Talk:Dismissal of U.S. attorneys controversy

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Contents

Untitled[edit]

Archives: 1 (March 12 - May 1, 2007)2 (May2, 2007-May 29, 2007)

Date wikification[edit]

Here's the policy on dates: Wikipedia:Manual of Style (dates and numbers).
Generally link full dates so that the editor/reader's preference settings will display their chosen format. Basically, wikify dates of the kind:

  • MONTH DAY, YEAR
  • MONTH DAY

But not:

  • MONTH YEAR

because there is no browser display-preference benefit. LInk on this occasion when there is something that is actually significant about that MONTH YEAR. (Meaning rarely)

-- Yellowdesk 03:14, 11 May 2007 (UTC)

Formatting references for easier editing[edit]

I went through the text and cleaned out misplaced periods, spaces, quotation marks and the like associated with the text near references. I reformated how the <ref> and </ref> tags related to the text so that they can be found with greater ease in the editing screen. Here is what I suggest when people add a reference. The good result of this is that you can locate the end of any reference easily, since the closing </ref> is on the first column. This should make it easier to add or edit the text of the article while noticing where the end and start of each reference is. Comments invited. -- Yellowdesk 12:54, 11 May 2007 (UTC)

some text at the end of the sentence.NOSPACE<ref>NEWLINE
body of reference material hereSPACE-NEWLINE
</ref>
Start of next sentence.

The result looks like this while editing:

some text at the end of the sentence.<ref>
body of reference material here
</ref>
Start of next sentence.


I have never seen anyone take the approach you advocate. While I don't think its worth warring over I think your approach makes things extremely messy. Having edited wikipedia for a while now, my eyes look for the <ref> and automatically scan for the </ref> and ignore anything in the middle unless I think that its suspect. I believe that it is preferrable to have refs in as small a space as possible so that when your looking to insert information into a pre-esting segment it is clearer where you can insert without messing up an already existing referrence. Your system becomes especially cumbersome when multiple refs are used for the same point.--Wowaconia 23:10, 27 July 2007 (UTC)
  • The intended result is that the editor can easily find:
    - the end of any reference,
    - the beginning and start of each reference when there are several together at the end of a paragraph or sentence,
    - and not least, easily find the start of the sentences,
    - plus generally all sentences are set-off from the references, instead of all being run-on together.
  • The run-on aspect of references and text in a reference-intensive article such as this, judging by all of the effluvia that had to be cleaned up--in my view is a challenge for most editors.
-- Yellowdesk 01:57, 30 August 2007 (UTC)

Other related Bush controversies[edit]

There's something like this at the bottom, with reams of stuff that has no direct relation to the attorney firings. It makes no sense to be here. I can't see any reason not to take it out, and lots of reasons why it should be. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Bali ultimate (talkcontribs) 18:26, 9 October 2008 (UTC)

The interim appointees - who are they?[edit]

Part of the story is the Interim United States Attorneys. Any takers on creating bios for the missing articles? -- Yellowdesk 14:30, 12 May 2007 (UTC)

Dismissed U.S. Attorneys Summary ( )
Dismissed
Attorney
Effective Date
of Resignation
Federal District Replacement1
Dismissed December 7, 2006
1. David Iglesias Dec 19, 2006 New Mexico Larry Gomez
2. Kevin V. Ryan Jan 16, 2007 Northern California Scott Schools
3. John McKay Jan 26, 2007 Western Washington Jeffrey C. Sullivan
4. Paul K. Charlton Jan 31, 2007 Arizona Daniel G. Knauss
5. Carol Lam Feb 15, 2007 Southern California Karen Hewitt
6. Daniel Bogden Feb 28, 2007 Nevada Steven Myhre
7. Margaret Chiara Mar 16, 2007 Western Michigan Russell C. Stoddard
Others dismissed in 2006
1. Todd Graves Mar 24, 20062 Western Missouri Bradley Schlozman6
2. Bud Cummins Dec 20, 20063 Eastern Arkansas Timothy Griffin5
Dismissed in 2005
1. Thomas M. DiBiagio Jan 2, 20054 Maryland Allen F. Loucks
2. Kasey Warner Jul 20054 Southern W. Virginia Charles T. Miller
1Source: Department of Justice, U.S. Attorneys Offices

2Informed of dismissal January 2006.
3Informed of dismissal June 2006.
4Date resignation requested by the Department of Justice is unknown.
5Subsequently submitted resignation on May 30, 2007, effective June 1, 2007.
6Subsequently returned to positions at the Department of Justice in Washington


Help (Timeline sub article)[edit]

If someone could help out with the Dismissal of U.S. attorneys controversy timeline page I would greatly appreciate it. Remember 14:37, 17 May 2007 (UTC)

Looking good so far. I think it's also OK to have some blank place-holder headers for to-be-expanded upon text. A list of all people summoned to testify in calendar order, may be worth doing, for example. -- Yellowdesk 14:50, 17 May 2007 (UTC)
Okay, I've done a lot to the timeline. Please someone check it out and give some feedback. Remember 20:40, 17 May 2007 (UTC)

Consequences of Timeline article[edit]

We have a re-write on our hands in the main article, thanks to the great efforts of Remember in filling out the Dismissal of U.S. attorneys controversy timeline.
Views desired. What should stay, and in what organization? -- Yellowdesk 13:26, 18 May 2007 (UTC)

Yeah, we definately don't need a chronological blow by blow account but I guess we should maintain the basic story about when the planning, the dismissal, and the investigation. Other thoughts? Remember 14:10, 18 May 2007 (UTC)
"Thematic chronology" comes to mind
I'd also like to revive Bdushaw's idea of something like Dismissal of U.S. attorneys controversy congressional hearings where we could get the list of testimony, transcripts, documents and chronology for that aspect in one place. -- Yellowdesk 18:41, 18 May 2007 (UTC)
I like the idea of a list of all the stuff related to the hearings. Maybe an elaborate template? Remember 22:06, 18 May 2007 (UTC)
I suspect, because we have not yet kept track of all of the people appearing before congressional committees, that it's bigger than a template. I suggest starting as an article that looks like a list, and see if it is still as small as a template-able object when we bring it up to date. -- Yellowdesk 23:06, 18 May 2007 (UTC)
OK. Remember 23:39, 18 May 2007 (UTC)
I just found a possibly comprehensive listing of transcripts (and documents) in calendar order over at the Washington Post.
Documents Related to the U.S. Attorney Firings Washington Post (no date).
No strong propoasals yet on editing down our main page here...yet.
-- Yellowdesk 15:49, 19 May 2007 (UTC)

For some reason the "Documents Related to the U.S. Attorney Firings" link above goes to the wrong place - here is the correct URL, I think: [1] Bdushaw 20:33, 19 May 2007 (UTC)

Right. Fixed now. Thanks for catching that. -- Yellowdesk 01:01, 20 May 2007 (UTC)
  • Back to the prospect of revising the main article. We, at the moment, need to be careful to update the timeline if the main article's thread/chronology is expanded.
    Looking for ideas and implementors of thoughtful revisions of the main article. -- Yellowdesk 23:11, 22 May 2007 (UTC)
My own thoughts (and I am wondering what happened to all the editors of this article!) are that the chronology of the main article should be reduced, and the main chronology should be maintained at the timeline article. The limited chronology in the main article serves the purpose of showing how the controversy blew up, which I think is relevant. But many of the chronological details can perhaps be moved over to the chronology page (which I have avoided working on for the time being; only so many hours in a day...). The main article can't keep up with the changes, can't digest them, and I don't think it ought to. (I inserted the Tolman/Sampson fight over the USA position because I thought it supported a number of themes of the article.) We are already rather behind; the McNulty resignation and other important recent events are not disussed. But the discussion of the issues themselves can be more slowly evolving, while the timeline can just add the basic events as they happen. The main article can/should cover the issues only in a reasonably self-contained fashion, avoiding the many details. I still suspect the Congressional hearings should be spawned off to another article. Perhaps leaving a brief 1-2 paragraph summary of the results of the hearings. I've been contemplating the arrangement in the back of my mind...also the brief blurb on elections. Bdushaw 00:55, 23 May 2007 (UTC)
I note there is a problem in the "Administration rationale unclear" subsection and reference 17. I suspect that those sentences there can be greatly reduced if not deleted. Bdushaw 00:55, 23 May 2007 (UTC)
I've been contemplating the two sections "Administration planning to replace U.S. Attorneys" and "Reactions and congressional investigation". The basic issue, seems to me, is to hammer these sections into proper analysis text/conclusions, rather than the list of events. Listing the events in the proper order is easy, taking those events and other material and forming a complete and accurate description if the issues is another, far harder, task. Part of the problem is that we may not be quite at the stage where we can begin to state any hard conclusions (although "Karl Rove at the White House initiated the plan, which was then begun by Kyle Sampson. Sampson carried the planning with him to the DoJ, with the planning encouraged by the White House. Eight attorneys deemed not working to the political advantage of the Republican Party were eventually dismissed and replaced by more acceptable operatives." is perhaps not too far off the mark. We are indeed missing descriptions of the political nature of the replacements!) So how to synthesize those sections into an accurate NPOV description of the issues without them looking like timelines? Don't know yet. I'm now convinced that a new article on Congressional testimony is in order-it should start with descriptions of Gonzales' January testimony, then McNulty's in Feb., and so on. I think that would be valuable; the present discussion of Sampson/Gonzales testimony is valuable, but I think too much detail for this article. We are not a newspaper where every event should be reported, if you know what I mean. I am contemplating another violent maneuver with the article (though not imminent). It is hard to discuss such often necessary large-scale, dramatic changes ahead of time; I can't be sure how it will look once the dust settles. We always have revert, however; that secret, uniquely-wikipedian weapon! If only life had reverts! Bdushaw 06:59, 24 May 2007 (UTC)

To get the other editors back, we need only talk about changing the article name. :^) -- Yellowdesk


  • I would like to cease worrying about parallel maintenance on chronology. I'm all for a synoptic survery of the development of the controversy. Whoever does it, needs to read the timeline article, just to see that that works well as detail to the summary / synoptic chronology on the lead article. Sine the old news isn't changing, It could also be worked on in a public sandbox subdirectory, until it satisfies a few that are interested: Dismissal_of_U.S._attorneys_controversy/sandbox. I'm not promising to take it on.
On a larger theme-level...I'm looking for criticism of something like a "benign DOJ" story (perhaps failed competency of management), with "unexplained White House participation" as the main structure. I'm not promising to write it.
  • Now that the transcripts are in one place, and they have been published, it is possible to read what was said. The McNulty and all hearing for February 6, 2007 opening statments are at the moment not on the documents article, but findable on the Committee web site. I'll try to get them listed, or someone else can pre-empt me. No complete transcript seems to be available, nor video of that particular hearing. Having read the May 23, 2007 Goodling testimony, I notice in her opening (written) statement she said

    In truth, I can not say with absolute certainty that I know why Kevin Ryan, John McKay, Carol Lam,, Paul Charlton, Daniel Bogden, David Iglesias, and Margaret Chiara were asked to resign. I can describe what I and others discussed as the reasons for their removal, but I cannot guarantee that these reasons are the same as those contemplated by the final decisionmakers who requested the resignations of these U.S. Attorneys. I am not aware, however, of anyone within the Department ever suggesting the replacement of these attorneys in order to interfere with a particular case, or in retaliation for prosecuting or refusing to prosecute a particular case, for political advantage.

    The operative words above seem to be within the department.
  • The other opening statements point to a similar view, Sampson as well. The opening statments of all participants are published, and have also been cited and analyzed by journals there are citable sourcing for that. Based on a Goodling's testimony, a one (debatable and partial) understanding arrives about Gonzales's upset with McNulty about Cummins/Griffin: Gonzales had not previously understood it was a political replacement before the McNulty testimony made that clear. And McNulty could not summarize a collective reason for the other seven, (except perhaps for Ryan) about their arrival on the list, and defaulted to "performance-based" in his testinony, which might be true in a White House-political-sense. So then McNulty had Sampson and Goodling unhappy with McNulty, since they knew "performance" was a slim reed to rely on; plus and the aggreived USAs. There is a cited ABC news article that Miers, who had departed Jan 31, 2007 advised that McNulty or the DOJ not disclose any personnel particulars, so McNulty also failed to satisfy the White House views as well. It appers to a person there was no DOJ driver of the list, but rather a compiler with a tin cup (Sampson), and group-think that was blessed by the White house. I can't tell if the present sources have NPOV support of that slightly benign view.
  • There's a (potential) benign resignation explanation: The Battle, Sampson, Goodling, McNulty recognized they had lost the confidence of an important body within the DOJ, the USAs, and realized they had no credibility with them to manage them any longer.
  • It seems a benign view can then hang from it all of the less benign complaints, criticism and lack of information on who suggested each USA and for what reason and how poorly any USA was informed about the dismissal. Bud Cummins has a great quote, derived from his supplemental answers to a committee, on his article.
  • Some article writing on all of the replacements needs to be done to check on their backgrounds. They must all have brief Bios at the DOJ.
  • That leaves the story about the White House influence.
-- Yellowdesk 15:46, 24 May 2007 (UTC)

News of low morale at DoJ[edit]

Try filling a job for Deputy A.G. for a lame duck administration under an A.G. under fire. -- Yellowdesk 23:21, 19 May 2007 (UTC)

Recent major changes...[edit]

I have been working for the past couple of hours on issues that have been nagging me (in particular, the separation of powers issue as a basis for the Patriot Act changes), clean up regarding our recent separation of subarticles, cleanup regarding how to go about describing the number of dismissed attorneys, and a number of other small changes that I've likely forgotten about. I hope that these changes come under the mandate of our Talk here. Before I continue anymore (if I haven't gone too far already), I'll pause for a day or two for others to digest what I have done - comment/correct/revert/yell/etc. The article is looking a little better to me now; hopefully it looks better to you too...

See also changes to Dismissed U.S. attorneys summary. Bdushaw 21:06, 20 May 2007 (UTC)

The quote from Senator Feinstein at United States Attorney may interest you for historical background. From Senate debate in, I think, March, 2007; via Congressional Record. -- Yellowdesk 21:24, 21 May 2007 (UTC)

Griffin appointment[edit]

I ran across an article yesterday that pointed out that Griffin's 120-day term limit ended April 20, yet he is still in office. Since he was appointed under the revised law, I suspect that means that his term is not limited. I also read some of the e-mails and noted that there was/is a definite strategy to be entirely disingenuous about this process - that is, to talk, delay, feign good faith, etc. and run the clock out on these appointments, while pretending to be respecting the senate's confirmation prerogative. Not quite sure how to handle this in the article, if at all. I suspect Griffin and the others are "grandfathered in" and will remain in office to the end of the president's term, in spite of the political rhetoric about respecting the senate's right to confirm nominations. Griffin stated in February that he would not seek senate confirmation, that he would not get a fair hearing, etc.

The article states that congress has reverted the appointment process, but that the bill has not been signed yet. Anyone know what the status of that is? Is that still true? If it is not signed yet, then "intermim" appointments can still be made.

One nuance the article doesn't discuss (not really important) is that Gonzales assured Senator Pryor that Griffin was to be nominated for Senate confirmation, the senate was not to be by-passed, but a few days later an e-mail from Sampson talked about by-passing the senate on Griffin's appointment. Pryor was pretty angry about that.

Also, Rove spoke in early March on the issue: Rove Speaks in Little Rock Complains that people are playing politics with the issue. Ironic, eh? Note he states that he believes all "seven" should be senate confirmed, which leaves out Griffin. It is perhaps notable that he is speaking fluently on the issue and is seems to be fully engaged in the problem. What he does not say is that the matter is for the AG and the DoJ; whitehouse influence on the DoJ is apparent. No more firewall between the whitehouse and the DoJ as in the past. Bdushaw 20:02, 21 May 2007 (UTC)

Sampson said the "good faith" thing. He's gone. Gonzales said he would confirm Griffin, but Griffin later on said said he would not go before the Senate, when the controversy broke. Probably a promise broken on Gonzales's part now. the two bills have not made it to a conference committee, They seem not to be identical. Check the THOMAS reference to see the status. I speculate any Gonzales appointment stays on, grandfathered in. The bill may specify transitional processes. I forget. -- Yellowdesk 21:21, 21 May 2007 (UTC)

New "documents" list/article[edit]

I created, for publicly released documents and hearings transcripts: Dismissal of U.S. attorneys controversy documents.

It mostly links to the Washington Post, and is modeled in part after their documents links page.
Not sure If I should turn the order into "natural" chronological order. Now it's Newest on top, old at bottom.
It also needs to name the participants in the each hearing, for clarity.
(done items)

-- Yellowdesk 07:01, 22 May 2007 (UTC)
Nice job! (FWIW, I also left, there, the following suggestion: "Small suggestion: for transcripts of the hearings, put it under the date of the hearing, rather than "released" date") -- Sholom 12:26, 22 May 2007 (UTC)

Name[edit]

This section was pulled from the Archives in order to continue the debate

Is the current article name the correct one? I was the one who originally created the article, but now I am hearing some people toss around terms like "Eight-gate" or "Attorney-gate." What do others think? My other concern is that people may have a difficult time finding this article. Remember 16:11, 14 March 2007 (UTC)
I think we need the benefit of time before we use a "-gate" nickname for this. Mostly, I've heard it as the "U.S. Attorneys controvery", which isn't descriptive enough. If people have a difficult time finding the article, one thing that might help is to link to it from other places. At this point, however, the non-creative "U.S. Attorneys 2006 dismissal controvery" is the best I can think of right now. -- Sholom 16:59, 14 March 2007 (UTC)
I would favor a name easy to integrate into wlinks from other articles, e.g. Dismissal of United States Attorneys. Terjen 17:02, 14 March 2007 (UTC)
I recommend leaving this as is for now. This story is just picking up steam. I see this breaking down into a handful of individual wiki entries. Some information I added about the 1993 dismissal of all 1993 US Attorneys has been removed because some users think it is a "red herring". I disagree with that, but I'll refrain from fighting that battle and instead put my vote in for separate wiki entries. These are their subjects.
It took me all of 10 seconds to find this page. You should be fine (for now) Granite26 18:32, 19 March 2007 (UTC)
1) Dismissing United States Attorneys
2) 1993 dismissal of ALL 93 US Attorneys, establishing a new precedent[could be subsection of 1)]
3) The 2006/7 debate -- Gabrielsutherland 18:10, 14 March 2007 (UTC)
PLEASE STOP REDIRECTING AND CREATING NEW NAMES FOR THIS ARTICLE UNTIL WE COME UP WITH A CONSENSUS ABOUT WHAT THE NAME SHOULD BE. THAT WAS THE WHOLE POINT OF CREATING THIS TALK SECTION. Remember 21:30, 14 March 2007 (UTC)
On a related issue, I suggest that we consistently capitalize United States Attorney and its variations, just as in that entry. Terjen 22:54, 14 March 2007 (UTC)
  • I believe that the article should be renamed Dismissal of United States Attorneys controversy. Spelling out "United States" is the proper format for almost all Wiki articles. Thoughts? --Daysleeper47 13:18, 22 May 2007 (UTC)

Looking for a complete Transcript Feb 6, 2007 Senate Judiciary hearing.[edit]

For: Dismissal of U.S. attorneys controversy documents
I can't find a journal that published the transcript for the Senate Judiciary Committee, Feb 6, 2007, which had Paul McNulty testifying, with others. Looking for help on that transcript. It sppears C-SPAN did not record it either, as best I can tell. Generally, available transcipts were originally produced by Congressional Quarterly, and posted by individual newspapers. CQ is a subsciption site. -- Yellowdesk 15:09, 22 May 2007 (UTC)

Monica G.[edit]

On Monica Goodling in the LA Times: [2] Bdushaw 07:33, 23 May 2007 (UTC)

Linkspam to Legal blog for Goodling Transcript by |NonEuclidean[edit]

We seem to have a legal blog link spammer visiting this and other articles.
You can see the activity here: NonEuclidean (talk · contribs · deleted contribs · logs · edit filter log · block user · block log).
Your collective and continuing review of their edits to the various USA articles is desired. -- Yellowdesk 07:57, 24 May 2007 (UTC)

Notable opinions and facts will be covered by reliable secondary sources. Blogs should not be relied on in any article accept for factual information about the blogger (i.e. Blogger "John Doe" writes that that his birthday is Jan1, 1950.) Being earlier than newspapers and other journalism outlets should be a red flag, not a banner of credibility. Credible journalism outlets have standards. Law journals are reviewed by peers. Blogs by law professors/legal scholars are not reviewed. If they have a particular pet legal theory they should submit it to law review. Or better yet, take it to court. But some guy's musings on his blog is not notable or scholarly and shouldn't be treated as such. --Tbeatty 05:04, 27 May 2007 (UTC)

Congressional hearings or testimony sub-article proposed[edit]

Looking for objections to pushing the Congressional testimony section into an article of its own. Remaining in the main article could be a summary paragraph or two and a listing of dates and key persons testifying. -- Yellowdesk 16:23, 24 May 2007 (UTC)

Since there is no objection for two days, the article Dismissal of U.S. attorneys controversy hearings has been created. It possibly could use a better name. The original section it came from, Dismissal_of_U.S._attorneys_controversy#Congressional_hearings from at this moment has not been removed, pending checking for named references that appear for the first "full" occasion in the "congressinal hearings" section, and also appear elsewher in the main article. There is at least one of these to fix. -- Yellowdesk 16:22, 26 May 2007 (UTC)
Now done. -- Yellowdesk 04:02, 27 May 2007 (UTC)

Other proposed changes[edit]

I would like to suggest that we move most of "Terminations under previous administrations" over to the United States Attorney page; not entirely sure about that, but I suggest doing that. Curiously there is nothing on that page about the dismissal/replacement issue; something that really needs developing over there. A short summary of previous terminations, showing that the present terminations have no precedent, can be included in the "The appointment process for U.S. Attorneys" subsection. Our article doesn't really rely on the United States Attorney article, whereas it stands to reason it should.

I would also like to start a new section toward the end of the article "Present status of interim U.S. Attorneys" to include the Griffin discussion, and discussions of the present state of the law and those interim attorneys. Perhaps even including the situation of U.S. Attorneys residing outside of their appointed state.

I am close to establishing a beachhead in sandbox on a revised "Administration planning to replace U.S. Attorneys" section (if no one beats me to it) - my thoughts are gradually coalescing... Bdushaw 23:29, 26 May 2007 (UTC)

  • So far, I haven't done much there, because it's hard to tell how big the dismissal event would be. I've been attempting to leave it alone and allow anyone who cares attempt to grow it without the controversy hanging all over it. I put the Feinstein squote on history there, and would be better done as part of an
  • independant appointment law and history article: an oportunity for describing the law and the changes on appointments, and incorporating the issues the DOJ has with interim appointments too.
  • for the USA article, if done right, that article should be a system of four of five articles too. It's a big job. Some districts have more than 100 lawyers.
  • It seems to the transition thing correctly, someone should go to an outstanding college library, and really track down the statistics on transitions back to the Kennedy change over. It might need to be the Congressional Record, or plus some DOJ publications.
  • On precendent, I recently saw a March press conference on C-Span, in which Patrick Leahey (VT-D), committee chair, said he had not seen anything like it in 30 years in congress, plus he was a USA, as was Ranking member Spector (PA-R).. Leahy's words were "unprecedented."
  • There's a recent McClatchy Washington Bureau article saying there are 20+ "vacancies" right now, needing a permanant USA. I have not read it yet.
-- Yellowdesk 04:19, 27 May 2007 (UTC)

I have concluded that the "terminations under previous administrations" section should stay - mainly because it is an important section clarifying some of the administrations statements concerning the history of terminations. I've moved that section up under the appointments section and simplified it a bit to remove the non-essential details. If people hate it, I'd be willing to go back to the previous organization. I've also started a new section "present status" that I suspect is a logical place to develop discussions of what's presently going on, and perhaps include the residency change/problem (e.g. Mercer as above). Again, see how you like it. (I got inadvertently logged out and had to battle the vandal police for a time during my edits, but I think it has settled down now...Nice to know that there are people watching! Perhaps I should have been more careful to announce my intentions ahead of time.) Bdushaw 04:26, 28 May 2007 (UTC)

Paul Clement[edit]

Paul Clement is the second-highest official in the Justice Department, is he somehow involved? WooyiTalk to me? 23:39, 27 May 2007 (UTC)

Strangely, I had not even heard the name until now. Perhaps he was "out of the loop" for the dismissals? Bdushaw 00:01, 28 May 2007 (UTC)
Very strange, he is one of the top guy in DOJ and there is no single mention of him in the whole affair. What is "out of the loop"?
Out of the loop means not receiving news, communications or participating in decisions. Before email, and when copying was a luxury, memos were passed around with a slip on them, and if you were on the list of people to read the article, item, memoranda, or what ever, you were "in the loop," meaning you were part of the cicuit the item ran through, and were a full participant and fully informed. -- Yellowdesk 00:29, 28 May 2007 (UTC)
Thanks, now I get it. Though, Clement's position is impossible to put him out of loop. He basically handle court cases for the justice department. WooyiTalk to me? 00:38, 28 May 2007 (UTC)
And the Soliciter General is not really an "operations" office. He functions as the lawyer's lawyer, responding to government suits, primarily at the Supreme Court level, and writing "freind of the court" briefs stating the government's interest in all other Supreme Court cases, and administers a realtively small staff to deal with all of that. The Dempartment of Justice is 100,000 people big. The SG is the number 4 position, after the Deputy and Asssitant A.G. The S.G. actually has his office at the Supreme Court, so you can see that makes a big difference. -- Yellowdesk 00:40, 28 May 2007 (UTC)
Just checked the article on Solicitor General of U.S., it says the SG is excluded from administrative duties. No surprise he wouldn't get involved in firing attorneys, thanks for the explanation. WooyiTalk to me? 00:49, 28 May 2007 (UTC)

Interim or actual?[edit]

One point that confuses me somewhat: appointments made under the Patriot Act re-authorization...does that make the USA the actual USA? Or is he still the interim USA? I suspect the former is true. So Griffin is now the actual USA, having been appointed under the Patriot Act provision by the AG? The DoJ website seems to list appointments under the Patriot Act provision. There seems to be a bit of confusion about this point, e.g. the Jeffrey A. Taylor page. (the article there points out that if Congress finds Gonzales in contempt, Taylor is responsible for convening a grand jury...and Taylor was appointed by Gonzales under the Patriot Act provisions...what a mess.) Bdushaw 05:17, 28 May 2007 (UTC)

They're "actual," yet still interim USAs, and merely arrived by non-standard means: AG appointment, and can disappear if the president elects to nominate someone and that someone is confirmed, in that instance, no formal dismissal is needed. The A.G. cannot unilaterally dismiss even an interim, the President does...but you can see that the USAs assume that the A.G. speaks for the president and can ask for resignations anyway. -- Yellowdesk 07:43, 28 May 2007 (UTC)

New section underway in sandbox[edit]

Per my earlier threat, I've started a revised section (still very crude) in Dismissal of U.S. attorneys controversy/sandbox to replace the existing "Administration planning to replace U.S. Attorneys" section. Perhaps by the end of the week we might have it ready to go. I hope it will also draw material from the subsequent sections, so that overall the article will shrink considerably in size while ending up with a much better discussion of the issues involved. Bdushaw 20:03, 28 May 2007 (UTC)]

so I just moved the sandbox to Talk:Dismissal_of_U.S._attorneys_controversy/sandbox -- Yellowdesk 18:20, 14 July 2007 (UTC)

Sara Taylor[edit]

Should we includ Sara Taylor on the template of people who resigned during the controversy? What do people think? Remember 20:05, 29 May 2007 (UTC)

Not yet, for now. Especially since there's basically nothing at her bio-article.
We do need to get an organization chart of the several departments Goodling and Sampson interacted with. They were mostly dealing with the next level down from Miers and Rove. And there's a legislative group cited in email/testimony too. -- Yellowdesk 21:35, 29 May 2007 (UTC)

Heffelfinger and voter fraud[edit]

[3] - in the LA Times today. That's a whole lot of pattern for mere coincidence or circumstantial evidence. Bdushaw 11:33, 31 May 2007 (UTC)

Here's the article in ref citable form: [1]
And in readable form:
Hamburger, Tom (May 31, 2007). "Minnesota case fits pattern in U.S. attorneys flap: A prosecutor apparently targeted for firing had supported Native American voters' rights.". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2007-05-31. 
-- Yellowdesk 12:21, 31 May 2007 (UTC)

There will be more news after these hearings too: (Yellowdesk 13:39, 31 May 2007 (UTC))

* June 5, 2007 - Senate Judiciary Committee: Preserving Prosecutorial Independence: Is the Department of Justice Politicizing the Hiring and Firing of U.S. Attorneys? -- Part V[2]

Panel 1: Bradley J. Schlozman, Associate Counsel to the Directo , Executive Office for United States Attorneys
Former Interim U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Missouri; Former Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General; Former Acting Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Rights Division, U.S. Department of Justice, Washington, DC
Panel 2: Todd Graves, Former U.S. Attorney, Western District of Missouri, Kansas City, MO
  • June 7, 2007 - Senate Judiciary Committee: "Prevention of Deceptive Practices and Voter Intimidation in Federal Elections: S. 453[3] - Senator Cardin presiding.

I see no clear separation - anywhere - between the separtion of politics in hiring and firing and politics in prosecution of cases. You can fill the place up with Dems or Repubs but if you use the position to go after on Repubs or Dems then you should be impeached. Even if you are just barely inside the law, both parties should be more than glad to return you to Howie, Cheatum and Howe.159.105.80.141 14:53, 31 May 2007 (UTC)

I have not so far - even from late night comedians - heard about the 83 or so who were not fired. If the 8 were fired for refusing to have politically based prosecutions then were the 83 kept because the went along with the program. Congress seems to have investigations of the wrong group. We know the 8 were honest, we need an investigation of the 83 to see where they come out on the honesty scale.159.105.80.141 14:58, 31 May 2007 (UTC)

There was an opinion piece in the NY Times a while back asking the question what did the others do to avoid the ax. There is also evidence that the "tampering", if I may be so bold as to call it that, was in regions where elections were close - e.g., Missouri or New Mexico. In other states there was perhaps less motivation to try to gain a slight additional election advantage, say, using the USAs.
As an aside, I heard from friends in San Diego that Lam's Democratic views were pretty well known and she was apparently not very quiet about it either. She may have been asking for trouble with this admin. Can we use my friends in San Diego as a ref?  :) Bdushaw 18:57, 31 May 2007 (UTC)

Elections Influence sources[edit]

We'll probably see several elections articles by the time of the Schozman and Graves Senat Judiciary hearings on June 5, 2007. This article includes Bud Cummins Arkansas, Todd Graves Missouri, Bradley Schlozman, William Mateja DOJ, David Iglesias of New Mexico and John McKay Washington State, Mark (Thor) Hearne Bush/Cheny 2004 elections counsel, Monica Goodling's hiring/influence on the replacement for Graves.

This is in form ready for citation (use edit section to grab it) [4]

Bibliographic form:

  • Waas, Murray (May 31, 2007). "The Scales Of Justice". National Journal (National Journal Group). Retrieved 2007-05-31. 
Add other articles you might find here, pending incorportion into the article. -- Yellowdesk 23:59, 31 May 2007 (UTC)
  • One more of interest..."Rove Linked to Prosecution of Ex-Alabama Governor"[5][4] Bdushaw 20:37, 1 June 2007 (UTC)
  • A change in political tone of U.S. Attorney appointments? (though nothing to do with elections)..."L.A.'s U.S. attorney post may be filled soon"[6][5] Bdushaw 21:06, 1 June 2007 (UTC)
  • Then there is the recent arrest by Kevin O'Connor, Gonzales' present Chief of Staff and U.S. Attorney for Connecticut [6]:"Connecticut Senate Leader Arrested"[7][7] Gonzales' Chief of Staff arrests a Republican politician after the horse has left the barn...probably nothing to this, but let us consult the X-files... Bdushaw 23:44, 1 June 2007 (UTC)
  • McKay in WA seems to think his dismissal was a result of the events of the Governor's election: "McKay suggests cover-up in prosecutor case"[8][8]. But on all these sorts of things, we are unlikely to ever have, e.g., e-mail records that say "we need to can McKay because he didn't help us during the Governor's election!" How to best approach the article, when all we are likely to have is innuendo and circumstantial evidence? The situation is becoming something of a witch hunt (just because you are on a witch hunt, doesn't mean there aren't witches out there?) - too much of this without some concrete evidence will put us out on very thin ice. Bdushaw 18:39, 2 June 2007 (UTC)
It looks like the fact to report is X former USA said Y. -- Yellowdesk 21:27, 2 June 2007 (UTC)
On thinking about the issue, I think my concern is that in looking for elections/voting issues we can assemble quite an impressive case of circumstantial evidence such as "X former USA said Y." But is this based on picking and choosing evidence/stories to tell? When on a witch hunt, suddenly everyone is a witch... Piece by piece it can be NPOV, but choosing which pieces to discuss and how those pieces are assembled together may be POV. Does that make sense? Just trying to avoid the thin ice; a certain amount of caution is in order. That said, Schlozman appears in the Heffelfinger story, see below; yet another witch? Bdushaw 18:36, 3 June 2007 (UTC)
  • Also an article with comments from Heffelfinger, who is fairly angry at the administration:"Heffelfinger slams Justice Department"[9][9] The article refers to the issue of Tribal voting in Minnesota. Bdushaw 18:39, 2 June 2007 (UTC) And Heffelfinger again in the LA Times on how his being on the list to be fired fits the voting pattern: "Minnesota case fits the pattern in flap over firing of U.S. attorneys"[10][10] Curiously, Schlozman is also involved with this case. I've started an article for Thomas B. Heffelfinger. Bdushaw 18:36, 3 June 2007 (UTC)
  • A reference on B. Schlotzman's testimony this week (which seem to have been lost to the other events of the day): "Attorney denies politics had role: Schlozman says the pursuit of voter fraud indictments against ACORN was proper"[11][11] See also:"Official defends filing voter fraud case"[12][12] or TPM Muckraker: "Schlozman And Iglesias Conflict On Donsanto" And an article in the Washington Post (looking for reliable refs and different views): "Ex-Prosecutor Says He Didn't Think Charges Would Affect Election"[13][13]. Bdushaw 17:36, 8 June 2007 (UTC)

Issues in Brief section[edit]

An editor has added a new section to our issues in brief that I don't agree is a major issue - an issue to be sure, but not a major one. I believe we are trying to keep that section as short, succinct and focused on the major issues as possible. I would suggest moving the discussion of how the list was generated to our Dismissal_of_U.S._attorneys_controversy/sandbox page for now, and perhaps adding a brief sentence about the list development question to one of the other sub-sections (administration contradictions?)

The subsection "Delegation of Attorney General's authority; DOJ investigations" I suggest re-titling something like "Politization of hiring practices at the DoJ" and developing that paragraph along those general lines (rather than just the Monica G. thing).

(I am back to the wikipedia for a time; I have a photo I took of Brett Tolman's office in Salt Lake City I may upload later today.) Bdushaw 23:41, 7 June 2007 (UTC)

I notice the editor that added the item in question seems to log in only once a week and perform just one or two edits. It would be nice have a colloquey here about the paragraph with that editor, whom I invited to provide citations for the added text, but that may take a while. I do notice that some of the ideas added could be transformed into a single sentence and added to the "Administration rational unclear" section, which might bear suitable re-titling as well. As in--the "rationale" is unclear in part because who's rationale it is is unclear--nobody owns it--within the DOJ. As far as I'm concerned on your proposed edits, go ahead. I'm going to be busy with other things for the next several weeks. -- Yellowdesk 03:29, 8 June 2007 (UTC)
Hi, here I am. I will go and add citations to the text. I should be able to simply use existing citations in the article, so I hope it will not be too much work. However, if as Bdushaw says we want to keep this section succinct, we might actually want to remove almost all of the explaining text in this section and only have an almost bare list of items (that are now the section headings). What do you think? The article is getting very long. (I will still work on the text since it might be useful anyway.) --KarlFrei 08:06, 8 June 2007 (UTC)
  • The substance of your addition is most useful, and worth putting forth in detail in the article (and almost hilarious): detailing the quotations among all of the parties saying something like "I don't know where the names came from" will be valuable. It's a bit of reading to wade through all of the the testimony, and pin down the citations. The several other sub articles "hearings" "documents" and "timeline" undoubtedly have the sources in hand already. What are your thoughts on combining a succinct summary with the "rationale unclear" issue in brief? Yellowdesk 12:00, 8 June 2007 (UTC)
Actually, as I was writing it, I got the idea that perhaps it would fit better together with the "Delegation of authority" subsection immediately above it. The combined subsection could be called "Responsibility for the process; origin of list of names". What do you think? BTW, I got the inspiration for writing this subsection from a Daily Show sketch :-) --KarlFrei 19:23, 9 June 2007 (UTC)
  • By the way, the article has gone down in size at least 50% in the last month, as we've shipped off major sections to sub-articles. One reason it is so large is the footnotes amount to one-half of the text of the article. You're invited to check over the working outline to rewrite the now duplicated chronology in the main article, so that it is more thematic. See Dismissal of U.S. attorneys controversy/sandbox -- Yellowdesk 12:00, 8 June 2007 (UTC)

Fallout[edit]

We are starting to see articles on the corrosive effect this scandal has had on the justice system:

Perhaps a new section on Issues in Brief? See also the new ref. 27 by Eggen/Washington post on the trouble in filling positions at the Justice Department. Bdushaw 06:28, 18 June 2007 (UTC)

Yang issue[edit]

I have reverted a large insertion into the introduction concerning Attorney Yang and a purported lack of evidence about Lam (including a claim that Lam didn't prosecute Cunningham):

  1. It's too much for the intro. Put it where it belongs
  2. It appears that Yang resigned as US Atty in 2006; the information inserted is not accurate
  3. It seems implausible that Yang rather than Lam prosecuted Duke Cunningham. If so many sources got this wrong, it' best to cite to court documents. rewinn 05:32, 19 June 2007 (UTC)

McClatchy Newspapers website change. Footnotes need revised URLs[edit]

  • It looks like ALL of the McClatchy news service, Washington Bureau articles will need new URLs, as the McClatchy Newspaper system has moved off of "realcities.com" to "mcclatchyDC.com."
    Please don't dump the bad links but research the link for the original article and relplace with the current URL. Fortunately this series of articles' footnotes are high-quality, listing the article title and authors and date in nearly every case, so this should be not that hard to fix.
-- Thanks. -- Yellowdesk 01:25, 20 June 2007 (UTC)

Dismissal of U.S. Attorneys under previous administrations[edit]

In regard to this statement in the third paragraph under the aformentioned heading:

"There is no precedent for a President to dismiss several U.S attorneys at one time while in the middle of their terms."

Forgive my private school education, but simple math shows more than four years served for every attorney in question. They had all served full terms and were "holdovers." Perhaps the table showing the names and dates of firing could have a column added for the date of appointment (or senate confirmation since all were appointed and confirmed before the Patriot Act changes.)

That is, if we're interested in showing that there is nothing controversial after all.

Chuck in Oklahoma

Multitasking: The ability to screw up several things at once. 23:54, 25 July 2007 (UTC)

  • The "middle of a term" phrase refers to the middle of a presidential term; I have clarified that now. It is what the cited source is saying...the middle of the presidential term in office, for the two-term presidents, dismissing appointees that the same administration appointed.
    As the article says, holdovers, those who have served the initial four-year term typically stay on. The appointment law says their term may continue until a replacement is confirmed, and in any case, all U.S. attorneys may be dismissed at anytime by the president. It is atypical to dismiss holdovers appointed by the sitting president, and as the cited sources indicate, to do so to a number of them at once has not been previously done. -- Yellowdesk 01:03, 26 July 2007 (UTC).

Contempt of Congress section[edit]

I have a few comments concerning the new section, although I don't have time to implement the ideas, alas.

First, the section needs to point out the rather significant Constitutional showdown that is looming - there are several recent references (LA Times, NY Times, CNN yesterday/today) on this issue: The stage is set for a significant and perhaps landmark Supreme court case or some other drama such as impeachment of DoJ officials, etc. The subpoena problem/claims of executive privilege has become really quite a big deal; even dwarfing the Attorneys controversy itself, seems to me. It is the administration intransigence vs. the will of Congress in its oversight role ("checks and balances") of the Executive Branch. More needs to be said to highlight these issues.

Second, the article mentions that one of the fallouts of the attorneys controversy is that the USA appointed by Bush will have to enforce the contempt charges against the administration officials/DoJ officials. That's quite a mess and true. I note also that apparently Congress has the ability/authority to arrest and hold people on its own, although it has to hold them in the basement of Congress. This is a factor of last resort, should the USA's be ordered not to enforce the contempt charges. This was described in a reference recently (so sorry I don't have precise references...; there is a Specter quote on the subject). While very rarely used, and many many years since it was used, at the moment I wouldn't rule out Congress eventually holding some of the administration people in its basement...

Lastly, the section on the contempt has run into the basic problem that the article structure has with the mixed issues/chronology organization. We were trying to fix that in the [sandbox], but lost steam on the effort. The contempt of Congress section is technically out of order. Perhaps we (i.e., you all...) might have to abandon the sandbox attempt and try a quicker restructure of the existing material along the lines of (a) give a basic and quick chronology, and (b) then describe the issues. E.g., perhaps break this entire section into a major section of the article outside of the Jan.-Feb.-Mar. timeline. My 3 cents, Bdushaw 05:09, 26 July 2007 (UTC)

Title capitalization[edit]

Shouldn't the "a" in "attorneys" in the page title be capitalized? The position is U.S. Attorney, not U.S. attorney. The way we have it now, it sounds like some civilian lawyers were fired instead of federal prosecutors. VolatileChemical 11:10, 3 August 2007 (UTC)

Perhaps. The term can be found variously capitalized and not. In ordinary prose, it is U.S. attorneys, similar to a paragraph on various U.S. presidents. It is interesting that the statute does not capitalize the term, even in a section heading. See 28 U.S.C. § 541. I have not researched the issue. I would suggest not rushing to change the title. If you want to pursue it, perhaps putting a formal proposal forward here, so the interested know something is about to be decided. There is a redirect with capitalization, so searchers get to the article. There are a number of competing potential names to sort out if a change proposal comes forward. See above: Talk:Dismissal of U.S. attorneys controversy#Name -- Yellowdesk 18:17, 3 August 2007 (UTC)

"Unprecedented" in the lead[edit]

We seem to be having a problem, approaching vandalism, with the word "unprecedented" in the lead. I note the following to justify this word:

  • We had an extensive discussion in the Talk here (now archived) concerning the lead and specifically the word "unprecedented". The consensus, I believe, was that "unusual" was not quite appropriate (being somewhat X-file-like), but "unprecendented" was generally acceptable.
  • The sentence in question gives several references/citations that discuss the "unprecedented" nature of the firings, specifically using that word.
  • The article has a section describing the policies and historical background on USA's appointments and terminations that shows why the situation with these 8-10 USA's is unusual/atypical/unprecedented.

I think these points justify the use of the word "unprecedented" and our defense of its inclusion in the lead sentence. Bdushaw 03:29, 23 August 2007 (UTC)

The new "unprecedented midterm dismissal" works for me. Bdushaw 17:13, 23 August 2007 (UTC)

Alberto Gonzales[edit]

I renamed the header there about no-confidence, resignation, etc to simply "Resignation". The comment told me to come here and say that. --Golbez 13:03, 27 August 2007 (UTC)

Firing is a right[edit]

Just like a corporation, the President can fire of his appointees at anytime. This whole issue is nothing but political muckraking. The fact it was people he appointed is irrelevant.Rlevse 11:02, 2 September 2007 (UTC)

The article clearly states that the President can fire his appointees at anytime, but also shows that this has never been done before (until now, no President has fired his own appointed U.S.A.'s). The reason for this precedent is that the Department of Justice is not like a corporation. It has to avoid even the appearance of partisanship. U.S. Attorneys have the power to throw people in jail and confiscate property; once appointed they must rise above the political fray. The larger issue turns on what is legally o.k. vs. what is good public policy. As for "This whole issue is nothing but political muckraking.", let's hear from some of the former U.S. Attorneys themselves on the A.G.'s resignation; U.S.A.'s appointed by President Bush, hence conservative, Republican and hardly muckrakers:

"This is a great, great development. ...The next attorney general has to understand that his primary loyalty is to the Constitution and the rule of law and that sometimes he has to tell the president no." --Former U.S. Attorney David Iglesias of New Mexico, one of the fired U.S. prosecutors.


"It is a good thing for the Department of Justice and it's an opportunity for those career professionals to begin to focus on what is important, and that is the administration of justice." -- Fired Arizona U.S. Attorney Paul Charlton.


"There comes a time when if you don't have the respect of the Congress and the American public and your own people in the department then it's time to step down." -- Fired Nevada U.S. Attorney Daniel Bogden.


"I don't think he would have ever had to resign until they were able to hang the U.S. attorneys' firings around his neck ... To me, it could all be written off to miscommunication and bad judgment and probably could have been forgiven until they made a conscious decision to be willing to throw some of the U.S. attorneys under the bus." -- Fired Arkansas U.S. Attorney Bud Cummins.Boston Globe
But this is not the place to debate the legitimacy of the Fired Attorneys issue, however. There is obviously political muckraking going on with the issue, but we have worked hard to be sure the article is neutral point of view and well referenced with reliable, reputable sources. I am not altogether happy with the article ("Gonzalez-gate" in the lead should go; lower half of the article needs a better organization, Taylor testimony should be shipped off to the Hearings article). But I have edited enough here, except to ensure that key, sourced, substantive well-discussed points, such as the firings being unprecedented, do not get lost. Bdushaw 05:52, 6 September 2007 (UTC)

Citations needing improved URLs[edit]

It has been kindly pointed out that a number of source/citation URLs have expired.
All of the Associated Press citations should be easy enough to revive.
It may take more effort for the others. See this set of edits by User:CrazyGlu, on September 10 2007

http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Dismissal_of_U.S._attorneys_controversy&diff=156854089&oldid=155526235

-- Yellowdesk 02:24, 11 September 2007 (UTC)

Unprecedented...or not![edit]

Well, there is one precedent similar to the fired U.S. Attorneys affair - the Saturday Night Massacre. Though the SNM was higher up and much closer to the President, the themes are rather similar. I doubt we want to include that in the article, however. I know of no press accounts that relate the U.S. Attorneys to the SNM. Note that it was entirely "legal" for the President to fire Archibald Cox...it was just really bad public policy.

I've poked at the lede a bit. It seemed to be getting a little convoluted/redundant. I don't think we have to bend over too far backwards to make the case for "unprecedented" in the lede. The references and article make that case clearly IMO. I am happy to see "Gonzales-gate" gone from the lede - this does not seem to be a common phrase for this scandal. Bdushaw 20:43, 4 October 2007 (UTC)

  • Note that exactly one person was dismissed on the Saturday night massacre, Archibald Cox, who was not a U.S. attorney; he was a special prosecutor. Not particularly interesting that one person was dismissed; it was important because A.G. Elliot Richardson and Deputy A.G. William Ruckelshaus made specific promises to congressional committees that they would not interfere with the special prosecutor's activity. The senior people resigned upon indicating they would not carry out Nixon's request. -- Yellowdesk (talk) 14:19, 10 June 2008 (UTC)

Category:Political and cultural purges[edit]

By objective standards, Category:Political and cultural purges is certainly "applicable" to this article, imo. "Purge" is actually a straightforward neutral term, regardless of one's views on the desirability or appropriateness of particular examples. It simply denotes the removal of a group of individuals from positions of power or influence in furtherance of a political objective.

Furthermore, the attorney firings are widely and routinely referred to, across a broad range (not just liberal) of mainstream news media, as a "purge" (with several instances cited in the Notes section). The word is even used in the text of the article (Dismissal_of_U.S._attorneys_controversy#Sampson_resignation):

But DOJ records released on March 23 showed that on his November 27 schedule "he attended an hour-long meeting at which, aides said, he approved a detailed plan for executing the purge."

Lastly, bear in mind that the purpose of putting articles into Categories is to assist readers in finding items of interest. Category:Political and cultural purges includes purges from across the political spectrum (and from different historical periods), without regard to any justifications or explanations that might be offered.

Cgingold (talk) 23:18, 14 December 2007 (UTC)

Any comments on this? Cgingold (talk) 00:36, 18 December 2007 (UTC)

A few things are lacking on the category Category:Political and cultural purges:

  • 0. A supported and cited definition is lacking for the category.
  • 1. The lead article which the category relies upon, as of this date, Purge has zero cited sources, hence stands as the unsupported effort of the editors that drafted it.
  • 2. The dismissal of U.S. attorneys was decidedly not a cultural purge, and not enforced by any societal activities or efforts, and was a controversy because it failed to have the support of leading political actors, or complicity of leading citizens.
  • 3. A full quote above, with citation to the source, indicating who is making the evaluation that the DOJ activity is a purge is desirable. One person's statement does not a purge make.
  • 4. The reasons for the dismissals have not been revealed by the prime movers on the decisions. Purge implies that there is a known difference and successful outcome to those in power, which the whole dismissal of U.S. Attorneys controversy fails to satisfy, with the resignation of all of the most senior staff of the DOJ because of their participation in the dismissal decisions, and further the continuing unresolved nature of the legislative body (congress) versus the executive authority (the president) that the continuing tensions appear to demonstrate. See, for example: Paul Kane. Rove, Bolten Found in Contempt of Congress: Senate Committee Cites Top Bush Advisers in Probe of U.S. Attorney Firings Washington Post Friday, December 14, 2007; Page A08 (Retrieved December 17, 2007.
  • 5. It's fair to say that none of the dismissed attorneys suffered debilitating income and societal results from the dismissal, and more than a few had their stature and visibility much raised by the action. Rather contrary to a purge's outcome.
  • 6. Objective standards claimed above are not visible to this editor.
  • 7. One of the key enabling statutes that permitted un-confirmed term-limitless appointments to the positions of those dismissed was overwhelmingly repealed in veto-proof majorities by the legislature, and signed into law. Not a sign of an authority with apparently insurmountable ability to enforce an above-the law will, a colloquial characteristic of other purges listed in the category.
  • I could go on, but this is a start to the conversation.
-- Yellowdesk (talk) 03:33, 18 December 2007 (UTC)
Sounds like (at least some of) this discussion should be happening at categories for discussion. I don't really see why grouping "cultural" with "political" makes sense, but I wouldn't want to say it's wrong without hearing from whoever created the category.
Be that as it may, I tend to agree with CGingold, that calling something a "purge" is not necessarily a political or POV statement. Regarding #1 above, I don't think a cited article on Wikipedia is necessary; "purge" is in any dictionary, and its meaning is commonly understood. No definition of "purge" would state that the removal of an undesirable group must be political in nature; people on all sides of this issue would agree that the attorneys "gotten rid of" were "undesirable" to those getting rid of them. The controversial issue is whether or not the characteristics that made them undesirable were germane to their job performance.
Yellowdesk, you say: Purge implies that there is a known difference and successful outcome to those in power. Where are you getting that? I would say that a purge is simply the removal of a significant number of undesirable elements, which seems to be in line with what my dictionary says.
Finally, I'd like to point out that where there is no person accused of a crime, it's not necessary to have a legal ruling to support the claim. (Not that anyone has said otherwise, just making sure.) If several reliable sources state that the firing of attorneys amounted to a "purge," that should be sufficient to call it a purge here. If several others say it's not, then both sides should be represented. I'm pretty sure that the first condition holds, not so sure about the second, but happy to be proven wrong. -Pete (talk) 06:14, 18 December 2007 (UTC)
  • The controversy, in part, has force because members of the same party as the president, in the Senate and elsewhere found the dismissed individuals not undesirable, but esteemed and valuable members of their state, district or region's legal and political community, and had the power to force visibility on the decisions. Hardly a cultural measure.
    The creator of the category, such as it is, viewing this history of the category, is Cgingold
    -- Yellowdesk (talk) 13:24, 18 December 2007 (UTC)
Yellowdesk, I agree with what you say, except I don't get why you take it to imply that the action was "hardly a cultural matter." Are you denying that more than one culture can exist within a political party? If so, I disagree.
Didn't realize that Cgingold was the category creator, thanks for pointing that out. -Pete (talk) 19:22, 18 December 2007 (UTC)
  • The category suffers from poor titling, which is where some of the above comment came from: and cultural purges. I have a bit of irritation on the category, as I found that the Saturday Night Massacre, (a dismissal of one person) was placed by the creator of the category into the category. By that standard, every action of dismissal is a candidate as a purge, which is not workable. Which brings my critical judgment on cavalier use of the category.
    -- Yellowdesk (talk) 19:54, 18 December 2007 (UTC)
Yes, I'm having a hard time seeing the use of this category -- I think it's too nuanced a concept for simple categorization. I'd encourage you to bring this up at WP:CFD if you think the category itself is a problem. Without the category, I think the rest of our discussion here is moot, so I think we can leave it at that. -Pete (talk) 21:06, 18 December 2007 (UTC)

A few remarks in response to what's been said here:

  • About the use of "and cultural" in the title: that was simply to ensure enough breadth to encompass, for example, the Chinese and Iranian Cultural Revolutions and the Hollywood Blacklist, which though politically motivated, targeted cultural figures. (Ideally it would say "Political and/or cultural purges", but that's contary to Wikipedia naming conventions.)
  • Including the Saturday Night Massacre was an error in judgement on my part -- it was the very last article that I added, and I should have known better than to make a decision on an debatable case like that when I was so bleary-eyed. :)
  • Lastly, as to this particular article: on the one hand, I continue to feel that inclusion is justified for the reasons I outlined above -- essentially the widespread use of the term "purge" across the spectrum of mainstream news media; on the other hand, given that it is to whatever degree a matter of contention, it's not something I feel compelled to insist upon.

Cgingold (talk) 22:34, 27 December 2007 (UTC)

Two points[edit]

1. The title of the article is Dismissal of U.S. attorneys controversy. Shouldn't this be unabbreviated to Dismissal of United States attorneys controversy?
2. The lead section calls it an unconcluded dispute. Isn't common practice to use the term "ongoing" instead of "unconcluded"?
AecisBrievenbus 15:00, 15 February 2008 (UTC)

  • 1. There is an existing redirect from that name, so the article can be found via that means.
  • 2. It's continuing, but rather quiescent. The connotations of ongoing imply a daily activity is occuring; at this point the controversy moves as quickly as a court case, meaning, hardly at all.
    -- Yellowdesk (talk) 18:03, 18 February 2008 (UTC)

A note from Arizona[edit]

In the LA Times:

http://www.latimes.com/news/nationworld/nation/la-na-renzi23feb23,0,2161875.story

Rick Renzi (R-Ariz.) was indicted. He had apparently been under investigation by Charlton - see the bottom of the article. Was Charlton fired because he had started investigating Renzi?

By rights, this and other related articles should come under a broader article on the politicization of the Department of Justice. That would be a monumental task, however. I suspect that this article serves as the proxy for the general article. But one of the problems this article faces is what to do with material that is related but not to the specific issue of the fired attorneys. Bdushaw (talk) 20:31, 22 February 2008 (UTC)

Don Siegelman to testify before the house[edit]

http://www.nytimes.com/2008/03/29/us/29alabama.html

Noises from the appellate court sound similar to the court's reactions to some of the other allegedly political prosecutions. This wikipedia article is focussed on the dismissed USA's, but there is the broader issue of the politicization of the Dept. of Justice - the USA's issue is a symptom of that. Bdushaw (talk) 16:40, 29 March 2008 (UTC)

This is the same rationale for including the Wecht trial information as well. It is also under review by congress in conjunction with the Siegelman case for being politically motivated. Jacbo2727 (talk) 21:09, 9 June 2008 (UTC)

  • This may deserve a brief mention on this U.S. attorneys dismissal article, but the deveopment of the topic "political influence in the Department of Justice" appears to be the separate article that you desire to write. -- Yellowdesk (talk) 14:26, 10 June 2008 (UTC)

Cyril H. Wecht[edit]

I've deleted this long-winded section again. The relation to fired attorneys, even with the broad scope of this article, is not obvious to me. The section was repeated verbatim at Cyril H. Wecht and also at Mary Beth Buchanan. If we're going to have a section on this topic I suggest (a) the discussion be reduced to a very modest/small paragraph (use a "See Also" to guide the reader to the greater discussions elsewhere, and (b) the modest paragraph show explicitly the relation of the topic to the fired attorneys/politicization of the department of justice issue. Bdushaw (talk) 21:42, 6 June 2008 (UTC)

If there is a relation of the Wecht case to Siegelman, o.k. - I don't object to a small section on Wecht. But we've tried very hard to keep this article to manageable size. The section that has been "proposed," say, is much too long and meandering. It is also mostly repeated elsewhere as noted above. So, IMO, if you want to add a section, o.k., but please keep it brief, point out that the Wecht case is related to the Siegelman issue, and show how. You don't have to repeat the material at Cyril H. Wecht and Mary Beth Buchanan, you may merely redirect the reader there. (Even the Seigelman section is a little long, if you ask me.) Bdushaw (talk) 19:31, 7 June 2008 (UTC)

We're not making any headway against the reverter, 75.205.XX.XXX; shall we file an incident report? In the mean time, I'll store my quote concerning Paulouse resignation here: Palouse resigned as U.S. Attorney on November 19, 2007 to work on legal policy issues at the Justice Department in Washington. [14] Bdushaw (talk) 04:56, 9 June 2008 (UTC) http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Talk:Dismissal_of_U.S._attorneys_controversy&action=edit&section=38 Editing Talk:Dismissal of U.S. attorneys controversy (section) - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia I've reported a 3 revert rule violation. Bdushaw (talk) 17:17, 9 June 2008 (UTC)

I've developed a short section on this subject, drawn from the lengthy, disputed addition. I think with that I will stand down from this discussion and let others take it from here...probably best that I recuse myself for the time being, under the circumstances. Bdushaw (talk) 20:12, 9 June 2008 (UTC)

Bdushaw's Cyril H. Wecht Summarization[edit]

Bdushaw's condensed section fails to capture the issues of the case and its relation to the US Attorney scandal. While I respect his or her view to keep the article concise, his/her summarization is not as clear as the one added by user 75.207.232.31 on June 9th at 12:40. Perhaps it would be better to adjust what Bdushaw has provided as a summarization to include the issues of the jury reporting that they felt the case was politically motivate after sitting through the proceedings.Jacbo2727 (talk) 21:05, 9 June 2008.

Additionally, we may have not had the issues over the past few weeks with 75.xxx.xxx.xx if Bdushaw had taken the lead to summarize the Wecht article opposed to deleting it. It is unfortunate that when 75.xxx.xxx.xx did summarize the article, Bdushaw requested the information be reverted and block the user. Jacbo2727 (talk) 21:05, 9 June 2008.

Your representation and argument for the history of the edits with the IP editor is unpersuasive, as the IP editor added enormous verbatim block of text from the Cyril Wecht article, The first instance was here and the IP editor re-instated the verbatim text several times more without coming to the talk page to discuss the reasons stated in the edit summaries when the verbatim text copy was removed. Instead, the IP editor re-added the text: here and here.
-- Yellowdesk (talk) 05:20, 10 June 2008 (UTC)
I speak from the point of view of bringing everyone up to speed on the history of this article and wikipedia practice. First, note that at the top of this talk page is the notice: "This is a controversial topic that may be under dispute. Please read this page and discuss substantial changes here before making them." This article has had massive discussion and considerable controversy, as one will note from the Archives that may be accessed at the top of this page; the IP editor stepped into that. The IP editor appeared to refuse to even bother with these Talk pages, in spite of my invitations to discuss the matter here. I was, alas, left with no other option than to seek an arbitration. (I was not the one who blocked; an administrator took an objective look at the situation and took remedial action. Those who edit wikipedia from anonymous IP addresses tend to garner a bit of skepticism generally; there are just too many anonymous trouble makers.) Lastly, one cannot paste in a huge, meandering, completely new section and expect others to take the lead to clean it up and condense it down to something manageable. I didn't really have time or want to do that, but I took the time to do so to try to alleviate the IP editor's concern as to the merit of the subject and in the interest of trying to reach a compromise. Note that it is perfectly reasonable to work on article sections either on your own home space or these Talk pages prior to uploading them to the article. The point above about the jury has merit, if a suitable reference can be found for that, so I am not opposed to a sentence to convey the notion that the case was politically motivated. I hope we can start anew constructively; welcome to wikipedia! Bdushaw (talk) 07:16, 10 June 2008 (UTC)

Once the article is opened for publishing, I will add the jury information which was sourced within the original submission.Jacbo2727 (talk) 8:58, 10 June 2008.

  • What jury information is needed besides the mistrial--an obvious indicator that the prosecution failed to make its case? -- Yellowdesk (talk) 14:27, 11 June 2008 (UTC)
  • Yellowdesk, thank you for stating the obvious. -- Jacob2727 (talk) 18:56, 12 June 2008 (UTC)

Yellowdesk, the jury information is key in relation to the issue of the case being a politically motivated prosecution by the DOJ. The judge bared the defense and prosecution from raising the claim in court, so the jury could not have known about the accusations. Even though the jury was in the dark on the issue, the jury members released a statement to the press they felt the case was purely politically motivated and such statements have caused congress to review the case in conjunction with the Siegelman case-- Jacob2727 (talk) 18:56, 12 June 2008 (UTC)

Also pertaining to wikipedia policy, it is a big no-no to delete or change material on Talk pages (in truth, one of my first mistakes when I started editing). Talk pages are unchanging archives of the discussion. Jacob2727 is a bit of a novice here, seems to me, so we are cutting him some slack; but a bit of caution is in order. We've established that Jacob2727 is indeed our IP editor 75.XXX.XXX.XXX whose edit practices recently led this page to be partially protected. That fact is potentially important as we proceed; the track record of an editor is an important consideration to Administrators and other editors. And pretty much nothing gets deleted once written anywhere on wikipedia, and it is fairly easy for anyone to find anything that's written; its best to assume one can't fool anyone... That said, the recent edits look fine to me, other than perhaps some minor copy edits, but we'll leave those for a rainy day. 209.91.49.190 (talk) 05:35, 13 June 2008 (UTC) (which is I, Bdushaw)

Cyril H. Wecht Minor edit[edit]

All, I would like to adjust the following point in the Wecht summarization to read as follows:

Buchanan was known for her high-profile prosecutions of prominent Democrats such as Sheriff Pete DeFazio, former mayor Tom Murphy, former mayor O'connor, a County Judge, Joseph Jaffe, and mayor Luke Ravenstahl.

There are news coverage in the local paper that reference both the Ravenstahl and O'connor investigations. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Jacob2727 (talkcontribs) 17:08, 13 June 2008 (UTC)

I've edited this section to copy edit, and restructure to simplify it. According to some of the references, some of the sentences were not quite accurate, ah hem. We strive for NPOV here - NPOV=Neutral Point of View; it is an essential aspect of wikipedia. It's fine to give links here on the talk pages to references such as those you describe above, indeed for the particular sentence above we are formally missing the required references. Bdushaw (talk) 07:06, 14 June 2008 (UTC)
Bdushaw, I like what you did with the restructuring of the passage. I adjusted it further for wording and to include a sentence you took out that would be of interest to those familiar with the federal court process. As for the NPOV, I do not see what you are insinuating. The passage currently is primarily your original summarization so if something is off, it may have been due to your actions. In the future, lets stay away from broad generalizations and focus on the specifics.
I included references to back up the information in the section. For the requested citation, I included references to the cases themselves and references to public statements about the cases being linked. Dick Thornburg's full congressional testimony last fall makes this link between these cases and the US Attorney in question as well. Jaco2727 (talk) 12:48, 14 June 2008 (UTC)
I also note that Thompson, Seigelman and Wecht sections are perhaps more related in their tone than the present organization of the larger section suggests. I toyed with combining these three sections as subsections of a section with a theme like "what other USA's did to avoid the axe" (or something like that). At the very least we might perhaps bring those three subsections together. Bdushaw (talk) 07:09, 14 June 2008 (UTC)
I agree that putting the two together in a subsection may make sense. currently, congress is asking for documents from the DOJ in both cases concurrently. Basically, congress is sending over one request that asks for information on both cases, so it is fair to view the reviews as being linked as you noted. With that said, it may make sense to keep the structure as is because the Siegelman case is obviously a higher profile one and may merit being separated as such.Jaco2727 (talk) 12:48, 14 June 2008 (UTC)

Bdushaw, I think when you summarized the expenses related to the charges, you misrepresented them slightly. It is my understanding that the defense claimed that the total expenses of the 84 counts was 1,778. After the 43 counts were dismissed, the defense revised this claim to a 1,600 amount. I'll attempt to find the newspaper reference to the amounts. It will take time since the numbers moved around during the proceedings of the case.Jaco2727 (talk) 12:48, 14 June 2008 (UTC)

Siegelman Update[edit]

Would it be beneficial to mention the congressional review of the case and the OPR investigation into the case that has been revealed? Jaco2727 (talk) 10:12, 15 June 2008 (UTC)

Yes, a couple of sentences update is useful. -- Yellowdesk (talk) 17:14, 16 June 2008 (UTC)

Grand Jury looks at Dismissal of USA's/Politicization of Hiring[edit]

In the NY Times today: http://www.nytimes.com/2008/06/17/washington/17attorneys.html?ref=washington It seems we might have to start thinking about the next phase of this saga, and how to approach the article organization for that. Bdushaw (talk) 10:15, 17 June 2008 (UTC)

-- Yellowdesk (talk) 16:03, 19 June 2008 (UTC)

Report on illegal hiring practices[edit]

New report just came out. Read about it here [15] and the report is here [16]. This information should be added. Remember (talk) 19:32, 24 June 2008 (UTC)

Alleged Selective Prosecutions: Siegelman and Wecht[edit]

It appears that in the minds of congressional investigators, there is a link between the Siegelman and Wecht cases. On the 26th of June, Congress subpoenaed all the records, correspondences, etc. in the Wecht and Siegelman case. The interesting point is that in the request, congress intertwined the two cases. Here is the link:

http://judiciary.house.gov/Media/PDFs/Conyers080627.pdf

Perhaps we should merged the two case discussions of Wecht and Siegelman under a heading of alleged selective prosecutions to be more in line with congress' viewpoint on the cases. Jacob2727 (talk) 6:53, 28 June 2008 (UTC)

Review of the converse possibility[edit]

If there are selective prosecutions, how many cases are there of "refusal to prosecute" based upon power, influence, political connections, cronyism, corruption and anarchy?

The L A Times reporter, Scott Glover detailed a story that the CA US Attorney, Tom O'Brien disbanded the Public Corruption Unit and threatened career prosecutors with retaliations if they dared to speak to the Press!

Laserhaas (talk) 05:07, 8 July 2008 (UTC)

  • All prosecutions are selective. Many times more potential cases exist than are prosecuted. Citations to reliable sources are difficult to obtain because of the confidential nature of all preparations for (potential) prosecutions. -- Yellowdesk (talk) 11:25, 8 July 2008 (UTC)

David Iglesias speaks out; he has a new book out[edit]

On Comedy Central (perhaps the most reliable reference we have...): http://rawstory.com/news08/2008/06/17/fired-us-attorney-i-was-working-for-the-sith-lords/ It is interesting to hear him comment on the various aspects of the mess. We on Wikipedia go through the references and try to summarized as best and NPOV as we can; I am always a little nervous that we get it right. Mr. Iglesias nicely reaffirms our take on the situation, it seems to me. He uses "unprecedented" to describe the firings, by the way. Bdushaw (talk) 04:12, 12 July 2008 (UTC)

New Report on illegal hiring practices[edit]

Article on report detailing illegal hiring practices Remember (talk) 18:48, 28 July 2008 (UTC)

There is also this related article today that alleges Chiara was dismissed over a rumor of homosexuality. Goodling was also applying a sexual litmus test. (and how do we discuss that in the article, if at all?) Schmitt, Richard B. (July 29, 2008). "Sexuality bias seen at Justice Department". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2008-06-29.  Chiara's dismissal was always a bit of a mystery to me - we never heard much about her and why she was fired. Bdushaw (talk) 20:32, 29 July 2008 (UTC)


ITS A SCANDAL NOT A CONTROVERSY....ALSO WHY IS THE ARTICLE SO HYPOCRITICAL? —Preceding unsigned comment added by 24.111.234.4 (talk) 05:21, 1 August 2008 (UTC)

THE report even says that the justice department.... the group which is trusted to uphold the law....violated it!!!! THATS A SCANDAL. —Preceding unsigned comment added by 24.111.234.4 (talk) 05:24, 1 August 2008 (UTC)

  • Perhaps you could explain in detail what exactly is hypocritical. -- Yellowdesk (talk) 14:48, 2 August 2008 (UTC)

A Special Prosecutor[edit]

Amidst all the exciting news today, a special prosecutor:

Lichtblau, Eric; Sharon Otterman (September 29, 2008). "Special Prosecutor Named in Attorney Firings Case.". New York Times. Retrieved 2008-09-29. 

I believe we are justified in declaring the firings as politically motivated - our lead may be due for an overhaul.Bdushaw (talk) 22:09, 29 September 2008 (UTC)

IG Report, special prosecuter et al[edit]

I just tried to make improvements to this article, adding in appointment of special prosecutor, findings of DOJ report, structuring the top so that it has a real lead (instead of hundreds of words) by pushing most of that info below the table of contents (which is most attractive, most appropriate as per guidelines, and definitely most useful to readers) and started sections on the DOJ findings on this matter and the IG report. I also started to kill adjectives and add neutral language whenever i came across stuff. All were instantly reverted to the vastly inferior existing version. There are other huge problems with this article -- for instance all of the nonsesnes at the bottom about "other bush controversies;" arguably you could have links to the relevant pages on those, but large summaries of 6 or so unrelated cases should just be automaticall deleted. The ultimate no brainer. Also, the structure, with weird digressions about case law relating to the replacement of US attorneys in general before getting into the specifics of the matter at hand, is poor. The specific, relevant stuff should be higher than the general, background stuff. At any rate, take a look at my last revision. I really can't believe an objective person won't recognize those for the improvements they are.

And why "revert all" when at the very lease i am adding in important and useful information? They're just hitting the undo button, without making any effort to improve the article themselves.Bali ultimate (talk) 19:19, 9 October 2008 (UTC)

  • Although I was not involved in reverting your edits, I can say it's a good idea (if an editor desires to have his or her edits last long) to discuss proposed edits on the talk page, when making major changes to a long article about a complicated topic. I also note that you cite as a rationale for many of your edits the Wikipedia Essay Wikipedia:Relevance emerges. It has no weight as a policy document. It is a persuasive essay, yet no article is beholden to its admirable views.
    It's true this article has been quiescent for some time, and does need attention, and has sufferred accretions from some editors who insist on defending their contributions. Welcome to the Dismissal of U.S. attorneys controversy.
    -- Yellowdesk (talk) 23:55, 9 October 2008 (UTC)

Yellowdesk: Thanks for taking the time to respond. While i'm new to taking wikipedia edits seriously, i'm not new. But one of my weaknesses is lack of knowledge on policy. I'm almost certain that there is a policy that calls for stripping our irrelevant information ("kitchen sink" stuff i call it.) In this instance we have an article that's about a controversy over alleged abuse of power for political reasons by the Bush administration in the Justice Department. Someone then includes over 1,000 words about other alleged abuses of power by the Bush Administration. While all of this kitchen sink stuff might belong in an article titled "A review of alleged abuses of power by the bush administration" it seems entirely innapropriate to include in an article about the specifics of the firing of 9 federal prosecutors. Do you know what the specific guideline on irrelevant information in an article might be? I'll bet one unit of whatever currency didn't lose value today that such a guideline exists. Best and thanks.Bali ultimate (talk) 01:33, 10 October 2008 (UTC)

While I agree the article was getting overdue for an overhaul, I disagree with the "kitchen sink" characterization of the material. This article has become a proxy for the politicization of the DoJ - the issues go far beyond the original "firing" scandal. I've mentioned this point a few times - Should we have a separate new, broad article in Wikipedia on the Bush Administration's politicization of the DoJ, of which the fired attorneys are just one component? I suspect we should; I'm not willing to start it. The "abuse of power by the Bush Administration" section you refer to is actually in support of the notion that the U.S. Attorneys had been politicized - the section gave examples of USA's who kept their jobs by (allegedly...) prosecuting prominent Democrats, etc. The topics were not general "abuse of power," but examples of "politicization of the USAs of the Department of Justice". Entirely relevant to this article. So my preference is to retain much of that material in the article (but it does require a bit of reorganization/condensing IMO).
It would be a large task to reorganize the whole politicization of the Department of Justice topic - to develop a coherent set of Wikipedia articles on the subject. That this article is, not by design but by default, a proxy for the whole issue has been a recurring source of confusion for the article organization and content (IMO). Bdushaw (talk) 19:07, 25 October 2008 (UTC)
I've been looking over the article again, and I am not happy - the article organization has no organization. I'd like to reorganize. There is a section of the article that summarizes the main issues which should be near the top. The chronological sections should be kept together. The discussion of the replacement history of USA's might go to the bottom above "Law references" (this is a very important section of the article). I propose expanding the summary of issues with a new subsection with a title something like "Allegations of politically-motivated prosecutions by USAs", and restoring but condensing the section that has been decimated. I was about to dive in and do that, but I should practice what we preach...post the plan for discussion first, check. Right now the article is starting to have that reverse chronology approach that newspaper articles have (i.e., most important points (resignations/fallout) up at the top) - I suspect we don't want that approach, since this is an encyclopedia, not a newspaper, article, but what do you think? Bdushaw (talk) 20:33, 9 November 2008 (UTC)
I don't really follow what you're proposing. Strongly opposed to information about allegations of the bush administration doing this or that that had nothing to do with this specific case. Undue weight, vilation of synth, etc... am agnostic on whether there should be another article, but such material does not belong here. You're proposing a reorganization without saying exactly what it is-- and by the way, for articles on "issues" and "controversies" the important info should be summarized at or near the top. No, some discussion of general legal background does not belong above what actually happened. This is not an article on "the legal background surrounding presidential authority over US attorneys" but about a specific subject, involving specific people. I suspect its undue weight to have more than a few sentences on that legal stuff, but don't really care if it remains. Again, if your proposed section on "allegations of politically-motivated tktkt" goes beyond these nine attorneys, you're turning this article into a coatrack for something or other.Bali ultimate (talk) 20:09, 10 November 2008 (UTC)
The point of view you take (the article should be specifically limited to the fired nine) has some merit. As I mentioned above, this article has become the proxy (by default, not design) for the entire DoJ mess. The article also has a long, long history, with lots of discussion on these Talk pages on many aspects of the article. Your view is (and I am not saying its wrong) inconsistent with the discussions we've had. For example, we have had many, many attempts to remove the "unprecedented" label associated with these firings, attempts to dismiss this whole thing as just a big political show. The section on the legal background to firing/hiring practices is thus an important element of this article. Similarly, the activities of some of the other USA's has been wrapped up into this same controversy (what did others do to avoid being terminated, to be crass about it) - congressional investigations of the fired attorneys scandal are also investigating these activities. To repeat, it is not "what the Bush administration did", but what USA's did. In short, I am opposed to gutting the article down to specific discussions of just the fired nine attorneys, if the supporting material to this scandal is just to be deleted. Bdushaw (talk) 00:30, 13 November 2008 (UTC)
Article looks ok to me as is. I don't care if the word unprecedented is used or not (in my opinion it probably should be but not worth fighting over), but that strikes me as a different kind of semantic dispute anyway. My concern here is what belongs in an encyclopedia article. One might have an article called "Alleged abuses of power by the bush admin" and this would seem to be a logical subset of that. But "alleged abuses of power by the bush admin" is clearly not a subset of this article. One is categorical ("alleged abuses tktk") and one is not ("Dismissal of tktktk"). At any rate, i'll re-read the article before commenting further. Regards.Bali ultimate (talk) 00:37, 13 November 2008 (UTC)
Bdu: Just reading over your past couple of thoughtful comments. In your first response to the edits i made, you say there should probably be a broader article on the problems at DOJ in the past 8 years. I agree with you though, like you, I probably won't start it (in my case not willing to fight the inevitable battles that will ensue, not zen enough to make the effort to write one and then not care). But my (and perhaps your) laziness on this issue doesn't seem a justification for making an article a proxy for something not yet created. I think that's my argument (and, perhaps, our disagreement) in a nutshell.Bali ultimate (talk) 06:59, 15 November 2008 (UTC)
  • Just in case someone gets interested in rewriting a lot of the article, there is a chronological resource in the Dismissal_of_U.S._attorneys_controversy timeline, which was started in recognition of the challenge of having a thematic article in the midst of an ongoing event. It too has been inadequately updated since Spring 2008.
    -- Yellowdesk (talk) 07:55, 15 November 2008 (UTC)

Article reorganization[edit]

Sparked by the recent reports on Schlozman, I've carried out my earlier threat to reorganize the article. See how you like it; I won't put up too much of a fight over changes, but the organization I've implemented makes the most sense to me. The top section - Issues in brief - was meant to give the reader a quick overview of all the issues and a bit of a roadmap. It makes no sense for it to appear later on down the article. I consider the sections:

4 Replacement of the U.S. Attorneys
5 Reactions and congressional investigation
     5.1 January 2007: Initial reaction
     5.2 February 2007: The controversy blossoms
     5.3 March 2007: Transition to scandal
          o 5.3.1 Battle resignation
          o 5.3.2 Sampson resignation
          o 5.3.3 Calls for Gonzales resignation
          o 5.3.4 Executive Privilege claims
                + 5.3.4.1 Taylor testimony
                + 5.3.4.2 Contempt of Congress charges
          o 5.3.5 Goodling resignation
6 Subpoenas and lost emails
7 Congressional hearings 
8 Status of interim U.S. Attorneys, through June 2007

to be chronologically linked, hence they should not, IMO, be broken up. It was the never ending expansion of these sections that prompted the creation of the associated timeline article.


It occurred to me that the Patriot Act reauthorization might be ported to a new article altogether, along the lines of our discussion about creating a set of articles all related to the DoJ mess. This section was originally to justify the "unprecedented" statement, but seems to me there are sufficient references now for that. Just a thought. Bdushaw (talk) 12:27, 16 January 2009 (UTC)

Good job. This article still needs a lot of clean up (and some follow-up since it sort of stops its coverage in 2007 and there has been some developments). I added the section on the Gonzales resignation. Let me know what you think. Remember (talk) 13:49, 16 January 2009 (UTC)
Congratulations on rendering this even less readable and more obtuse than before. I leave the field to you, simply don't care enough. Good luck.Bali ultimate (talk) 13:45, 17 January 2009 (UTC)
With these stinging words in mind, I've edited some of the lead paragraphs to try to make the introduction less obtuse. While I agree that the article needs some cleaning up/sharpening, I doubt my rearranging of sections make it more obtuse! This article does need a bit of work to bring it into better focus. I'm not sure we agree yet on how to do that; perhaps these edits will be helpful in developing a plan. I am seriously thinking of spawning off the last two sections on the Patriot Act and Law References to its own article. Such an article could be linked to U.S. Attorneys, Patriot Act, and this article. Bdushaw (talk) 09:36, 18 January 2009 (UTC)

Introductory paragraph - Issues in brief[edit]

I've developed this introductory paragraph a bit more, and also brought it up to date (the Bush White House is past tense now). This paragraph seems to me to be rather important - setting the tone for the article and touching upon some, well, touchy subjects. I'm not altogether sure that I got it right, or that I got NPOV right either - I think so, but... So this is to open a review and discussion of this paragraph, and also, perhaps, the selection of "Main Issues" that we have. Are we missing anything? Could they be reorganized? etc. Bdushaw (talk) 05:32, 21 January 2009 (UTC)

This article is huge, cant we sumerize a bit?[edit]

This article is gigantic and is only one of a series of articles related to this event, is there any way to get this down to the basic facts and either rely on one of the many sub articles on this subject or its sources. Bonewah (talk) 15:57, 4 March 2009 (UTC)

We have been trying to head in the direction you suggest. But it is a huge task. Ideally, for someone with a whole lot of time on their hands, a systemic review of all of these related articles should be made, followed by a complete, consistent reorganization of them all around one central article such as "Politicization of the Bush Administration Department of Justice." At the moment this article serves by default as the central article. You are to consider that almost by definition the subject is huge and sprawling, with the deliberate, extensive obfuscation strategy of the Bush Administration not helping things much. I have toyed with the idea of splitting of the last section concerning the Patriot Act into its own article. If you want to work on this, please proceed with caution. Much of the content, organization, etc. is the product of quite a few discussions/battles - be sure you have all the elements of the article in mind and why they are there before you start to reorganize (its easy to get into trouble...). If you want to get your feet wet editing this subject, you might first try the Bradley Schlozman article, which needs some help. Bdushaw (talk) 03:09, 5 March 2009 (UTC)

Confusing title[edit]

It is probably a bit late for this, but wouldn't "Controversy over the dismissal of U.S. attorneys" be a less confusing title? The current title is ambiguous as to whether it is the attorneys or the controversy that is being dismissed. Grover cleveland (talk) 15:17, 18 March 2009 (UTC)

The first three sentences of the article clearly indicate the intent of the meaning. -- Yellowdesk (talk) 02:44, 5 May 2009 (UTC)
Sure, but the whole point of the title is to convey the meaning independently. Grover cleveland (talk) 04:06, 5 May 2009 (UTC)
  • Actually, the Bush administration via Gonzales and others attempted to dismiss congressional concerns and inquiries, and that non-responsiveness to Congressional subpoenas by parties to the controversy continues. This ambiguity is also visible in the lede to the article. It is also a story about the successes and failures of that administrative dismissivenes. -- Yellowdesk (talk) 13:08, 6 May 2009 (UTC)

POV in Lead of this Article Violates Wikipedia Policy[edit]

The lead in this article is a highly charged POV that is not accurate. Nor the is the citation valid. Dismissal of U.S. attorneys is routine with each new administration. The lead should make that perfectly clear. It was the Democratic senators who objected, and in all, only 7 attorneys were dismissed. Bush had appointed every one of them and had the legal right to dimiss them with or without cause. They all serve at the pleasure of the president. It is NOT unprecedented. It is tradition. The Democrats charged it was because these particular attorneys would not investigate ACORN voter fraud. But evidence from valid sources shows otherwise. David Iglesias being a prime example.Malke 2010 (talk) 00:33, 12 August 2009 (UTC)

I noticed that some of your recent edits were to direct quotations from cited articles. Since they're no longer direct quotations, should the quotation marks be removed? --Arteitle (talk) 03:17, 12 August 2009 (UTC)
While dismissal is routine at the start of administration, it is usually not common during the middle of an administration. So this type of dismissal is not a tradition. In addition, we already have a section regarding the history of dismissing your own appointed US Attorneys [17]. Also, there were various allegations why each attorney was fired and many of them did not deal with ACORN investigations. We don't know why the Bush administration fired these attorneys because they claim it was all for performance based reasons when their evaluations showed that the attorneys did not have poor performance records. Please discuss further similar revisions on this talk page before making changes. Remember (talk) 13:38, 12 August 2009 (UTC)

Sorry it's taken so long to get back to you. Thanks for your comments on my edit. I think the whole thing is just politics because the President has every right to dismiss any U.S. attorney at any time for any reason since they all serve at the pleasure of the president. There is no guarantee that they will serve a full term, and all of the attorneys in question had been appointed in 2001. I think the problem with the Bush administration is two-fold. I think, and I don't have citations for this opinion mind you, that at the start of the second administration, they had complaints from various partisan quarters, but put the matter on the back burner. Then when the complaints heated up, and perhaps seeing an opportunity to put in more favorable people, they just went ahead and dismissed en masse. I think they had complaints from monetary donors to the party, frankly, because I think money talks on both sides of the aisle. Then, of course, the senators from the various states weighed in, and the whole thing was off to the races. I do think the lead should reflect that the president does have that right to dimiss at any time for any reason, and in fact, legally, the president doesn't have to give a reason. As per the positive evaluations, that doesn't mean anything. What president is going to say, "Hey, the guy I picked is a turkey?" Plus, these are already accomplished individuals, why muck up their resumes? Nobody does that, in part, I think, because it would have made Bush look dumber than his choices. I think the press went nuts and turned it into a 'scandal de jour,' (spelling?), but I do think the lead should reflect the number dismissed right off the bat, because honestly that's the only reason I looked it up, and I found the number from another source. ThanksMalke 2010 (talk) 06:42, 17 August 2009 (UTC)

I agree with many of your points and disagree with some views. But I would totally agree that the lede should state clearly how many attorneys had been dismissed and the Bush administration defense that U.S. attorneys serve at the pleasure of the president and that he can dismiss them for almost any reason (as I recall there is some debate whether the president can dismiss attorneys to stop investigations into illegal behavior). Hope that clears things up. Thanks for discussing on the talk page. I am sure we can come up with a lede that accomplishes these points. Remember (talk) 13:13, 17 August 2009 (UTC)
Thanks for the comments. Yes, lets pull something together that satisfies all of the above. I'll write something up later today and post it on this talk page.Malke 2010 (talk) 13:25, 17 August 2009 (UTC)

I think the opening sentence should say, "the dismissal of seven U.S. Attorneys. . ." because that's what people would first want to know, how many? Also, I'd like to see comparison with other administrations. Reagan, Bush, Clinton all bounced them at each term. And the line about the other two attorneys dismissed at the same time, are they also part of the this dismissed group? If so, then it's nine attorneys, but when I Google it, it usually comes up as seven. Also, the DOJ report does question the U.S. Attorney's decisions to prosecute, specifically David Iglesias. So the line about prosecution decisions should be clarified to identify the attorneys as the subject of that line. Because as soon as Iglesias was out the door, his replacement, Larry Gomez handed down a 26 count felony indictment on Manny Aragon who then plead guilty to 3 felony counts of mail fraud and conspiracy. So coming up with a 26 count indictment isn't something you do on the fly. The evidence had to be there all along. So I can see why Iglesias got fired. Manny Aragon was a NM state senator (local politics rule) and a Democrat, so politics played a part on Iglesias' side of the equation. And that could be added in the section that mentions that it isn't clear why the attorneys were all fired. There are 93 U.S. attorneys in total, so bouncing 7 of them hardly seems excessive or unusual. It probably happens all the time after mid-term elections when a new party is in and wants to return a political favor by appointing a donors son, etc. There will always be guys who aren't performing. And possibly the Bush administration fed the scandal themselves to distract from some other thing they didn't want reporters paying attention to. Might be interesting to see what was going on in Iraq or at Gitmo on that day.Malke 2010 (talk) 23:13, 17 August 2009 (UTC)

I am a bit confused. The first sentence of the article reads "The dismissal of U.S. Attorneys controversy is a United States political scandal initiated by the unprecedented[1] midterm dismissal of seven United States Attorneys on December 7, 2006 by the George W. Bush administration's Department of Justice." What do you want it to read?
It could start off, The dismissal of seven U.S. Attorneys. . ." so the number is right up front.Malke 2010 (talk) 23:26, 17 August 2009 (UTC)
So you want it to read: "The dismissal of seven U.S. Attorneys controversy is a United States political scandal initiated by the unprecedented[1] midterm dismissal of United States Attorneys on December 7, 2006 by the George W. Bush administration's Department of Justice." that doesn't really make sense because the name of the article isn't "The dismissal of seven U.S. Attorneys" it is "The dismissal of U.S. Attorneys controversy." Remember (talk) 23:31, 17 August 2009 (UTC)
Well, the article title could include it as well. It's a specific controversy. The big question is how many? And also, how many dismissed out of how many total. It's confusing not to be specific because the first thing people want to know is why is the scope of this so large? And also, it was Bush's midterm. It wasn't a midterm for the attorneys per se since they had all been appointed in 2001. They usually only get one term, so bouncing them in the middle of their second term doesn't seem so unusual. So using the term unprecedented seems a bit over the top there. It could be construed as unusual, but other presidents have dismissed attorneys at will. Once they get four years, they're fair game.Malke 2010 (talk) 23:53, 17 August 2009 (UTC)
So are you now suggesting that the title be revised to be "The dismissal of seven U.S. Attorneys controversy"? I would disagree with that change. Additionally, the number of attorneys dismissed is stated in the first sentence so I don't see why it needs to be moved up within the sentence. Do you have any other specific proposals? Remember (talk) 00:55, 18 August 2009 (UTC)
Getting off topic, the article already discusses why this is considered a unique situation so I am a bit confused why you keep talking about how this doesn't seem so unusual or unprecedented. Additionally the term unprecedented is specifically supported with a citation so it doesn't seem over the top to use that term to me. As the article states: "Kyle Sampson, Chief of Staff at the Department of Justice, noted in a January 9, 2006, e-mail to Harriet Miers: 'In recent memory, during the Reagan and Clinton Administrations, Presidents Reagan and Clinton did not seek to remove and replace U.S. Attorneys they had appointed, but instead permitted such U.S. Attorneys to serve indefinitely under the holdover provision" (underlining original).[170] There is no precedent for a President to dismiss several U.S attorneys at one time while in the middle period of the presidential term in office.[171][172]" Remember (talk) 01:01, 18 August 2009 (UTC)
Regarding the "unprecedented" discussion, this Talk page has been over and over that issue time and time again. See the links to the archives of this Talk page at the top of the page. There are countless references supporting "unprecedented" and I believe the article goes over that issue very carefully as a result of the extensive discussion here. While the DOJ is formally within the Executive branch, by very long tradition there have been firewalls between the DOJ and the White House to avoid the appearance of political interference in the pursuit of justice. Fundamentally, this controversy arose because that firewall was breached in many ways. The firings, established by the DOJ Inspector General to have been politically motivated, and subsequent appointees injected considerable politics (or at the very least, appearance of politics) into the DOJ. This proved to be quite damaging to the integrity of the DOJ and the some of the cases it pursues. This is not POV - there were plenty of Republican senators who were outraged over this affair. Morale at the DOJ in the middle of all this was very low, but there is no evidence that any of the 100 or so U.S. Attorneys viewed the affair as an unjust political witch hunt. Bdushaw (talk) 22:26, 20

August 2009 (UTC)

It's much ado about nothing. Unprecedented to use politics to fire political appointees? Hardly. Seven guys out of 100. That's nothing. When Clinton came into office in '93 he fired them all on Jan 20th and told them to get out of the office that day. No notice, nothing, just clear out your desks today. The media later tried to make something out of that, but it ended up going nowhere. They attorneys are all appointed by the president and they can get bounced at any time. There will always be guys who don't get the job done. David Iglesias is the biggest, loudest example. He was downright dangerous for allowing Manny Aragon to get away with bribery and mail fraud. They are all appointed for political reasons so bouncing them for political reasons hardly seems a scandal. People just don't like Bush. Who can blame them? So he gets treated more harshly. And notice Obama didn't rehire Iglesias as a U.S. Attorney. That tells you something right there. The guy is now a reserve attorney in the JAG corps, where if he doesn't do his job, he goes to jail. Obama's not dumb. He doesn't want Iglesias stinking up the place.Malke 2010 (talk) 14:05, 21 August 2009 (UTC)

  • To Malke 2010 , you are invited to specifically explain what policy of Wikipedia is violated, which you have so far failed to do.
    • Furthermore, if it is a topic of so much "nothing", why did so many officials appear before Congressional hearings, and why did at least one senator indicate directly to the then Attorney General that he had no credibility and should resign, in response to the AG's claim that the standard of evaluation of his work should be something like "we did no criminal activities" as distinct from "highest standards of ethics"
    • Why was the US Attorneys division, with 93 U.S. attorney positions, did the division at the close of the Bush administration have only 54 USAs in office that were Senate-confirmed Bush appointees, with the astonishingly high number of 39 positions held by either career assistant USAs, performing as acting USAs, or interim appointees appointed by district federal judges or by the by the Bush administration (not confirmed by the Senate)?
    • Why did the AG and eight other senior officials resign, another variety of unprecedented history at the DOJ?
    • Why was it necessary for the next AG to see to completion several Inspector General reports on the actions described in the article?
      -- Yellowdesk (talk) 05:00, 28 August 2009 (UTC)

What was more significant the Legality of the firings or the Political motivations?[edit]

I'm curious mainly, I've always felt that while the firings were legal they were improper and politically motivated. Those terms show up quite frequently in the sources about this controversy. Is the legality of the situation more significant though? RTRimmel (talk) 00:21, 22 July 2010 (UTC)

  • A matter of judgment the reader may make based on the presented information. -- Yellowdesk (talk) 01:18, 20 August 2010 (UTC)