May 3, 2007

DOJ Agrees to Release Results of US Attorneys Investigation

Whitehouse Applauds Decision; Calls for Speedy, Thorough Inquiry

Washington, D.C. – In response to a request from Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) and Senator Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.), the Department of Justice has agreed that the results of an internal investigation into the firing of several federal prosecutors will be made public, Whitehouse announced today.

“I’m glad the Department recognizes the American people’s interest in learning the truth behind the Bush administration’s unprecedented purge of United States Attorneys,” said Whitehouse, a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee who served as a U.S. Attorney in the mid-1990s. “Significant questions remain about the extent to which partisan politics have overtaken the administration of justice. I expect this investigation to proceed expeditiously and look forward to seeing results.”

The Justice Department announced last month that the Office of Professional Responsibility (OPR) and Office of the Inspector General (OIG) would conduct a joint investigation into the decision to fire several federal prosecutors. The OIG routinely releases its reports while the OPR does not. Given the conflicting policies of the two offices, Leahy and Whitehouse wrote Monday to Solicitor General Paul Clement seeking the assurance that the results of the inquiry would be made public in an appropriate fashion. Attorney General Alberto Gonzales and Deputy Attorney General Paul McNulty have recused themselves from oversight of the joint OPR/OIG inquiry. I

In a letter today, Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Richard A. Hertling wrote the senators that “in light of the highly unusual nature of this investigation, the public release of the joint report is warranted. … Therefore, both the OIG and OPR intend that the results of the investigation will be made public.”


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