White House Reprimanded U.S. Attorney After He Failed To Cave To Hastings’ Pressure

hmierss.jpg Yesterday, John McKay, the former U.S. attorney in Washington, revealed to the Senate Judiciary Committee that Rep. Doc Hastings’s (R-WA) office contacted him and attempted to pressure him in an ongoing investigation. McKay was investigating voter fraud in the hotly contested 2004 gubernatorial election, which had been certified in favor of the Democratic candidate.

After the hearing, McKay revealed that the White House was also upset that he refused to convene a federal grand jury to investigate voter fraud in the race, which may have been one the reasons he was denied a federal judgeship:

In remarks after the hearings, McKay said that officials in the White House counsel’s office, including then-counsel Harriet E. Miers, asked him to explain why he had “mishandled” the governor’s race during an interview for a federal judgeship in September 2006. McKay was informed after his dismissal that he also was not a finalist for the federal bench.

McKay applied for the federal judgeship in summer 2006, at which time “many local lawyers considered him the front-runner for the job.” Just three months later, he was forced to resign as U.S. attorney and told he was no longer in the running for the federal bench. Yesterday, the only excuse the Justice Department offered for firing McKay was that they were concerned with the manner “in which he went about advocating particular policies.”

In a statement yesterday, Hastings denied that his office ever contacted the White House about “whether he [McKay] was qualified to be a federal judge.” But Todd Young, Hastings’s chief of staff noted “Hastings had regular contact with the White House about judgeships.”

There is no evidence that McKay “mishandled” the Washington election investigation. The only thing that is evident is that Hastings, the right wing, and the White House were unhappy with McKay’s unwillingness to bend justice to politics.