Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Sampson takes responsibility for firing debacle

By Suzanne StruglinskiDeseret Morning News
WASHINGTON — Utah-native D. Kyle Sampson will apologize to his former Justice Department colleagues for allow the controversy surrounding the firing of eight U.S. to grow into "an ugly, undignified spectacle," according to testimony released Wednesday. "What started as a good faith attempt to carry out the Department's management responsibilities and exercise the President's appointment authority has unfortunately resulted in confusion, misunderstanding and embarrassment," according to Sampson's prepared testimony obtained by the Deseret Morning News. "This should have not happened." Sampson is to testify Thursday before the Senate Judiciary Committee on his role in the bungled dismissal of U.S. Attorneys. Sampson is the only official to resign in the scandal that has Congress claiming it was misled in the White House's involvement in the firings. In this three-page statement, Sampson's statement says he resigned as Attorney General Alberto Gonzales' chief of staff earlier this month because he "simply felt honor-bound to accept my share of blame for this problem and to hold myself accountable."

"When members of Congress began to raise questions about these removals, I believe the department's response was badly mishandled," according to Sampson's statement. "It was mishandled through an unfortunate combination of poor judgments, poor word choices, and poor communication and preparation for the department's testimony before Congress." Sampson said the mistakes he made were done not intentionally to misled Congress or anyone involved. "The mistakes I made here were made honestly and in good faith," Sampson said. "I never sought to conceal or withhold any material fact about this matter from anyone." "The truth of this affair as I see it is this: the decisions to seek the resignations of a handful of U.S. Attorneys were properly made but poorly explained," according to his statement. "This is a benign rather than sinister story and I know that some may be indisposed to accept it. But it is the truth as I observed and experienced it."

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