House Democrats, led by Rep. Rahm Emanuel (D-IL), are pushing for U.S. Attorney Carol Lam to continue to preside over the Duke Cunningham investigation as outside counsel. Two days after Lam’s office brought two historic (and incredibly detailed) indictments, she’s on her way out, one of the seven federal prosecutors forced out by the administration in December.
Today, Emanuel, along with Rep. Howard Berman (D-CA), House Judiciary Chairman John Conyers (D-MI), and Rep. Linda SÃ¡nchez (D-CA), sent a second request to Attorney General Alberto Gonzales that Lam stay on the case as outside counsel. Apparently Emmanuel’s first request went unanswered.
The full letter is reproduced below.The Honorable Alberto Gonzales
U.S. Attorney General
U.S. Department of Justice
950 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20530-0001
Dear Attorney General Gonzales:
Last week, Congressman Emanuel sent you a letter requesting that former U.S. Attorney in San Diego Carol Lam be appointed as outside counsel to finish her work on the Duke Cunningham Case. Unfortunately, your office has not yet responded to that letter.
Two days ago, Lam’s investigation continued to bear fruit as a federal grand jury charged Kyle “Dusty” Foggo and Brent Wilkes with at least 11 felony counts related to their involvement with Cunningham. As Elana Schor’s article in The Hill yesterday points out, “Justice Department officials have praised the Cunningham probe as the linchpin of their growing pursuit of public corruption cases, yet prosecutor Lam is nonetheless slated to step down[Thursday] after the Bush administration cited unspecified ‘performance’ issues in requesting her resignation late last year. Six other U.S. attorneys, several involved in ongoing corruption investigations, were dismissed at about the same time.”
As you know, of those seven fired U.S. Attorneys, Lam was not the only one investigating sitting public officials before being dismissed. For example, Daniel Bogden of Nevada and Paul Charlton of Arizona were dismissed while their offices were conducting probes concerning elected officials.
Schor’s article also notes that Deputy U.S. Attorney General Paul McNulty was scheduled to brief members of the Senate Judiciary Committee yesterday with information on the decisions to dismiss the U.S. Attorneys. During last week’s public Senate hearing, Deputy U.S. Attorney General McNulty confirmed that Bud Cummins III, the former U.S. attorney for Eastern Arkansas, was dismissed without cause to install Timothy Griffin, a former aide to White House adviser Karl Rove.
Carol Lam’s indictments of Foggo and Wilkes underscore the importance of last week’s request and the need for an explanation of why these diligent public servants were dismissed. It is vital that U.S. Attorneys be able to prosecute wrongdoing free from political pressure. We are pleased that the Department of Justice has also agreed to brief members of the House Judiciary Committee on the dismissals of Carol Lam and other U.S. Attorneys. We look forward to further details regarding the date for that briefing and your response regarding the request to appoint Carol Lam as an outside counsel to finish the Cunningham and related investigations.
Thank you for your prompt attention to these matters. We look forward to hearing from your office.
Member of Congress
Member of Congress
Chairman, Judiciary Committee
Chairman, Subcommittee on Commercial and Administrative Law