GOP Lawmaker Told of Plan to Fire U.S. Attorney
Saturday, April 28, 2007
The White House told a Republican member of Congress last summer about its plans to fire a U.S. attorney in Arkansas and replace him with a former aide to presidential adviser Karl Rove, but it did not tell Democratic lawmakers, according to a new Justice Department e-mail released yesterday.
The White House called Rep. John Boozman (R-Ark.) "and pretty much told him what they are doing with this appointment and how they are going about it," according to a July 6 e-mail from Bud Cummins, then the U.S. attorney in Little Rock.
"There has been some subsequent talk among other members of the delegation about it and some of them may be chapped about how it was handled," Cummins wrote in the message to a senior Justice official.
The e-mail is part of another set of documents turned over to Congress yesterday concerning the firing of Cummins and seven other U.S. attorneys. The dismissals have sparked an uproar in Congress, in part because of the Justice Department's shifting explanations about the reasons behind them.
The message indicates that Bush administration officials told Boozman about their plans to fire Cummins at the same time that Sen. Mark Pryor (D-Ark.) and other Democrats say they were being stonewalled.
Pryor has accused Attorney General Alberto R. Gonzales and other Justice officials of lying to him about the firing of Cummins, who was replaced by Tim Griffin, a former Rove aide and an opposition researcher at the Republican National Committee.
Boozman said that when he spoke with Justice officials last summer, they told him Griffin would be subject to Senate confirmation. However, Gonzales appointed Griffin as interim U.S. attorney, using authority that has since been repealed by Congress.
Boozman also said he objected to Cummins's removal because the prosecutor was popular in the legal and political communities.
Staff writer Amy Goldstein and washingtonpost.com staff writer Paul Kane contributed to this report.