Fired U.S. Attorney for New Mexico David Iglesias lays out a compelling case in a New York Times oped this morning, “Why I Was Fired,” that the administration removed him for political rather than competency reasons.
His essay also shows that Representative Heather Wilson (R-NM) and Senator Pete Domenici (R-NM) should be under far greater fire than they are for the roles they played.
Politics entered my life with two phone calls that I received last fall, just before the November election. One came from Representative Heather Wilson and the other from Senator Domenici, both Republicans from my state, New Mexico.
Ms. Wilson asked me about sealed indictments pertaining to a politically charged corruption case widely reported in the news media involving local Democrats. Her question instantly put me on guard. Prosecutors may not legally talk about indictments, so I was evasive. Shortly after speaking to Ms. Wilson, I received a call from Senator Domenici at my home. The senator wanted to know whether I was going to file corruption charges — the cases Ms. Wilson had been asking about — before November. When I told him that I didn’t think so, he said, “I am very sorry to hear that,” and the line went dead.
A few weeks after those phone calls, my name was added to a list of United States attorneys who would be asked to resign — even though I had excellent office evaluations, the biggest political corruption prosecutions in New Mexico history, a record number of overall prosecutions and a 95 percent conviction rate. (In one of the documents released this week, I was deemed a “diverse up and comer” in 2004. Two years later I was asked to resign with no reasons given.)
He said that the first time he had been thanked for his service was yesterday in the President’s speech — but like a good lawyer, he’d like to have the President’s previous “confidence” in him communicated in writing.
— Steve Clemons