Rove Aide Longed to Replace Iglesias With GOP Lawyer Who Helped Get Him Fired

August 12, 2009 7:25 a.m.

After firing David Iglesias as U.S. attorney for New Mexico, Karl Rove’s top aide longed to replace him with a Republican party activist who had helped agitate for the firing in the first place, newly released documents reveal.

In early January 2007, several weeks after the firings had been carried out, the Albuquerque Journal reported, based on a press release from New Mexico senator Pete Domenici, that there were four leading candidates for the newly vacant post.That day, according to documents relating to the U.S. attorney firings released by Congress yesterday, Scott Jennings, Rove’s top deputy, emailed his boss. Jennings wrote:

Domenici wants Peifer.

Our political team wants Bibb, but Domenici doesn’t like him for some reason.

Rogers would be the dream, but won’t do it.

Who is Rogers? That would be Pat Rogers, the New Mexico Republican activist and former state GOP counsel who once called voter fraud “the single greatest wedge issue ever.”

Rogers’s complaints to the Justice Department about Iglesias’s failure to pursue bogus voter fraud cases helped get him fired in the first place. And last fall, Rogers held a press conference to announce that 28 people had voted fraudulently in an earlier local Democratic primary, only to have local authorities quickly knock down those claims. Rogers then found himself the target of a lawsuit after TPMmuckraker and others reported that he had hired a private investigator to intimidate Hispanic voters by appearing at their homes to question their citizenship.

Rogers was never nominated, of course. But it’s revealing that he’s the person who Rove’s top aide saw as the “dream” candidate to replace Iglesias. One assumes it wasn’t because of Rogers’s reputation for the apolitical pursuit of justice.

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