Former New Mexico Attorney General Patricia Madrid, who lost her 2006 bid to unseat Rep. Heather Wilson by just 861 votes, has a few things to say about the claims by ousted U.S. Attorney David Iglesias that he was pressured, reportedly by Sen. Pete Domenici (R-NM) and Wilson herself, to bring criminal indictments before the mid-term elections for political purposes.
In an interview with Heath Haussamen, who blogs on New Mexico politics, Madrid claims that Iglesias may have succumbed to similar internal GOP political pressure in another public corruption case:
In an exclusive interview, Madrid said she wouldnât be surprised if Iglesias is telling the truth, because she believes Domenici and Wilson may have had a hand in another massive public corruption scandal prosecuted by his office.
She said Iglesias, a Republican, kept her office from having any involvement in prosecution of the state treasurer scandal. She believes that was âprobablyâ done at the urging of Republican operatives and designed to give Wilson fuel to attack Madrid for doing nothing about the scandal.
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Madrid said her office was involved in 2005 in the early stages of the investigation of the treasurer scandal, along with the stateâs Taxation and Revenue Department, but the FBI stepped in, took control of the investigation and ordered her to stay away.
Madrid contends that was likely done at the urging of Republicans, who may have been preparing to fight what, at the time, was only a potential Madrid campaign against Wilson. The congresswoman repeatedly attacked Madrid during the campaign for doing nothing about the corruption in the treasurerâs office.
âWe were deliberately kept out by the Justice Department, the U.S. attorney and the FBI,â Madrid said, adding that she believes it is likely that Iglesias, Domenici, Wilson and Bush political adviser Karl Rove âhad these prosecutions so intertwined with this campaign.â
Madrid's claims are short on specifics; but, given Iglesias' recent charges of political interference, her suspicions certainly seem more plausible than they would have a month ago.
The thing about Iglesias is that his own account of the calls from Wilson and Domenici doesn't cast him in a particularly flattering light. He admits that according to Department of Justice policy he should have notified his superiors of the calls but failed to do so. It also looks like Iglesias was prepared to take the fall and go quietly until Deputy Attorney General Paul McNulty testified to Congress that the U.S. attorney dismissals were for performance reasons. Only after he was smeared did Iglesias speak out.
It would have been nice if Iglesias had put the same value on defending the rule of law as he has on defending his own reputation.