Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Thomas Heffelfinger was on the to be fired list before he resigned

Update: I was right. Posted below on 25/4/07 as a claim based on indirect evidence.
Reported here on 26/4/07. via Josh Marshall (of course). Now I have to read the McClatchy story by Marisa Taylor & Margarent Talev.

There are two possibly overlapping sets of three US attorneys once on the to be fired list whose names have been redacted. One, about which I have blogged, is the list of 4 including David Iglesias and three mystery prosecutors who were added in October 2006. The other is a list of three mystery prosecutors who were on the list in January 2006 but not April 2006.

One likely member of the January three is US Attorney for Western Missouri Thomas Graves. TPMuckraker seems sure that Thomas Graves is one of the January three. Fired up Missouri is even more sure

In March, Graves abruptly resigned his position as U.S. Attorney, saying he wanted to get more involved in the 2008 presidential election, a project we have heard nothing about since.

In April, when Sampson presented an updated list of targeted U.S. Attorneys, he makes reference to the fact that two of the names included in his original list of targets for ouster have already left government service.


The other US attorney who left office between January and April 2006 is Thomas Heffelfinger who

resigned his post as U.S. attorney in Minneapolis last February. He had served two stints -- the first from September 1991 to April 1993, and then again from September 2001 to February 2006.


Heffelfinger was replaced by the young, attractive and notorious Rachel Paulose. He absolutely denies that he was pushed out. However, if Fired Up Missouri is right about Sampson's comments on his April list, Heffelfinger must have been on the January list.

This leaves one US attorney on the January list who seems to have saved himself (or herself) and two or three more added in October and removed.

A clear hint of at riskness was running a district where Karl Rove suspected massive vote fraud. No US Attorney managed to obtain much evidence or many convictions for voter fraud (probably because it is rare). McKay and Iglesias were fired partly for this reason. Stephen Biskupic of Eastern Wisconsin appears to have saved himself prosecuting a clearly innocent civil servant in order to trash the Democratic governor.

Another site of alleged fraud was Philadelphia, where US attorney Patrick Meehan looked very closely at allegedly corrupt associates of the Democratic candidate for senate (now senator) Robert Casey Jr (sound familiar).

A possible canditate for either list is Los Angeles-area U.S. Attorney Debra Wong Yang who announced her resignation in October 2006.

* Full story: Daily Breeze Read the original story, published Oct 18, 2006

She was handling spillover from the Duke stir investigation and, in particular, the investigation of Rep Doolittle.

Earlier I guessed that the third US attorney on the October list was Christopher Christie of New Jersey. Still no real evidence except Paul Krugman told me so.

Two other sites of Rove alleged fraud are Florida (clearly still whining about how hard it was to steal the election in 200), Oregon and St Louis (in Eastern not Western Missouri don't ask me to explain)

The job of US attorney for Oregon Karin J. Immergut does not seem to have been in danger. She was a member of an informal advisory committee of US attorneys.

19 comments:

Anonymous said...

Now, no doubt I have been hard on Hillary Clinton since she finally decided that America will continue to occupy Iraq through her supposed presidency; to fight terrorism, to limit Iran and to protect the Kurds. Now, however, Clinton is further expressing doubts about the probity of the Democratic linking of spending on Iraq to a withdrawal of American soldiers and, since the Warrior Princess is capable of doing several things at the same time, threatening, you guessed it, Iran.

This is the Warrior Princess.

anne

Anonymous said...

http://www.nytimes.com/2007/04/26/opinion/26thu1.html

April 26, 2007

Another Dubious Firing

Congressman Rick Renzi, an Arizona Republican, was locked in a close re-election battle last fall when the local United States attorney, Paul Charlton, was investigating him for corruption. The investigation appears to have been slowed before Election Day, Mr. Renzi retained his seat, and Mr. Charlton ended up out of a job — one of eight prosecutors purged by the White House and the Justice Department.

The Arizona case adds a disturbing new chapter to that scandal. Congress needs to determine whether Mr. Charlton was fired for any reason other than threatening the Republican Party's hold on a Congressional seat.

Mr. Renzi was fighting for his political life when the local press reported that he was facing indictment for a suspect land deal. According to The Wall Street Journal, federal investigators met unexpected resistance from the Justice Department in getting approval to proceed and, perhaps as a result, the investigation was pushed past the election.

Mr. Renzi's top aide, Brian Murray, admitted this week that when reports surfaced that his boss was being investigated, he had called Mr. Charlton's office asking for information. Mr. Charlton's office did the right thing, according to Mr. Murray's account: it refused to comment. Weeks later, Mr. Charlton was fired.

There is reason to be suspicious about these events. Last week, all Attorney General Alberto Gonzales could offer was weak excuses for the firing — that Mr. Charlton had asked Mr. Gonzales to reconsider a decision to seek the death penalty in a murder case and that he'd started recording interviews with targets of investigations without asking permission from Justice Department bureaucrats.

Beyond that, this story line is far too similar to one involving a fired prosecutor in New Mexico. Senator Pete Domenici, a Republican, asked the prosecutor there, David Iglesias, about the status of an investigation of prominent Democrats. If Mr. Iglesias had brought indictments before the election, it could have helped Heather Wilson, a Republican congresswoman locked in a tight re-election battle. He didn't. Mr. Domenici reportedly complained to the White House. Mr. Iglesias was fired.

Since this scandal broke, the White House has insisted that the firings were legitimate because United States attorneys serve "at the pleasure of the president." They do. But if prosecutors were fired to block investigations, that might well be obstruction of justice, which is itself a federal crime....

anne

Anonymous said...

http://www.nytimes.com/2007/04/26/opinion/l26south.html

Infant Deaths: Shame of a Nation

To the Editor:

"In Turnabout, Infant Deaths Climb in South":

When my colleagues and I started a community health center in the Mississippi Delta in the 1960s, we estimated the actual black infant mortality rate in our area at nearly 60 per thousand live births.

The causes were abysmal poverty, wide unemployment, crumbling shacks, outright malnutrition, contaminated water and lack of transportation.

We addressed those problems, in addition to providing desperately needed medical care. The infant mortality rate dropped sharply.

Those causes persist, now worsened by deep cuts in Medicaid and welfare.

The consequence of shredding the social safety net is more dead black (and white) babies. No health service can overcome the effects of social policies that devastate the lives of the poor.

This is not just a health problem; it is a measure of our moral commitment to a fair chance for survival. We should be enraged, and ashamed, that these preventable excess deaths continue, and increase, among us.

H. Jack Geiger, M.D.
Brooklyn, April 25, 2007
The writer was a founding member and national coordinator of the Medical Committee for Human Rights.

anne

Anonymous said...

Brad DeLong's comment on the shame and effect of public policy in Mississippi and the South, is among the finest comments of the many he has made and should not be forgotten. I wish Brad might write further on the subject as Robert Waldmann might.

http://delong.typepad.com/sdj/2007/04/falling_indicat.html

April 23, 2007

Falling Indicators of Human Development in Mississippi
By Brad DeLong

anne

Anonymous said...

http://www.nytimes.com/2007/04/26/opinion/l26south.html?hp

Infant Deaths: Shame of a Nation

To the Editor:

It is troubling that progress in reducing the black infant mortality rate has stagnated and that the rate is rising in Mississippi.

For half a century, the black infant mortality rate has been approximately double the white rate. This disparity is complex and cannot be explained solely by medical or socioeconomic factors.

We know that the mortality rate of infants of foreign-born black women in this country is significantly lower than for infants of native-born black mothers and that Hispanics, in spite of high poverty and very low education rates, have infant mortality similar to whites.

It is likely that this new trend among blacks in areas of the South is related, in some fashion, to chronic emotional stress secondary to persistent poverty, a feeling of hopelessness, racial discrimination and health conditions.

A comprehensive approach beyond just the medical model is called for.

Patrick Dowling, M.D.
Los Angeles, April 24, 2007
The writer is a professor and chairman of the department of family medicine, David Geffen School of Medicine at U.C.L.A.

anne

Anonymous said...

I suspect that many readers did not fully understand how profoundly Brad DeLong linked the rise in infant mortality in 2004 to a public policy change, and how important this is for all of us, and I wish Brad might repeat and extend the comments with Robert Waldmann even.

anne

Anonymous said...

http://www.nytimes.com/2007/04/26/opinion/l26south.html?hp

Infant Deaths: Shame of a Nation

To the Editor:

Your article shows what many in the public health community have long known to be true: reductions in public health services and insurance programs, especially on a state or community level, have very real health consequences. Infant mortality is the most sensitive measure of that health impact.

Perhaps more important, however, is your portrayal of the strong connection between health and poverty. While aggregate health measures in the United States have greatly improved over the last century, there remain vast regional, racial and economic health inequities, as your article demonstrates.

To target these inequities, public policy must adopt a broader perspective that recognizes the importance of the socioeconomic determinants of health.

Alexander Hertel-Fernandez
Evanston, Ill., April 22, 2007

anne

Anonymous said...

http://www.nytimes.com/2007/04/26/opinion/l26south.html?hp

Infant Deaths: Shame of a Nation

To the Editor:

As a medical student at an inner-city hospital, I see poverty all the time, but not the poor black towns in your article. We have pockets worthy of the third world in our midst, and no one has noticed it until now! It's about time that health care is brought back to the forefront of the political ground; no mother should bury a baby just because somewhere along the way, somebody forgot that people like her need help.

Farheen Qurashi
Mission, Kan., April 22, 2007

anne

Anonymous said...

So, then, and do not for a moment think I was wandering, we have a choice of butter or guns always and we have continually these last years chosen guns. Imagine the disgrace of $14 billion a month direclty spent for Iraq and slashing Medicaid in the South as the South so strongly supports the war and occupation.

Hillary Clinton might consider the trade of guns for butter before she sells guns to us.

anne

Anonymous said...

We looked at another America, which we should have seen before in any event, in New Orleans, and we looked at the results of public policy that was turned from the needs of the other America. Similarly we find the dramatic effects on health care and infant mortality from what must be aberrant public policy but policy that shows no signs of being recognized properly as aberrant let alone changed.

anne

Anonymous said...

http://www.nytimes.com/2007/04/26/opinion/l26iraq.html

As War Grinds on, So Does the Sparring

To the Editor:

"Bush and Cheney Chide Democrats on Iraq Deadline":

The Congressional Democrats are doing exactly what I voted for them to do: trying to rein in the excesses of this disastrous war in Iraq, and beginning the arduous process of cutting our losses.

I firmly believe that President Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney are trying to run out the clock so that they do not have to admit to failure while in office. Of course, once they are out of office, they will blame subsequent events on their successors.

Their accusations of political motivation by Democrats are transparent and inexcusable. How much more of other people's blood are they willing to spill to save face, and to continue to deny the will of the American people?

Jonathan Gordon
New York, April 25, 2007

anne

Anonymous said...

http://www.nytimes.com/2007/04/26/opinion/l26iraq.html

As War Grinds on, So Does the Sparring

To the Editor:

Given the low regard in which President Bush has historically held bills passed by Congress with his signing statements, I am mystified by his sudden desire to start respecting the legislative process.

If he disagrees with only the timetable part of the bill, why does he suddenly hesitate to single out this provision with a signing statement, as he has with every other legislative provision that has not been to his liking?

The president's sudden appreciation for process strikes me as both cynical and ineffective in the face of public opinion.

Elizabeth Statmore
San Francisco, April 25, 2007

anne

Anonymous said...

http://www.nytimes.com/2007/04/26/us/26texas.html

April 26, 2007

Texas Legislators Block Shots for Girls Against Cancer Virus
By RALPH BLUMENTHAL

HOUSTON — A revolt by lawmakers has blocked Gov. Rick Perry’s effort to make Texas the first state to require sixth-grade girls to be vaccinated against a sexually transmitted virus that causes cervical cancer.

In a 135-to-2 vote that appeared veto-proof, the Texas House gave final passage on Wednesday to a Senate bill that bars the state from ordering the shots until at least 2011. Even many supporters of the governor resented Mr. Perry’s proposal as an abuse of executive authority....

[Texas united against girls and women. I am so proud to be a cowgirl.]

anne

Anonymous said...

We do need a series of papers on public policy and health care outcomes. Why though are we so crazy, and where is Molly Ivins to explain why to me? I have to find a cowgirl song, now. Yes; a ferocious Texas cowgirl song.

anne

Anonymous said...

I wonder if Texas has ever united so fast about anything ever before. What had amazed me, is thinking the Governor could actually get away with caring for, say, women. Get me my spurs, Jenks.

anne

Anonymous said...

The problem is, the only cowgirl song I sort of know is "Streets of Laredo" and I don't really know that. Something about walking the streets of Laredo and I am not even sure that's Texas.

Anonymous said...

http://www.latimes.com/news/opinion/la-oe-mcgovern24apr24,0,7614036,print.story

April 24, 2007

Cheney is Wrong About Me, Wrong About War
By George S. McGovern

VICE PRESIDENT Dick Cheney recently attacked my 1972 presidential platform and contended that today's Democratic Party has reverted to the views I advocated in 1972. In a sense, this is a compliment, both to me and the Democratic Party. Cheney intended no such compliment. Instead, he twisted my views and those of my party beyond recognition. The city where the vice president spoke, Chicago, is sometimes dubbed "the Windy City." Cheney converted the chilly wind of Chicago into hot air.

Cheney said that today's Democrats have adopted my platform from the 1972 presidential race and that, in doing so, they will raise taxes. But my platform offered a balanced budget. I proposed nothing new without a carefully defined way of paying for it. By contrast, Cheney and his team have run the national debt to an all-time high.

He also said that the McGovern way is to surrender in Iraq and leave the U.S. exposed to new dangers. The truth is that I oppose the Iraq war, just as I opposed the Vietnam War, because these two conflicts have weakened the U.S. and diminished our standing in the world and our national security.

In the war of my youth, World War II, I volunteered for military service at the age of 19 and flew 35 combat missions, winning the Distinguished Flying Cross as the pilot of a B-24 bomber. By contrast, in the war of his youth, the Vietnam War, Cheney got five deferments and has never seen a day of combat — a record matched by President Bush....

anne

Anonymous said...

Where is a Democratic candidate with the fire of George McGovern? And, is there any wonder why I will never vote for Hillary Clinton? Time for the other Democratic candidates to get tough.

Anonymous said...

http://www.nytimes.com/2007/04/26/opinion/26thu1.html?ex=1335240000&en=98199ade99a2a735&ei=5090&partner=rssuserland&emc=rss

April 26, 2007

Another Dubious Firing

Congressman Rick Renzi, an Arizona Republican, was locked in a close re-election battle last fall when the local United States attorney, Paul Charlton, was investigating him for corruption. The investigation appears to have been slowed before Election Day, Mr. Renzi retained his seat, and Mr. Charlton ended up out of a job — one of eight prosecutors purged by the White House and the Justice Department.

The Arizona case adds a disturbing new chapter to that scandal. Congress needs to determine whether Mr. Charlton was fired for any reason other than threatening the Republican Party's hold on a Congressional seat.

Mr. Renzi was fighting for his political life when the local press reported that he was facing indictment for a suspect land deal. According to The Wall Street Journal, federal investigators met unexpected resistance from the Justice Department in getting approval to proceed and, perhaps as a result, the investigation was pushed past the election.

Mr. Renzi's top aide, Brian Murray, admitted this week that when reports surfaced that his boss was being investigated, he had called Mr. Charlton's office asking for information. Mr. Charlton's office did the right thing, according to Mr. Murray's account: it refused to comment. Weeks later, Mr. Charlton was fired.

There is reason to be suspicious about these events. Last week, all Attorney General Alberto Gonzales could offer was weak excuses for the firing — that Mr. Charlton had asked Mr. Gonzales to reconsider a decision to seek the death penalty in a murder case and that he'd started recording interviews with targets of investigations without asking permission from Justice Department bureaucrats.

Beyond that, this story line is far too similar to one involving a fired prosecutor in New Mexico. Senator Pete Domenici, a Republican, asked the prosecutor there, David Iglesias, about the status of an investigation of prominent Democrats. If Mr. Iglesias had brought indictments before the election, it could have helped Heather Wilson, a Republican congresswoman locked in a tight re-election battle. He didn't. Mr. Domenici reportedly complained to the White House. Mr. Iglesias was fired.

Since this scandal broke, the White House has insisted that the firings were legitimate because United States attorneys serve "at the pleasure of the president." They do. But if prosecutors were fired to block investigations, that might well be obstruction of justice, which is itself a federal crime....

anne