[JURIST] White House [official website] and US Justice Department officials have confirmed that seven US federal prosecutors were fired because they had not adequately carried out President George W. Bush's policies on immigration and firearms issues, according to a report in the Washington Post Saturday. The seven US Attorneys [DOJ backgrounder], who had been probing corruption among Republicans, subsequently received phone calls on December 7 saying that they were being fired, without explanation. Administration officials said Friday the seven were fired partly because members of Congress complained about their performances last fall. Sen. Pete V. Domenici [official website] (R-N.M.) specifically raised concerns about the performance of then-U.S. Attorney David C. Iglesias of New Mexico.
The firings have sparked arguments about the power of the US Attorney General to indefinitely appoint replacement prosecutors, and also allegations that the firings were politically charged. Earlier this week Iglesias told reporters that federal lawmakers pressured him [JURIST report] to speed up indictments of local Democrats in time for the November elections. In testimony [JURIST report] before the Senate Judiciary Committee last month, Deputy Attorney General Paul McNulty [official profile] denied that the removal of the attorneys was motivated by political considerations. The Washington Post has more.