Schumer calls for Rove’s testimony

Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.),  a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, has asked the panel to call presidential adviser Karl Rove to testify regarding the 2006 firings of eight U.S. attorneys.

Schumer’s request came after the White House acknowledged Sunday that Rove relayed complaints to the Justice Department about New Mexico U.S. Attorney David Iglesias before he and six other U.S. attorneys were fired on Dec. 7. Another, H.E. “Bud” Cummins of Arkansas, was relieved of his post last summer. Critics have called the dismissals an act of political favoritism on the part of the administration.

“The more we learn, the more it seems that people at high levels in the White House have been involved in the U.S. attorney purge,” Schumer said yesterday.

“There’s an emerging pattern that is extremely disturbing, and every day the sanctity of U.S. attorneys as neutral enforcers of law without fear or favor is diminished,” Schumer said.

New Mexico Republican Party Chairman Allen Weh told McClatchy Newspapers over the weekend that he complained to Rove in late 2006 about Iglesias.

According to Weh, Rove said about Iglesias, “He’s gone.” Weh added that he didn’t think Rove had the power to fire Iglesias.

“This isn’t about the White House political office, this is about an incompetent attorney,” Weh added.

Iglesias has been at the center of the firing controversy since he stated last week that Sen. Pete Domenici (R-N.M.) and Rep. Heather Wilson (R-N.M.) contacted him shortly before the 2006 elections. The calls concerned an ongoing corruption probe into Democrats. Some administration critics have viewed the calls as attempts to influence the November elections by pressuring Iglesias to speed up the investigation.

The House and Senate judiciary committees have both held hearings into the matter, and Iglesias testified at both.

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