The truth behind the departure of Todd Graves as a U. S. attorney from Missouri is more elusive than ever, following testimony today by former Department of Justice official Monica Goodling.
Ms. Goodling indicated Graves was under investigation by the Inspector General:
Monica Goodling, who resigned last month as the Justice Department's White House liaison, did not specify what Graves was being investigated for in her testimony to the House Judiciary Committee.
"My memory of the reason why I was thinking that Mr. Graves had been asked to leave related more to the fact that he was under investigation by the inspector general," Goodling said.
Graves, in a telephone interview, called Goodling's testimony "outrageous," though he disclosed for the first time that the department's inspector general was, in fact, investigating the circumstances surrounding an employee who had been terminated from Graves' office in 2005.
Of course, Graves has his own version of how everything went down:
Graves, who resigned from his post in March 2006, has said he disagreed with senior Justice Department officials over his refusal to sign off on a voter fraud case in Missouri.
But Goodling told lawmakers she does not believe any disputes over the voter fraud case played any part in Graves being forced out.
Goodling also told lawmakers that the move to replace Graves should not be lumped into the investigation of eight other chief prosecutors forced from office.
While Graves said he cannot be sure what investigation Goodling is referring to, he dismissed any suggestion the employment inquiry was the reason he was asked to resign.
"As part of that termination process, a vague allegation was made against me that I had inappropriately attended a political fundraiser," Graves said. "The allegation was frivolous, false and vague, but we recognized that it might become a 'whistleblower' issue in what we considered was imminent litigation over the termination."