Just Keeping Idle Hands Busy

White House says Rove relayed complaints about prosecutors
By Ron Hutcheson, Marisa Taylor and Margaret Talev
McClatchy Newspapers

WASHINGTON – The White House acknowledged on Sunday that presidential adviser Karl Rove served as a conduit for complaints to the Justice Department about federal prosecutors who were later fired for what critics charge were partisan political reasons.

House investigators on Sunday declared their intention to question Rove about any role he may have played in the firings.

White House spokeswoman Dana Perino said Rove had relayed complaints from Republican officials and others to the Justice Department and the White House counsel’s office. She said Rove, the chief White House political operative, specifically recalled passing along complaints about former U.S. Attorney David Iglesias and may have mentioned the grumblings about Iglesias to Attorney General Alberto Gonzales.

Iglesias says he believes he lost his job as the top federal prosecutor in New Mexico after rebuffing Republican pressure to speed his investigation of a Democratic state official.

Perino said Rove might have mentioned the complaints about Iglesias “in passing” to Gonzales.

“He doesn’t exactly recall, but he may have had a casual conversation with the A.G. to say he had passed those complaints to Harriet Miers,” Perino said, relaying Rove’s hazy recollection.

Perino said such a conversation would be fairly routine at the White House.

“Lots of people at the White House gets lots of complaints about lots of different people on a multitude of subjects,” she said. “The procedure is to listen and take the appropriate action to notify the relevant agency.”

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