One case that has become the exemplum for the entire scandal is that of the US Attorney for the state of New Mexico. It appears that, at some point during the week before the November midterms, he was contacted by two lawmakers trying to get him to speed up an indictment of a state Democrat on corruption charges. It now appears that those two lawmakers were Rep. Heather Wilson (who, you may remember, just barely survived her re-election by 875 votes out of nearly 211,000), and Senator Pete Domenici. As if it even needs to be mentioned anymore, they're both Republicans.
This weekend, both the White House and Sen. Domenici have gone into full damage control mode, as this scandal could get pretty big. And here's where I'd like to put in my 2 cents that, so far, no one else seems to have noticed. The White House/Domenici tactic from here is to paint the attorney as someone who's performance necessitated his ouster, rather than his partisanship. It also has nothing to do with filling posts with cronies or deepening the rather drained and wanting GOP bench.
We've talked a lot about "dog whistle politics" and GOP racist code in this wee corner of the blogosphere, and I feel like I'm starting to get a feel for it, and am learning where to look for it and when to expect it. Domenici, suddenly mired in bad press and staring down the barrel of his own re-election in '08, needs someone, to give him a break and come to his aid: GOP voters, those who really understand him and what New Mexico's problems are and why this attorney needed to go.
Everyone feel primed and ready?
From Sen. Domenici's statement:
During the course of the last six years, that already heavy caseload in our state has been swamped by unresolved new federal cases, especially in the areas of immigration and illegal drugs. I have asked, and my staff has asked, on many occasions whether the federal prosecutors and federal judiciary within our state had enough resources. I have been repeatedly told that we needed more resources. As a result I have introduced a variety of legislative measures, including new courthouse construction monies, to help alleviate the situation.
My conversations with [the US Attorney] over the years have been almost exclusively about this resource problem and complaints by constituents. He consistently told me that he needed more help, as have many other New Mexicans within the legal community.
My frustration with the U.S. Attorney’s office mounted as we tried to get more resources for it, but public accounts indicated an inability within the office to move more quickly on cases.[emphasis mine]
Why was the highlighted snippet so important to add? What bearing does it have on his larger point? Ahh, more important to the question (remember your audience) is, what kind of US Attorney would be neglectful of immigration and drugs cases in New Mexico and would be constantly asking for more government aid and more American dollars to do a job that, one would assume, other US Attorneys have done without extra it?
Meet United States Attorney David Iglesias.