It’s been more than two years since we asked “how did Chris Christie get off the list?” We knew even then that United States Attorneys who resisted the politicization of their jobs were fired, and that “somehow” Chris Christie avoided being fired. The problem is that everyone involved was a Republican, so it’s been a struggle to get the truth. Sure, eventually Karl Rove testified before Congress, and admitted that he talked with Christie about running for Governor, a probable Hatch Act violation, but there are still lots of holes in our knowledge of what happened.
Another thing we learned years ago was that the entire scheme was made possible by Senator Arlen Specter, who quietly changed the law allowing US Attorneys to be replaced. Without this change, President Bush could have threatened to fire Christie and the other USA’s, but he would not have been able to easily replace them with political hacks. Apparently, Specter inserted the changes to benefit Bush and the Republican party–and after all, it’s easy to guess at his motives since Bush and Rove saved in him in his 2004 primary contest, and Republican control of the Senate rested on the upcoming 2006 elections.
But now it’s 2009, and suddenly our old neighbor, Arlen Specter, is a Democrat, and he claims has different political loyalties. He needs to tell us about the firing of the U.S. Attorneys and what he was told about it by the Bush Administration. Why did he think the changes he pushed through were desirable? What did the Justice Department tell him? Was the “need” to fire anyone specific mentioned? From my side of the river, I’d like to know if any US Attorneys were specifically mentioned to him. Say, Chris Christie? Or was Bob Menendez’s upcoming election in New Jersey mentioned? Democrat Arlen Specter needs to come forward with what he knows.