Lawmaker's Intervention In Law Enforcement Crosses Line

The emerging scandal surrounding the dismissals of eight former U.S. attorneys should signify to American voters the depth, breadth, and permeation of corruption in the Bush administration.

When a U.S. senator (to wit, Pete Domenici, a New Mexico Republican) feels free to call a prosecutor at home and hang up on him for resisting political pressure in the course of executing his prosecutorial duties, the line between politics and law enforcement has been so thoroughly violated that it no longer exists.

As was revealed in Tuesday's congressional hearings on the scandal, David Iglesias described the phone call from Domenici as follows:

"He wanted to know if the [indictments] would be filed before November. ... I gave an answer to the effect of I didn't think so. ... He said, "I'm very sorry to hear that," and the line went dead, the telephone line went dead. I thought to myself, did he just hang up on me? ... He didn't call back; I didn't call back. I had a sick feeling in the pit of my stomach that something bad had happened, and within six weeks I got a call from [senior Justice Department official] Mike Battle saying that it was time for me to move on."

Domenici would not have made that call had either a Democrat or a law-abiding Republican been in the White House. He would not have had the temerity to throw his weight around to such an outrageous extent.

What's going on in Washington is not sufficiently removed from the routine doings of a tawdry Third World dictatorship to give any American comfort.

By Bonnie Erbe