No charges for U.S. attorney firings under Bush

Justice Department concludes two-year investigation into nine dismissals from 2006

Published July 21, 2010 7:44PM (EDT)

The Justice Department has concluded its two-year investigation into the Bush administration's firing of U.S. attorneys and will file no charges, people close to the case said Wednesday.

The investigation looked into whether the Bush administration dismissed the nine U.S. attorneys as a way to influence investigations. The scandal contributed to mounting criticism that the administration had politicized the Justice Department, a charge that contributed to the resignation of Attorney General Alberto Gonzales.

The people who spoke do The Associated Press about the case did so on condition of anonymity because an official announcement has not been made.

In 2008, the Justice Department assigned Nora Dannehy, a career prosecutor from Connecticut with a history of rooting out government wrongdoing, to investigate the firings. One of the people who spoke to the AP, a lawyer, said Dannehy called him Wednesday afternoon and told him no charges would be filed.

Much of the investigation focused on the firing of New Mexico U.S. attorney David Iglesias and whether the Bush administration misled Congress about his and other firings.

Iglesias was fired after the head of the state's Republican Party e-mailed the White House to complain that the U.S. attorney in New Mexico was soft on voter fraud. The GOP official asked that Iglesias be replaced so that the state could "make some real progress in cleaning up a state notorious for crooked elections."

Harriet Miers, then White House counsel, said in testimony to House Judiciary Committee investigators that presidential political adviser Karl Rove was "very agitated" over Iglesias "and wanted something done about it."

Rove has said he played no role in deciding which U.S. attorneys were retained and which were replaced, that politics played no role in the Bush administration's removal of U.S. attorneys and that he never sought to influence the conduct of any prosecution.

By Pete Yost


By Matt Apuzzo

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