Cummins Says L.A. Times Article Is Wrong
One of the fired U.S. Attorneys has directly contradicted the major premise of an L.A. Times article published about him.
Yesterday, the L.A. Times published a story titled Cummins fears corruption investigation led to his firing:
Still uncertain exactly why he was fired, former U.S. Atty. H.E. “Bud” Cummins III wonders whether it had something to do with the probe he opened into alleged corruption by Republican officials in Missouri amid a Senate race there that was promising to be a nail-biter.
. . . .
In January 2006, [Cummins] had begun looking into allegations that Missouri Gov. Matt Blunt had rewarded GOP supporters with lucrative contracts to run the state’s driver’s license offices. . . . . In an interview Thursday, Cummins expressed disgust that the Bush administration may have fired him and the others for political reasons. “You have to firewall politics out of the Department of Justice. Because once it gets in, people question every decision you make. Now I keep asking myself: ‘What about the Blunt deal?’ “
In an e-mail to TPM Muckraker, Cummins disputes this (all emphasis mine):
Unfortunately, that isn’t what I said, or at least what I intended to say, and it is not the case.
The context of my conversation with LA Times reporter Richard Serrano was clearly that I do not know of ANY connection between the Missouri investigation (which actually had nothing to do with Governor Blunt) and my termination.
Cummins repeats this later in the e-mail:
I do not know of any connection whatsoever to the Missouri investigation and my firing. I am not asking myself (or anyone else) about that.
Cummin’s e-mail negates the premise of the entire article. So maybe, if we all write the Readers’ Representative, we can get a small-box correction on Page A2.
P.S. Cummins makes clear elsewhere in the e-mail that he is upset over the firings, and believes that “improper political considerations were on the table when some or all of the US Attorneys were fired.” I’m not sure that his opinion on the issue carries any special weight, however. He admits: “I do not know why the seven were fired.” The only situation where he has special knowledge is his own — and, he concedes, “they have essentially told the truth in my case.”
Cummins’ e-mail seems measured, appropriate, and plausible to me.
Firing the USA’s in this manner was going to have some blowback no matter how it was done, but there really isn’t anything nice to say about the way the administration handled this. It’s pretty clear that people are in full CYA mode, and I don’t see the administration gaining any credibility at any point on how this was handled.
Our host’s points on the misleading LAT articles look right to me. Still, there are plenty of fair articles to be written on how this was, at best, botched.
–JRMJRM (355c21) — 3/17/2007 @ 1:27 pm
I plan to have more criticism of the Administration later this weekend. I’m not convinced the Iglesias firing was unconnected to the Domenici call.
But the brouhaha over Lam is 100% bogus.Patterico (04465c) — 3/17/2007 @ 1:36 pm
Please check out McKay also. That one should be pretty darn easy. No one requesting investigation the 2004 election problems in Washington (from official GOP representatives, through reporters and pollworkers) seems to have ever received so much as a return phone call.Al (b624ac) — 3/17/2007 @ 2:41 pm
I am discussing this with Stefan Sharkansky and will have more in coming days.Patterico (04465c) — 3/17/2007 @ 2:59 pm
You can’t make this stuff up…
Well, I guess you can.jpm100 (851d24) — 3/17/2007 @ 5:58 pm
“i’m not sure that his opinion on the issue carries any special weight, however.”
you’re right. nothing he says can possibly overturn the judgment of the popular opinion court.assistant devil's advocate (d37436) — 3/17/2007 @ 8:03 pm
Hats off, commendation, and praise for the honesty and integrity of attorney Cummins, especially as he is “not happy” about the firings, but has openly called for the truth.
Thank you, thank you.MD in Philly (3d3f72) — 3/18/2007 @ 3:52 pm
Do you ever expect the truth from the liberal left-wing news media? the SMELL A TIMES is just another lying liberal left-wing news ragkrazy kagu (0a3548) — 3/18/2007 @ 5:57 pm
I dont know about the rest of the article, and i’m not defending it. But if Cummins indeed said these words to the LATimes reporter:
“You have to firewall politics out of the Department of Justice. Because once it gets in, people question every decision you make. Now I keep asking myself: ‘What about the Blunt deal?’ ”
… then the reporter seems fair in writing Cummins “wonders whether it had something to do with the probe he opened into alleged corruption by Republican officials in Missouri amid a Senate race there that was promising to be a nail-biter.”
… pls note that I did say “if”.puzzled (bc3377) — 3/18/2007 @ 7:35 pm
FYI, I thought you might like to know what sort of screening that the LAT uses for it’s opinion authors. Not spam, an update about the LAT putting a bigot on their opinion pages.RW (8f8726) — 3/19/2007 @ 10:43 am