Friday, April 25, 2008

Domenici Rebuked for Call to U.S. Attorney Before Election

Washington Post - Paul Kane

Sen. Pete V. Domenici was admonished yesterday for his "appearance of impropriety" in connection with the firing of a U.S. attorney, one of nine prosecutors who were dismissed in 2006, leading to investigations of the Justice Department and the resignation of Attorney General Alberto R. Gonzales last September.

The Senate ethics committee found that Domenici (N.M.) -- a six-term Republican senator who plans to retire at the end of the year for health reasons -- inappropriately called his local federal prosecutor to ask about an investigation of New Mexico Democrats on the eve of the 2006 midterm elections.

"You should have known that a federal prosecutor receiving such a telephone call, coupled with an approaching election which may have turned on or been influenced by the prosecutor's actions in the corruption matter, created an appearance of impropriety that reflected unfavorably on the Senate," the committee wrote in a three-page letter signed by the three Democrats and three Republicans on the panel.

The "public letter of qualified admonition" is a mild form of punishment under Senate rules, ending a 13-month investigation in which the panel interviewed Domenici, his staff and David C. Iglesias, a former U.S. attorney for New Mexico................

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