Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, named as defendant in the iMEGA lawsuit, and a close associate of President Bush who announced that he will resign next month, will continue to come under scrutiny from a congressional investigation into whether he worked with the White House in the firing of US attorneys and committed perjury when the Senate questioned him about it.
Harry Reid of Nevada, the Senate majority leader said “This resignation is not the end of the story” “Congress must get to the bottom of this mess and follow the facts where they may lead, into the White House.”
President Bush, who had vowed to stand by his long time friend and fellow Texan, said he reluctantly accepted Gonzales’s resignation and then blamed partisan politics for the attorney general’s decision to quit. Gonzales gave no reason for his resignation.
President Bush said, “It is sad that we live in a time when a talented and honorable person like Alberto Gonzales is impeded from doing important work because his good name was dragged through the mud for political reasons.” Gonzales submitted his resignation to Bush on Friday to be effective September 17th.
Bush said that Solicitor General Paul D. Clement, who has served in the administration since 2001 will replace Gonzales for now. Bush did not say when or if he will nominate a permanent replacement.
One of the possible nominees, Secretary of Homeland Security, Michael Chertoff, got an immediate reaction from some Democrats, that warned that naming Chertoff would ignite new controversy over his handling of the government’s response to the Hurricane Katrina disaster. Some other names mentioned were, Theodore B. Olson (a former solicitor general), Larry D. Thompson (a former deputy attorney general), and John C. Danforth (a Missouri Republican).
Although Bush blamed unnamed politicians whom he said ran Gonzales out of office, much more of the pressure on the attorney general come from fellow republicans, such as Senator Arlen Specter of
Pennsylvania, and John McCain of Arizona, which is seeking the GOP presidential nomination.
Senator Olympia J. Snowe, Republican of Maine said, “The attorney general’s departure is appropriate, necessary, and I believe in the best interest of our nation.” Senator John E. Sununu of
New Hampshire said, “The resignation will finally allow a new attorney general to take on the task of handling matters ranging from immigration to terror investigations.”
Senator Charles E. Schumer, A New York Democrat and judiciary committee member said, “ He hopes Bush’s next pick for attorney general will be cooperate.” Schumer also said, “If Bush nominates an attorney general who puts rule of law first, that attorney general will say, “Let’s find out what went wrong, and let’s correct it and move on.”
John J. Pitney Jr., a political science professor at Claremont McKenna College in California and a former GOP aide on Capitol Hill said, “It’s a difficult choice for the Bush administration, on one hand, they want to pick somebody whose paper trial doesn’t raise a lot of questions, but on the other hand, they want somebody who is politically reliable, and those people usually have paper trials.”
iMEGA has said that there will be no change in their complaint versus UIGEA due to the resignation of Gonzales. They say that the main reason Gonzales’ name was mentioned is due to the fact the complaint had to have an actual name. And that Gonzales was not personally targeted in the suit, the real defendants are, the U.S. Department of Justice, the Federal Reserve Board of Governors and the Federal Trade Commission.
Watch for the latest updates on iMEGA and Gonzales.