Heffelfinger blows a gasket
You knew it was coming. Minnesota's former U.S. attorney Tom Heffelfinger -- who resigned while, unbeknownst to him, he was on a list of those that the administration was considering firing -- fired back Thursday after weeks of semisilence.
Heffelfinger, who says he had no idea anyone in Washington was thinking of firing him when he resigned his position as U.S. attorney in February 2006, has gradually become more open about his outrage over the controversy around the firing of U.S. attorneys as his name has been more publicly linked to it.
In remarks to the Bar Association in Minneapolis, he reached a new peak, saying among other things that "something is fundamentally broken within the Department of Justice."
And he read aloud from an e-mail, written by Kyle Sampson, then-chief of staff to Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, to other Justice Department officials under pressure to explain how particular U.S. attorneys had become candidates for dismissal.
Sampson suggested the attorneys on the list -- including Heffelfinger -- "had no federal prosecution experience when they took the job."
This elicited a burst of shocked laughter from the audience, many of whom knew Heffelfinger had been a Hennepin County prosecutor, a federal prosecutor, and had served a previous term as U.S. attorney for Minnesota under the first President Bush before the second President Bush appointed him in 2001.
It's not encouraging that the people in charge of firing decisions were so unaware of his record. It's like it was Amateur Hour in the Justice Department executive offices.
Heffelfinger, Goodling, Gonzales, politics, midtopia