McClatchy still running that


McClatchy still running that ball down field

Sen. Pete Domenici and Rep. Heather Wilson of New Mexico pressured the U.S. attorney in their state to speed up indictments in a federal corruption investigation that involved at least one former Democratic state senator, according to two people familiar with the contacts.

The alleged involvement of the two Republican lawmakers raises questions about possible violations of House of Representatives and Senate ethics rules and could taint the criminal investigation into the award of an $82 million courthouse contract.

The two people with knowledge of the incident said Domenici and Wilson intervened in mid-October, when Wilson was in a competitive re-election campaign that she won by 875 votes out of nearly 211,000 cast.

Further down into the article we learn that Wilson called first. That was followed up by Domenici who … well, listen hear how Marisa Taylor of McClatchy puts it …

Domenici, who wasn’t up for re-election, called about a week and a half later and was more persistent than Wilson, the people said. When Iglesias said an indictment wouldn’t be handed down until at least December, the line went dead.

When I first heard about this latest development in the USA attorney story, I could believe that Wilson pulled something like this. I’m not saying she strikes me, or struck me, as particularly unethical. And I’m not saying that someone like Pete Domenici — who must basically own the New Mexico Republican party — would be above it. But I’m surprised someone who’s served in the senate for 35 years or so wouldn’t know to put a little distance — an intermediary or two — between him and the US attorney he was trying to muscle under.

Anyway, I think at this point we basically know that Wilson and Domenici are the culprits. They tried to pressure Iglesias into issuing an indictment of a prominent local Democrat to help Wilson win reelection. And if you really don’t believe that Iglesias’s firing had anything to do with his not lending Wilson a prosecutorial helping hand last fall, well, then you’re probably one of those goofs who was still believing we’d find the WMD well into 2004.

Now we know Wilson and Domenici were the first links in the chain. Who they’d talk to? Walk it back.