The Progressive


A project of Common Dreams

For Immediate Release

Naomi Seligman 202.408.5565

CREW Files Ethics Complaint Against Sen. Kit Bond for Role in Firing of Former US Attorney Todd Graves


Earlier today, Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington ("CREW") filed a complaint with the Senate Ethics Committee against Sen. Christopher "Kit" Bond (R-MO) for his role in removing Todd Graves, the former U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Missouri, from his position.

CREW filed its complaint following the September 29th release by the Department of Justice's Office of Inspector General ("OIG") and Office of Professional Responsibility ("OPR") of their report, An Investigation into the Removal of Nine U.S. Attorneys in 2006. The report concludes that Sen. Bond's office inappropriately sought Mr. Graves's removal.

Former legal counsel for Sen. Bond, Jack Bartling, admitted to asking the White House Counsel's office to seek Mr. Graves's removal. Mr. Bartling also talked to Justice official Michael Elston about keeping Sen. Bond's role a secret. Sen. Bond's office became dissatisfied with Mr. Graves after he refused to intervene in a dispute between Sen. Bond's office and that of Mr. Graves's brother, Rep. Sam Graves (R-MO). Mr. Graves told investigators that a member of Sen. Bond's staff had called him to insist that he use his influence to force Rep. Graves to fire his chief of staff. When Mr. Graves refused, the Bond staffer told him "they could no longer protect his job."

The OIG and OPR found it "extremely troubling that the impetus for Graves's removal as U.S. Attorney appears to have stemmed from U.S. Attorney Graves's decision not to respond to a Bond staff member's demand to get involved in personnel decisions in Representative Sam Graves's congressional office."

In its complaint, CREW alleges that by seeking Graves's removal to punish him for refusing to intervene in a dispute between two congressional offices, Sen. Bond and his staff violated Senate rules prohibiting "improper conduct which may reflect upon the Senate."

CREW Executive Director Melanie Sloan stated, "When Mr. Graves appropriately refused to tell his brother the congressman to fire one of his staff members, Sen. Bond petulantly demanded Mr. Graves be fired." Sloan continued, "What adult acts like this? Senators are not spoiled children who can lash out on the playground - in this case the Department of Justice - when they don't get their way. U.S. Attorneys are not toadies for their Senate sponsors, they are federal law enforcement officials. The Senate Ethics Committee should immediately investigate this matter and sanction Sen. Bond and his staff."

Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization dedicated to promoting ethics and accountability in government and public life by targeting government officials -- regardless of party affiliation -- who sacrifice the common good to special interests. CREW advances its mission using a combination of research, litigation and media outreach.