Commentary: Factoring in Rove

President Bush's political advisor appears to have had excessive influence on the infamous dismissal of U.S. attorneys.What's filtering out from congressional investigations into the firing of several United States attorneys in 2006 by the Bush administration isn't exactly supporting the long-held contention of administration officials that the firings were not political.

If they weren't, then why would the then-president's senior political aide, Karl Rove, be shown in documents released by the House Judiciary Committee to have been involved in discussions about the U.S. attorneys who were fired? One part of the investigation touches on one who was dismissed, David Iglesias of New Mexico.

Iglesias apparently was not pursuing voter fraud investigations in his state with enough vigor to suit the White House, which under George Bush and with Rove as the politics guru longed to get Democrats in trouble whenever possible. (The Democrats were a focus of the voter fraud probe.) Republican Sen. Pete Domenici of New Mexico had called then-Attorney General Alberto Gonzales to complain about Iglesias.

Eventually, although he'd had positive reviews of his performance, Iglesias was dismissed.

Rove's lawyer says the documents (including e-mails) released by the House committee don't lay a glove on his client, and that Rove and others were concerned about voter fraud and talking about "completely reasonable and legitimate policy questions." That lawyer couldn't have been expected to point out that Republicans have used purported concerns about voter fraud as a way to intimidate voters whom they regard as likely to have a Democratic tilt.

To read the complete editorial, visit The (Raleigh) News & Observer.