GOP Sen. Domenici Hit By the Senate Ethics Committee

It's been over a year since New Mexico's longtime Republican Senator Pete Domenici was implicated in the prosecutor purge scandal -- a scandal that in no small part helped lead to his decision to retire rather than run for reelection -- but now the chickens are really coming home to roost: Domenici has been admonished by the Senate ethics panel.

The Senate Ethics Committee today issued GOP Sen. Pete Domenici of New Mexico a "public letter of qualified admonition" for his involvement in the Justice Department's firing of several US Attorneys last year. It was a scandal that helped lead to the resignation of former Attorney General Alberto Gonzales.

In March of 2007, former US Attorney David Iglesias testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee that Domenici had called him at home asking about an ongoing investigation of Democrats in the senator's home state of New Mexico. Iglesias said Domenici wanted to know the timing of indictments.

According to the transcript from the hearing, the US Attorney said the senator asked, "'Are these going to be filed before November?' And I said I didn't think so, to which [Domenici] replied, 'I'm very sorry to hear that.'" Iglesias then said, "the line went dead."

Domenici later apologized for the call, but said he did not pressure Iglesias to move on the case. The 75-year-old senator has since announced his retirement saying he was diagnosed with a dementia type brain ailment.  

The committee said it "finds no substantial evidence to determine that you attempted to improperly influence an ongoing investigation." But it did find that Domenici should have known his actions "created an appearance of impropriety that reflected unfavorable on the Senate."

It's not clear what, if any impact this news would have at this point; Democratic Congressman Tom Udall already appears on the inside track to replacing Domenici in the Senate despite Republican hopes of either Congresswoman Heather Wilson or Congressman Steve Pearce winning the New Mexico Senate race in November. Nevertheless, this news does at least round out the story and suggest that a United States Senator cannot attempt to bully a United States Attorney for political reasons and get away unscathed, either in the electoral realm (with Domenici not running for reelection) or in the public realm (with Domenici being publicly admonished by the Senate).

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new round of SUSA polls--Obama losing edge

The latest round of SUSA polls shows that Clinton has narrowed the electability gap overall. While she still lags slightly behind Barry, I've noted the following:

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NM-Sen: Tom Udall Continues to Look Great

Congressman Tom Udall, whom so many worked so diligently to try to draft to run for the Senate in New Mexico last year, has consistently looked great in head-to-head polling against either of his potential Republican opponents, Congressman Steve Pearce and Congresswoman Heather Wilson. The latest numbers on the race from Rasmussen Reports look little different.

The latest Rasmussen Reports telephone survey in New Mexico shows that Democratic Congressman Tom Udall has widened his lead over potential Republican opponents in the race for the state's open U.S. Senate seat.

Udall now leads Republicans Steve Pearce 54% to 40% and Heather Wilson 56% to 36%.

Among voters not affiliated with either major political party, Udall has a twelve-point advantage over Pearce. Udall leads Wilson 52% to 33% in that category.

Last month, Udall had an eight-point lead over Pearce and a seven-point lead over Wilson.

[...]

In New Mexico, Udall is now viewed favorably by 62% and unfavorably by just 29%. Wilson's numbers are 53% favorable, 52% unfavorable. Pearce is viewed favorably by 49% and unfavorably by 40%.

It's really great to see this race sitting as the Democrats second best Senate pick-up opportunity (behind Virginia). Although it looked for a while as though Udall would not run and instead Marty Chavez, who is not well liked throughout the state and who is extremely centrist, would be the leading Democratic candidate in the race. But as a result of a strong push, both from the grassroots inside the state and the netroots in the state and around the country, Udall reconsidered his decision not to run, now putting this race in the leans Democratic category. And lest you think that support should be given to Udall just because he has a good shot at winning (which he does), go back and take a look at his interview on this site to see that he would really be a strong progressive voice in the Senate. Very exciting stuff.

More over at NMFBIHOP...

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New Mexico: Week In Review (March 1 Edition)

Not quite as big a news roundup as last week. The start of the week was a bit slow, but the pace picked up near the end of the week.  Nothing as big as last week which featured the end of operations at the Albuquerque Tribune (still weird to walk by a newspaper machine at 3:00 in the afternoon and see a Journal staring out at you), but still some news happened.

Headlines

There were two Presidential match-up polls released this week for the state of New Mexico, and both showed Senator Barack Obama did better than Senator Hillary Clinton against Senator John McCain.  But both polls painted drastically different general election pictures.

Crossposted at New Mexico FBIHOP

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New SUSA Head to Head Polls

OHIO: (+ - 4.3%)

Clinton 52%
McCain 42%

Obama 47%
McCain 44%

MISSOURI:

Clinton 51%
McCain  44%

Obama 49%
McCain 43%

NEW MEXICO

Clinton 50%
McCain  45%

Obama 55%
McCain 40%

MINNESOTA:

Clinton 49%
McCain 45%

Obama 55%
McCain 40%

MASSACHUSETTS:

Clinton 52%
McCain  43%

Obama 48%
McCain 46%

CALIFORNIA:

Clinton 58%
McCain  35%

Obama 61%
McCain 34%

ALABAMA:

McCain 57%
Clinton 47%

McCain 58%
Obama 34%

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Diaries

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