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Justice Aide’s Testimony Rekindles Attorney Firings Controversy

Audio

Aired 4/19/09

Former San Diego US Attorney Carol Lam was a topic of controversy again on Capitol Hill Wednesday. This time it was Monica Goodling's turn to answer questions in the House Judiciary Committee. She's the former Justice Department aide who had a hand in the controversial firing of eight US Attorneys, including Lam. Todd Zwillich has more from Capitol Hill.

The attorney matter is still threatening Attorney General Alberto Gonzales's job.

Democrats have complained that Lam was fired despite a sterling performance record. San Diego Republican Daryl Issa doesn't remember Lam as being so good. He questioned Goodling about complaints that Lam was reluctant to prosecute immigrant smugglers known as coyotes.

Issa : Even after somebody was arrested 20 times, on the 21st time, she still wouldn't prosecute. Isn't that a factor in the firing of Carol Lam? I believe it was.

Democrats still want to know whether White House political operatives had a role in the firings. Gooding only agreed to testify after being granted immunity from criminal prosecution.

Senate Democrats are now threatening to hold a vote expressing no confidence in Gonzales.

From Capitol Hill, Todd Zwillich KPBS News.

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