Never have so many words been recorded that said so little that was new. I'm talking about the local media blitz this week by fired Western Washington U.S. Attorney John McKay, now a Seattle University law professor, who was joined there for a symposium by David Iglesias of New Mexico and Paul Charlton of Arizona. These are three of nine fired U.S. attorneys whom Attorney General Alberto Gonzales may or may not recall having heard of. The Seattle Times got first crack at McKay and Iglesias, who agreed to an interview, the audio of which was posted with a story. Then KUOW-FM (on Weekday) and the Seattle Post-Intelligencer (with a story and audio) got time with the pair. To be sure, this controversy has laid bare inattention to what's important at the Justice Department in D.C. But the relentless effort by McKay and his colleagues to keep this on the public agenda opens the door to some interesting questions:
- Why is it OK for them to implicitly accuse the White House of orchestrating their dismissals as political payback without citing specific evidence? "It seems that given that no one takes credit at the Justice Department, that it can only be coming from one place, and that very strongly means the White House," McKay told the Times. That's pretty vague coming from a former prosecutor. Does he know something the rest of us don't? Let's hear it.
- And what about the 2004 gubernatorial election in Washington? It's time to pursue disclosure of the evidence McKay and the FBI reviewed, to put to rest once and for all accusations by some that electoral corruption went unpunished. McKay has said that lots of evidence was considered and he came to a decision that there wasn't enough to make a case. It sounds like a judgment call, which is his job to make. But if we are to believe that McKay's firing was punishment by the Republican party, his decision not to prosecute becomes relevant to the public: Was it the right decision? Let's see the evidence. This would probably involve a months- or years-long documents request under the federal Freedom of Information Act.