New Info on the Ninth Purged U.S. Attorney as Gonzales Goes Before Congress

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I wrote yesterday that there is speculation on the blogosphere that the eight purged U.S. Attorneys were actually nine purged U.S. Attorneys. Today, the WaPo has all the major papers have confirmed it.

The Post runs down Todd Graves, former U.S. Attorney from Missouri and the center of yesterday’s speculation, and gets him on the record. He says that one of his bosses at the Dep’t of Justice made it clear in January 2006 that the DOJ wanted a change of leadership at Graves’ office to “give another person a chance.” According to Graves, the conversation “made clear to me the fact I was getting a push… I felt like I was no longer welcome in the department.”

The emergence of Graves is significant because it means the DOJ was forcing U.S. Attorneys out of their offices months earlier than previously suspected, and because it contradicts Attorney General Alberto Gonzales’ testimony that the scandal was limited to the eight Attorneys already well-covered in the media. And the “give another person a chance” rational is exactly the same as the one given to other purged Attorneys.

As for the developing notion that voting rights are at the center of this storm, check out this paragraph:

Graves acknowledged that he had twice during the past few years clashed with Justice’s civil rights division over cases, including a federal lawsuit involving Missouri’s voter rolls that Graves said a Washington Justice official signed off on after he refused to do so. That official, Bradley J. Schlozman, was appointed as interim U.S. attorney to succeed Graves, remaining for a year until the Senate this spring confirmed John Wood for the job. Wood was a counselor to the deputy attorney general and is a son of [Republican Missouri Senator Kit] Bond’s first cousin, although the senator’s spokeswoman, Shana Marchio, said Bond did not recommend him for the job.

Alberto Gonzales is testifying before the House Judiciary Committee right now, where he will face questions about this topic and about the allegations of a stunning lack of diversity in the DOJ’s civil rights division.

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THE TRUTH...

is the first thing despots go after. An unwavering commitment to it is probably what draws you to Mother Jones' journalism. And as we're seeing in the US and the world around, authoritarians seek to poison the discourse and the way we relate to each other because they can't stand people coming together around a shared sense of the truth—it's a huge threat to them.

Which is also a pretty great way to describe Mother Jones' mission: People coming together around the truth to hold power accountable.

And right now, we need to raise about $400,000 from our online readers over the next two months to hit our annual goal and make good on that mission. Read more about the information war we find ourselves in and how people-powered, independent reporting can and must rise to the challenge—and please support our team's truth-telling journalism with a donation if you can right now.

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