Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Conyers claims Authority over Executive Branch Justice Evaluations

Just another example of Congress Violating the Seperation of Powers

House Judiciary Panel Subpoenas Gonzales

Apr 10 01:39 PM US/Eastern
Associated Press Writer

WASHINGTON (AP) - The House Judiciary Committee subpoenaed new documents Tuesday from Attorney General Alberto Gonzales as part of its investigation into the firings of federal prosecutors, with panel chairman saying he had run out of patience.
"We have been patient in allowing the department to work through its concerns regarding the sensitive nature of some of these materials," Rep. John Conyers, D-Mich., wrote Gonzales in a letter accompanying the subpoena. "Unfortunately, the department has not indicated any meaningful willingness to find a way to meet our legitimate needs.,"

"At this point further delay in receiving these materials will not serve any constructive purpose," Conyers said.

The Justice Department did not have an immediate comment.

But one Justice official, speaking on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the situation, said the House request included the full text of all documents that had been partially or completely blacked out in the Justice Department's initial release of more than 3,000 pages last month. The Justice official said some U.S. attorney evaluations were included in these documents.

The official said the request also included an unredacted list ranking the performance and standing of each of the 93 U.S. attorneys. Government officials have previously confirmed that Chicago-based prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald, one of the Justice Department's premier U.S. attorneys, was ranked as "not distinguished."

Conyers characterized the subpoena as a last resort after weeks of negotiations with Justice over documents and e-mails the committee wants.

Democrats who control Congress say statements by Gonzales and his lieutenants, three of whom have resigned in the aftermath of the dismissals, have raised questions over whether the ousters were politically motivated.

The Justice Department denies that and President Bush has stood behind Gonzales, but calls for a new attorney general have continued. Gonzales, Bush's longtime friend, is scheduled before the Senate Judiciary Committee next week.

White House spokeswoman Dana Perino had no immediate information about the request.

"I think the Justice Department has been working very hard to be fully responsive to the request, as the president asked them to do," Perino said, describing the administration's release of documents. "So I don't know what's new here. We'll have to check it out."


Associated Press Writers Lara Jakes Jordan and Ben Feller contributed to this report in Washington.

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