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Monday, March 26, 2007
Bogus U.S. Attorney Talking Point of the Day
Topic: NewsBusters

Now that the 8-equals-93 argument is no longer operative (not to mention totally bogus), NewsBusters has latched onto a new -- and similarly bogus -- defense for the Bush administration's firing of eight U.S. attorneys: Even the liberal Dianne Feinstein was concerned about one prosecutor's record.

From a March 23 post by Justin McCarthy cheering on Bill O'Reilly's similar defense:

The mainstream media hinted that the administration fired San Diego attorney Carol Lam for prosecuting former Republican Congressman Randy "Duke" Cunningham. What they failed to report is that Ms. Lam did not aggressively prosecute illegal alien criminals. Her lax approach concerned even Democratic Senator Diane Feinstein.

Ken Shepherd repeated that talking point in a March 26 post:

Largely left by the wayside in mainstream media reporting have been legitimate deviations the fired attorneys exhibited from Bush Justice Department priorities, such as immigration enforcement -- for instance, San Diego-based attorney Carol Lam's prosecution of immigration cases reportedly bothered the decidedly unconservative Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) -- and pushing for the death penalty in capital cases.

That link in Shepherd's item goes to a March 25 Associated Press article that noted Feinstein's concern about Lam's record on immigration cases. But it also includes a line that Shepherd didn't pass along to his readers: "Feinstein has said her concerns on that front were subsequently satisfied and that it's 'bogus' to use her letter as evidence supporting Lam's dismissal."

Indeed, if the Bush Justice Department was concerned about Lam's record on immigration cases, it didn't show it. Similarly unmention by either McCarthy or Shepherd is a March 14 AP article noting that when Feinstein contacted the Justice Department with her concerns about Lam, she received a reply from associate deputy attorney general William Moschella, in which he described Lam's immigration smuggling caseload as rising "favorably" in 2006.

So, if Lam's immigration caseload was rising "favorably," that seems to undercut the argument advanced by O'Reilly, McCarthy and Shepherd that Lam was fired for lax immigration enforcement.

UPDATE: TPM Muckraker details Lam's record on immigration and the Justice Department's apparent lack of discussion of the issue with Lam before firing her -- thus further undermining the talking point.

Posted by Terry K. at 2:52 PM EDT
Updated: Monday, March 26, 2007 4:47 PM EDT

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