McClatchy Newspapers breaks important new ground in the U.S. attorneys scandal by confirming that the roster of U.S. attorneys involved is still larger than previously suspected.
The Justice Department last year considered firing two U.S. attorneys in Florida and Colorado, states where allegations of voter fraud and countercharges of voter intimidation have flown in recent years, congressional investigators have learned. That brings to nine the number of battleground election states where the Bush administration set out to replace some of the nation’s top prosecutors. In at least seven states, it now appears, U.S. attorneys were fired or considered for firing as Republicans in those states urged investigations or prosecutions of alleged Democratic voter fraud.
The two prosecutors who were targeted were Gregory Miller, the U.S. attorney for the northern district of Florida in Tallahassee, and Bill Leone, the former acting U.S. attorney for Colorado. Miller appeared on multiple target lists for possible firing from early 2005 through last November, according to a senior congressional aide familiar with Justice Department documents. Miller kept his job.
The story also confirms that the U.S. Attorney in Minneapolis was fired because he refused to support a Justice Department effort to seek to purge voter rolls of presumptively Democratic voters.
This brings the number of U.S. attorney districts involved in the scandal to 15: twice as many as previously reported. And it helps explain why Alberto Gonzales repeatedly refused to answer questions about the number of U.S. attorneys involved in the purge.