Bud Cummins, former U.S. Attorney from Arkansas, accuses U.S. Justice Department spokesperson Brian Roehrkasse for making false or misleading statements in connection with the dismissal of U.S. Attorneys. Cummins was one of those who lost his job. Writing in the Washington Monthly, Cummins says “Roehrkasse did more than perhaps any other DOJ official to disseminate the avalanche of untruths” in the U.S. Attorney flap. Cummins offers five examples.
In one of them, Cummins says that several weeks after he resigned and just after he had been quoted expressing concern about the allegations against my colleagues, he received an unpleasant phone call from Michael Elston, chief of staff to then-Deputy Attorney General Paul McNulty. Elston warned that if I–or other fired colleagues–continued to respond to media inquiries about the firings, the DOJ might have to roll out more damaging allegations in the press. McClatchy Newspapers learned about Elston’s call to me and ran a piece about it. Brian Roehrkasse criticized McClatchy for running the piece, calling the Elston call “a conversation that never took place.” The problem is that it did take place, Cummins says. The story was accurate, and we proved it. In fact, at least three of us had received similar threatening calls, and Elston himself didn’t even bother to deny having spoken to us, saying instead that he was “shocked and baffled” over what he said had been a misunderstanding. Roekhrkasse responded: “I’ve always strived to provide truth and accuracy in my statements based on the best information available to me.”