Attorney General Gonzales must step down

Common Cause on Wednesday called on U.S. Attorney General Alberto Gonzales to step down from his position as head of the Justice Department immediately.

“It has become obvious that the U.S. Attorney firings were either handled in an incompetent manner or were motivated by a desire to politicize the Justice Department’s most sensitive law enforcement functions to advance partisan interests,” Bob Edgar, president of Common Cause, said in a letter to Gonzales. “There is no hope of rebuilding public confidence in the integrity of the Justice Department and its prosecutorial functions without new leadership at the top, and I urge you to step aside in the interests of the country.”

Gonzales has presided over a Justice Department that dismissed nine U.S. Attorneys whose track records were allegedly deemed not sufficiently partisan. It appears that they were dismissed primarily for prosecuting Republicans, failing to prosecute enough Democrats or failing to prosecute specious claims of election fraud, Edgar wrote. He noted that six of seven U.S. Attorneys dismissed on Dec. 7, 2006 had recently received outstanding performance reviews.

More than 40 Members of Congress from both political parties are also on record in favor of Gonzales’ stepping aside.

“Our sincere hope is that you will take action to avert a further crisis of confidence in the nation’s top law enforcement official and in the Department of Justice and heed this call for your resignation,” Edgar said. “In this country, where the rule of law is paramount, the top law enforcement official must set the example for legal and ethical behavior. That example has been sorely lacking at the Justice Department.”

Click here to read the full letter or here to download a PDF version.