Members of the House Judiciary Committee want the Justice Department to hand over documents, among them correspondence with the White House, related to three controversial prosecutions, including that of former Gov. Don Siegelman (D-AL).
In a letter
to Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, three Democratic House Judiciary members, including chairman Rep. John Conyers (D-MI), voiced their concern that the Bush Administration's Justice Department has pursued and ignored prosecutions based on politics.
The letter names three specific cases they want to investigate. In addition to Siegelman's case, the other two are: former Wisconsin state procurement officer Georgia Thompson whose conviction was overturned by the Seventh Circuit and prominent Democrat and coroner Cyril Wecht who was accused of misusing his official staff (similar allegations against local Republicans were not investigated).
The members are requesting "documents relating to the Departmentâs handling of three cases, and in particular any memoranda, analysis, or other communications discussing whether and to what extent criminal charges should be and were pursued" in addition to "any memoranda, analysis, or other communication from any White House staff, members of congress or their staff, and any state or local political party officials or their staff."
"While the above cases are by no means an exhaustive list of all alleged instances of politically-motivated prosecutions or lack of prosecutions," the lawmakers wrote, "we believe that learning the truth about these three prosecutions is an important step in the process of restoring the Department of Justiceâs credibility and reputation for impartial justice."
Gonzales has until July 27 to produce the materials.