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Former U.S. Attorneys Describe Disgust Over Gonzales, Predict Mass Exodus from DOJ

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Alberto Gonzales isn’t leaving. But evidently many of his best career staff are planning to do exactly that if he hangs around. Speaking at a conference at Seattle University Law School, former U.S. attorneys John McKay, David Iglesias, and Paul Charlton offered a number of further insights into the rapid degeneration of the Department of Justice following the arrival of Alberto Gonzales and Paul J. McNulty. The three warned that the current controversy was severely damaging to morale at the Department of Justice. According to a report in the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, they anticipated a mass exodus of the best professionals working there.

the appearance of impropriety has wasted the credibility of the Justice Department, and they suggested new leadership would be needed to restore it. Iglesias said he has spoken with many U.S. attorneys and assistant U.S. attorneys around the country. “To a person, they’re sickened by this. Some are actively looking for work,” he said. “Morale is terrible across the country.”

McKay told the audience, which included law students, lawyers and members of the public, that he hopes the scandal does not only lead to the “corruption of ideals.” “I hope there are some lessons about integrity and the willingness to pay a price,” he said.

The Seattle Times also reports that the three focused on Alberto Gonzales’s role in the politicization of the Department.

McKay said he first had concerns about politics entering the Justice Department in early 2005, when Gonzales addressed all of the country’s U.S. attorneys in Scottsdale, Ariz. “His first speech to us was a ‘you work for the White House’ speech,” McKay recalled. “‘I work for the White House, you work for the White House.’ ” McKay said he thought at the time, “He couldn’t have meant that speech,” given the traditional independence of U.S. attorneys. “It turns out he did.”

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