Curioser And Curiouser
About a week after the former Minnesota U.S. Attorney Thomas Heffelfinger swore straight up and down that he wasn't replaced by Rachel Paulouse because of political reasons, we now learn that three of his top aides have resigned their posts and have taken demotions and smaller salaries within the local USA office:
3 federal prosecutors quit manager posts They left their management jobs with the Minnesota U.S. Attorney's Office and will go back to prosecuting cases.
By Dan Browning and Pam Louwagie, Star Tribune
Last update: April 06, 2007 – 3:22 PM
In a surprising move, three top lawyers in the Minnesota U.S. Attorney's Office resigned their management positions Thursday and will return to prosecuting cases.
The resignations of the first assistant U.S. attorney, who is second in command, and the chiefs of both the criminal and civil divisions of the office, were communicated internally late Thursday afternoon, according to a source with direct knowledge of the events. The job changes followed a visit to the office by a representative from the Executive Office of the U.S. Attorney in Washington, D.C.
U.S. Sen. Charles E. Schumer, who chairs a Senate subcommittee on Administrative Oversight and the Courts, issued a harsh statement Friday after learning of the resignations.
"This is another example of the proud corps of U.S. Attorneys being deprofessionalized," Schumer said. "We wonder in how many other offices the same lack of confidence is taking its toll. Attorney General [Alberto] Gonzales has a responsibility to see that the finest people are put in these positions, not simply cronies."
The resignations are certain to raise questions, especially in light of the controversy surrounding Gonzales and the way the Bush administration replaced eight U.S. attorneys around the country since August.
Minnesota's U.S. Attorney, Rachel Paulose, took the job in March 2006. No one has linked her to the controversy in Washington.
"It's just absolutely extraordinary that these three top managers would voluntarily demote themselves," said one defense attorney knowledgeable about the office. "I mean, it's a rank cut. ... And then it would be a salary cut, too."
A source familiar with the office said Thursday's resignations were more about management style and communication than politics. But they take on added significance because they follow a number of other managers who have voluntarily stepped aside since Paulose took over.
. . .Paulose said the three are excellent prosecutors.
"The community will benefit from their focus on prosecuting high-profile, sophisticated cases in the years to come," she said. "This office remains focused on our law enforcement priorities and service to this community."
If they are so good, why did they have to step down? Even in the midst of the attorney scandal, the Bushies still engage in suspicious behavior.
Update (via John Aravosis):
Seems like Paulose was being too much of a fundyclown and tyrant for the top aides, but even at that it doesn't make sense why they would accept a demotion and pay cut. If I were them I'd just leave for a more lucrative post in private practice.