They think there is more to learn about the firings of eight federal prosecutors last year.
Members of the Senate Judiciary Committee, indicating they think there is more to learn about the firings of eight federal prosecutors last year, asked Atty. Gen. Alberto R. Gonzales on Monday to turn over additional documents on the terminations and threatened to issue subpoenas if the materials were not forthcoming.
Specifically, the four senators want the internal rankings that the Justice Department made of all 93 U.S. attorneys over the years, as well as employment charts that Monica M. Goodling, a top aide to Gonzales, provided to Justice officials as they decided which prosecutors to fire.
The senators have also asked for the department's ratings of all 93 prosecutors in December, when seven of the eight were fired, including explanations why officials decided that certain prosecutors "might be on his or her way out" and why others were allowed to remain.
Three Democrats on the committee — Chairman Patrick J. Leahy of Vermont, Dianne Feinstein of California and Charles E. Schumer of New York — and the panel's top Republican, Arlen Specter of Pennsylvania, asked that the documents be turned over by Wednesday so committee investigators could review them before Gonzales' scheduled testimony next Tuesday.
"We hope subpoenas will not be necessary to compel cooperation with the committee's investigation," the senators said in their letter to Gonzales.
The Justice Department had no immediate response.