Alberto Gonzales has resigned his position as Attorney General in the wake of political controversy over corruption in the U.S. Department of Justice.
Gonzales' misleading testimony before Congress about the politically-motivated dismissal of nine U.S. attorneys and the wiretapping of suspected terrorists was a main factor leading up to his resignation. Despite the unwavering support of President Bush, Gonzales faced heated criticism from both Republicans and Democrats over abuses of power in the DOJ.
DOJ documents revealed that the firings of attorneys Paul Charlton (Arizona) and Dan Bogden (Nevada) were related to the Bush Administration's anti-porn agenda. AVN's Mark Kernes reported earlier this year, federal obscenity task force leader Brent Ward had expressed dissatisfaction with the attorneys' alleged lack of cooperation in pursuing obscenity cases.
In April, Gonzales repeatedly answered "I don't know" and "I can't recall" when questioned by Congress about the firings.
Gonzales reportedly submitted his official resignation on Friday, effective Sept. 17. His brief letter gave no explanation for his decision to step down.
White House officials told the Associated Press that Solicitor General Paul Clement will serve as acting attorney general until a
replacement is found. Leading candidates for the position reportedly include Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff.
"Alberto Gonzales was never the right man for this job," Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid. "He lacked independence, he lacked judgment, and he lacked the spine to say no to Karl Rove."
"The attorney general's decision to step down is a positive step forward for the Department of Justice," said Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine. "Attorney General Gonzales' ability to lead the Department of Justice had been undermined by his serious errors in judgment and conflicting statements."
"This resignation is not the end of the story," Reid told the Associated Press. "Congress must get to the bottom of this mess and follow the facts where they lead, into the White House."