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Stephanie Villafuerte's angry exit

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The Mainjustice.com article about Stephanie Villafuerte, who asked that her nomination as U.S. Attorney for Colorado be pulled back yesterday, sports a telling headline: "Republicans Get a Scalp."

Despite all the high-flown talk about justice and the search for truth, Villafuerte's nom was ultimately done in by old-fashioned politics, played to bloodsport perfection by Colorado GOP boss Dick Wadhams, among others.

Villafuerte's enemies will argue that there were a number of smoking guns in the case, but there was even more smoking innuendo. Today's Denver Post editorial praising Villafuerte for dropping out admits as much when it references "a convoluted situation in which accusations of impropriety had the ring of plausibility."

That's not nearly enough to convict anyone in a court of law, but the court of public opinion is another matter -- and the pro-Villafuerte forces couldn't risk throwing themselves on the mercy of that jury. Nonetheless, the anger and frustration in her withdrawal letter is palpable. Read it below:

December 14, 2009

The Honorable Eric H. Holder, Jr. Attorney General U.S. Department of Justice 950 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW Washington, D.C. 20530

Re: Colorado United States Attorney Nomination

Dear Mr. Attorney General:

It is with deep regret that I seek to withdraw my nomination for the United States Attorney for the District of Colorado.

In seeking and accepting the nomination for United States Attorney, my desire was to serve my State and Country, and to perform to the best of my abilities, and with integrity, the important responsibilities of United States Attorney. I am confident that I would have served well in this important position; my life experience, education and 18 years experience in public safety, most of them as a state and federal prosecutor, prepared me well for these duties. I have dedicated my life to the protection of Colorado's citizens and looked forward to continuing that work.

Unfortunately, a needless and extraneous political fight has emerged in Colorado and that fight, in my judgment, has completely overshadowed the deliberative and independent assessment of my qualifications for this important office. These political attacks surround my role in the 2006 Colorado gubernatorial campaign. At every stage of the process and consistent with Department of Justice protocols for U.S. Attorney nominees, I have honestly and thoroughly answered all questions posed to me about this issue. I continue to stand by my statements and maintain that my involvement was appropriate at all times.

I greatly honor the professionals in the Colorado United States Attorney's Office. Those professionals should not have to continue to labor under these distractions. Therefore, I feel it is my duty to ask Senators Udall and Bennet to remove my name from nomination, despite the continued support and encouragement to fight on that I have received from them and many others.

I was honored to be nominated and thank you for your time and courtesy.


Stephanie Villafuerte

cc: The Honorable Michael Bennet The Honorable Mark Udall

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