Heffelfinger was a target in U.S. Attorney purge

Tom Heffelfinger, the former U.S. Attorney for Minnesota, was among the federal prosecutors whom the Bush administration considered firing, according to news reports.

Heffelfinger resigned in March 2006, several months before eight U.S. Attorneys were asked to leave. He has said he left on his own accord.

But Kyle Sampson, the former chief of staff to U.S. Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, has told Congressional investigators that senior Department of Justice officials were concerned about Heffelfinger. Sampson said Heffelfinger's name showed up on a list of potential prosecutors who would be fired.

Heffelfinger told the Associated Press he wasn't aware of any issues. "And I had regular dealings with senior Justice Department officials on a wide variety of issues, probably most particularly Native American issues," he said. "If they had any concerns, they had ample opportunity to voice them, and none did."

Heffelfinger chaired the Native American Issues subcommittee until his departure. Margaret Chiara, the former U.S. Attorney for Western Michigan, took over the committee but was among the eight who were asked to leave.

Get the Story:
Bush administration targeted another top federal prosecutor (McClatchy Newspapers 4/27)
Justice Justice Dept. had concerns about former U.S. attorney for Minn. (AP 4/26)

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