Thursday, May 24, 2007

Monica Goodling and Thomas Heffelfinger

U.S. attorney Thomas Heffelfinger (Minnesota) was one of the U.S. Attorneys who appeared on Kyle Samson’s firing list. Monica Goodling mentioned him briefly during her testimony this week. She said that she'd heard he “spent an extraordinary amount of time” on his work relating to his position as Chairman of the Native American Issues Subcommittee (NAIS) of the Attorney General’s Advisory Committee.

Heffelfinger appeared on the list in January 2006, and a month later he voluntarily resigned. When he heard of Ms. Goodling’s testimony he had this to say:
I did spent a lot of time on it... That's what I was instructed to do [by then-Attorney General John Ashcroft].

If it’s true that people within the Department of Justice were critical of the amount of time I was spending on Indian issues, I’m outraged. … Are they telling me I spent too much time trying to improve public safety for Native Americans, who are victims of violent crime at a rate 2 ½ times the national population? If they are, then shame on them.
Who could object to the fact that a U.S. Attorney from Minnesota was devoting his time to improving the lot of American Indians? Well, that would be whoever is victimizing a lot of American Indians.

Does the name Jack Abramoff ring a bell?

Admittedly, none of Jack Abramoff’s Indian client/victims were up in Minnesota. But after his guilty plea, also in January of 2006, the investigation into his nefarious activities widened. Disrupting the subcommittee of U.S. attorneys that dealt with American Indian issues at that crucial time probably didn’t help the investigation.

Or it could just be a coincidence.

“… and tell ’em Big Mitch sent ya!”


Anonymous said...

Conspiracy Theory:

Feb 2005 - Hizzoner, St Paul Mayor Randy Kelly is
probed by 2 FBI investigations as he announces re-election.
The publicity is not good.

Mar 2005 - US Attorney Heff gets put on the US Attorney General death list.

Nov 2005 - Hisdishonor Randy Kelly is kicked
out of town with the largest loss by an incumbent mayor in the
history of St. Paul.

Jan 2006 Citizen Kelly goes to Washington
to beg for a job and get revenge, he is well connected with
the Bush people.

Feb 2006 - US Attorney Heff feels the pressure and "resigns".

BigMitch said...

For more than 15 years, clean-cut, square-jawed Tom Heffelfinger was the embodiment of a tough Republican prosecutor,” the L.A. Times reports. “By the time Heffelfinger resigned last year, his office had collected a string of awards and commendations from the Justice Department.” So why was he targeted for firing?

Part of the reason, government documents and other evidence suggest, is that he tried to protect voting rights for Native Americans.

At a time when GOP activists wanted U.S. attorneys to concentrate on pursuing voter fraud cases, Heffelfinger’s office was expressing deep concern about the effect of a state directive that could have the effect of discouraging Indians in Minnesota from casting ballots.

Citing requirements in a new state election law, Republican Secretary of State Mary Kiffmeyer directed that tribal ID cards could not be used for voter identification by Native Americans living off reservations. Heffelfinger and his staff feared that the ruling could result in discrimination against Indian voters. Many do not have driver’s licenses or forms of identification other than the tribes’ photo IDs.

The Times adds, “About three months after Heffelfinger’s office raised the issue of tribal ID cards and nonreservation Indians in an October 2004 memo, his name appeared on a list of U.S. attorneys singled out for possible firing.”

BigMitch said...

Previous comment by me was taken from the L.A. Times.

OliverSteinberg said...

Minnesota Theocrat-Republican Mary Kiffmeyer was Secetary of State. She repeatedly tried to push voter suppression strategies, but since the Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party kept control of the State Senate, her legislative agenda was stymied. On her own, she tried to deny Native voters who lived off-reservation from using their tribal ID cards for voter registration. This was taken to court and she lost decisively. She also instructed polling places to post large signs warning against "terrorists" attempting to vote or to disrupt voting. This scheme was too goofy for the staid citizens of the upper midwest to take seriously. Kiffmeyer championed the Rove "voter fraud" scam at every chance she got. Then she bragged about Minnesota's nation-leading high voter turnout. (She was taking credit for the achievement of her DFL predecessor, Joan Growe.) Well that national-leading voter turnout finally caught up with Kiffmeyer in 2006 when she was trounced by DFL candidate Mark Ritchie. Minnesota is still potentially a "swing state" with a popular GOP governor and US Senator---but the office of Secretary of State won't be enabling any voter suppression tactics anymore!