Executive Office for US Attorneys, drafts a response to complaints aimed at the office of Carol Lam, the Southern District of California (SDCA). Smith writes, 'At the close of Fiscal Year 2005, SDCA had 385 alien smuggling cases pending against 454 defendants, which is the highest annual number of cases that office has ever had.' He continues, 'despite the fact that both the SDCA and the Department of Justice as a whole have numerous criminal priorities in addition to criminal aliens, from Fiscal Year 200 through Fiscal Year 2005, well over half of all criminal cases filed by SDCA were cases filed under just three statutes, the primary criminal alien statutes.' The final letter would be sent by William Moschella, Assistant Attorney General. It is unclear whether the letter is ever sent."[20]

December 14, 2005: PATRIOT ACT provisions removing necessity for Senate confirmation of interim U.S. Attorneys inserted

"The USA Patriot Improvement and Reauthorization Act of 2005 comes out of conference. At some point during the conference, Brett Tolman, counsel to the Senate Judiciary Committee, added Section 502. The addition eliminates restrictions on the length of service for interim U.S. attorneys and allows future interim attorneys to serve indefinitely without Senate confirmation.

William Moschella, principal associate deputy attorney general, later tells McClatchy Newspapers that he pursued the change for the Justice Department 'without the knowledge or coordination of his superiors at the Justice Department or anyone at the White House.'"[21]

January 9, 2006: Sampson advises Miers not to replace all U.S. Attorneys at once

"Kyle Sampson emails Harriet Miers, advising against replacing all U.S. Attorneys at once. Instead, Sampson suggests, 'a limited number of U.S. Attorneys could be targeted for removal and replacement, mitigating the shock to the system that would result from an across-the-board firing.' Sampson includes in the email a list of seven candidates to be considered for removal and replacement. The list includes U.S. Attorneys Margaret Chiara (MI), Bud Cummins (AR), Kevin Ryan (CA), and Carol Lam (CA). All of these Attorneys will eventually be fired."[22]

Mid-January 2006: Cummins begins investigating Matt Blunt

In January of 2006, Cummins opened an investigation into "allegations that Missouri Gov. Matt Blunt had rewarded GOP supporters with lucrative contracts to run the state's driver's license offices." Cummins handled the case because the U.S. Attorney for Missouri recused themselves over conflict of interest concerns. Cummins states that he was told he would be fired in June as he was wrapping up the case. Cummins eventually brought no indictments against Gov. Blunt, the son of powerful Republican congressman Roy Blunt (R-MO). Cummins has since questioned whether he was fired for opening an investigation into a powerful Republican in a battleground state.[23]

January 31, 2006: Sen. Domenici again contacts AGs office about Iglesias

"Senator Pete Domenici (R-NM) again contacts the office of the Attorney General to voice concerns about the performance of U.S. Attorney David Iglesias (NM). Kyle Sampson and William Moshella are listed as participating in the call."[24]

March 2, 2006: PATRIOT ACT reauthorized

The USA Patriot Improvement and Reauthorization Act of 2005 is passed by the Senate.[25]

March 9, 2006: PATRIOT ACT signed

The USA Patriot Improvement and Reauthorization Act of 2005 is signed by President Bush.[26]

March 3, 2006: Sampson and Goodling given authority to fire political appointees by Gonzales

"Gonzales signs a secret order granting Kyle Sampson and Monica Goodling broad discretionary powers to hire and fire political appointees (although this does not give them powers over the US Attorneys)."[27]

March, 2006: WH given power to replace U.S. Attorneys

PATRIOT Act reauthorization passes with provision allowing appointment of US attorneys without Senate confirmation.[28]

April 4, 2006: Sen. Domenici calls AG for a third time to complain about Iglesias

"Senator Pete Domenici (R-NM) calls the office of the Attorney General for a third time to voice concerns about the performance of U.S. Attorney David Iglesias, and to question whether Iglesias is up to the job. Kyle Sampson, William Moschella and Monica Goodling participate in the call."[29]

April 27, 2006: Griffin emails Sampson

"Timothy Griffin, former Opposition Research Director for Karl Rove, emails Kyle Sampson. Griffin includes in his email a letter of recommendation from US Attorney Bud Cummins, writing, 'Kyle, this might also be helpful. It is a letter written by the current Attorney, E.D. Arkansas, Bud Cummins, to me after my tenure there as a Special Assistant U.S. Attorney. Just thought you should have it. Thank you, Tim.'"[30]

May 5, 2006: Porter Goss resigns following controversy over CIA Executive Director, Foggo

"Porter Goss, director of the CIA, resigns unexpectedly, amidst controversy surrounding his chosen CIA Executive Director, Kyle 'Dusty' Foggo. The Wall Street Journal reports that Foggo is under investigation as part of the ongoing San Diego/Cunningham scandal. The office overseeing the investigation is that of U.S. Attorney Carol Lam.[31]

May 8, 2006: Foggo resigns

Kyle "Dusty" Foggo resigns from the CIA.[32]

May 10, 2006: Lam tells DOJ she intends to serve search warrants on Foggo

On May 10, 2006, Lam told the Justice Department she intended to serve search warrants on Foggo, who had just resigned his post at the CIA.[33]

May 11, 2006: Lam expands investigation; Sampson works on firing Lam

On May 11, the Los Angeles Times reported that Lam's investigation into Cunningham had spread to Rep. Lewis. That same day, Kyle Sampson, Gonzales' chief of staff, wrote in an e-mail to the White House about "the real problem we have right now with Carol Lam that leads me to conclude that we should have someone ready to be nominated on 11/18, the day her 4-year term expires."[34]

May 12, 2006: Federal agents search Foggo's home

Federal agents working on the San Diego/Cunningham investigation execute search warrants on the home and office of Kyle "Dusty" Foggo.[35]

May 12, 2006: Sampson mentions discussing Tim Griffin to Miers

Sampson also mentions to Miers a need to discuss "Tim Griffin for E.D. Ark."[36]

May 18, 2006: AP and Rep. Issa reveal that Lam did not prosecute immigrant smugglers

"The Associated Press claims that the office of Carol Lam has prosecuted only 6% of 289 suspected immigrant smugglers for that crime in the previous year. The evidence comes from Representative Darrell Issa (R-CA), who says it is an internal Border Patrol report from August, although AP acknowledges that it is 'unclear' who wrote it.[37]

May 19, 2006: Issa report discredited

"The Chief of the US Border Patol, San Diego Sector, contacts Carol Lam. He informs her that the report held by Rep. Issa is an old internal Border Patrol document,relating only to a single substation. The document has been susbtantial altererd and passed off as an official report. Further, many of the comments to which Rep. Issa referred are 'editorial comments inserted by an unidentified individual, and they were not approved by or ever seen by Border Patrol Management.' Lam passes these comment along to the Justice Department, saying 'In light of previous media interest in this issue there is a possibility that the disclosure that the report is not genuine could generate substantial media interest.' Rep. Issa appears on Lou Dobbs Tonight and decries Lam's immigration record."[38]

May 31, 2006: Sampson inquires about pressuring Lam

In an email Sampson asks, "Has ODAG ever called Carol Lam and woodshedded her re immigration enforcement? Has Anyone?"[39]

Articles and resources

See also

References

  1. Will Thomas, "U.S. Attorney Purge Timeline," Talking Points Memo, May 14, 2007.
  2. Shakir, Faiz. "Was Carol Lam Targeting The White House Prior To Her Firing?," Think Progress, March 19, 2007.
  3. Amanda Terkel, "Did White House Pull Nomination To Avoid Questions Over 2004 Minority Voter Suppression?" Think Progress, March 2, 2007.
  4. Paul Bedard, "It's Yahoo!, baby," U.S. News and World Report, October 10, 2004.
  5. Will Thomas, "U.S. Attorney Purge Timeline," Talking Points Memo, May 14, 2007.
  6. Will Thomas, "U.S. Attorney Purge Timeline," Talking Points Memo, May 14, 2007.
  7. Will Thomas, "U.S. Attorney Purge Timeline," Talking Points Memo, May 14, 2007.
  8. Will Thomas, "U.S. Attorney Purge Timeline," Talking Points Memo, May 14, 2007.
  9. Will Thomas, "U.S. Attorney Purge Timeline," Talking Points Memo, May 14, 2007.
  10. Will Thomas, "U.S. Attorney Purge Timeline," Talking Points Memo, May 14, 2007.
  11. Dan Eggen and John Solomon, "Firings had Genesis in White House," Washington Post, March 12, 2007.
  12. Will Thomas, "U.S. Attorney Purge Timeline," Talking Points Memo, May 14, 2007.
  13. Talev, Margaret and Marisa Taylor, "Were CIA subpoenas linked to San Diego attorney's firing?," McClatchy Newspapers, March 18, 2007.
  14. Will Thomas, "U.S. Attorney Purge Timeline," Talking Points Memo, May 14, 2007.
  15. Will Thomas, "U.S. Attorney Purge Timeline," Talking Points Memo, May 14, 2007.
  16. Will Thomas, "U.S. Attorney Purge Timeline," Talking Points Memo, May 14, 2007.
  17. Will Thomas, "U.S. Attorney Purge Timeline," Talking Points Memo, May 14, 2007.
  18. Will Thomas, "U.S. Attorney Purge Timeline," Talking Points Memo, May 14, 2007.
  19. Will Thomas, "U.S. Attorney Purge Timeline," Talking Points Memo, May 14, 2007.
  20. Will Thomas, "U.S. Attorney Purge Timeline," Talking Points Memo, May 14, 2007.
  21. Will Thomas, "U.S. Attorney Purge Timeline," Talking Points Memo, May 14, 2007.
  22. Will Thomas, "U.S. Attorney Purge Timeline," Talking Points Memo, May 14, 2007.
  23. Serrano, Richard A. "Cummins fears corruption investigation led to his firing," Los Angeles Times, March 16, 2007.
  24. Will Thomas, "U.S. Attorney Purge Timeline," Talking Points Memo, May 14, 2007.
  25. Will Thomas, "U.S. Attorney Purge Timeline," Talking Points Memo, May 14, 2007.
  26. Will Thomas, "U.S. Attorney Purge Timeline," Talking Points Memo, May 14, 2007.
  27. Will Thomas, "U.S. Attorney Purge Timeline," Talking Points Memo, May 14, 2007.
  28. Paul Kiel, "Did Specter Give WH Power to Replace Prosecutors?" TPM Muckraker, January 17, 2007.
  29. Will Thomas, "U.S. Attorney Purge Timeline," Talking Points Memo, May 14, 2007.
  30. Will Thomas, "U.S. Attorney Purge Timeline," Talking Points Memo, May 14, 2007.
  31. Will Thomas, "U.S. Attorney Purge Timeline," Talking Points Memo, May 14, 2007.
  32. Will Thomas, "U.S. Attorney Purge Timeline," Talking Points Memo, May 14, 2007.
  33. Kiel, Paul. "LAT: Cunningham Probe Spreads to Rep. Lewis," TPM Muckraker, May 11, 2006.
  34. Talev, Margaret and Marisa Taylor, "Were CIA subpoenas linked to San Diego attorney's firing?," McClatchy Newspapers, March 18, 2007.
  35. Will Thomas, "U.S. Attorney Purge Timeline," Talking Points Memo, May 14, 2007.
  36. Will Thomas, "U.S. Attorney Purge Timeline," Talking Points Memo, May 14, 2007.
  37. Will Thomas, "U.S. Attorney Purge Timeline," Talking Points Memo, May 14, 2007.
  38. Will Thomas, "U.S. Attorney Purge Timeline," Talking Points Memo, May 14, 2007.
  39. Will Thomas, "U.S. Attorney Purge Timeline," Talking Points Memo, May 14, 2007.

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