Minnesota case fits pattern in U.S. attorneys flap
A prosecutor apparently targeted for firing had supported Native American voters’ rights.
By Tom Hamburger, Times Staff Writer
May 31, 2007
WASHINGTON – For more than 15 years, clean-cut, square-jawed Tom Heffelfinger was the embodiment of a tough Republican prosecutor. Named U.S. attorney for Minnesota in 1991, he won a series of high-profile white-collar crime and gun and explosives cases. By the time Heffelfinger resigned last year, his office had collected a string of awards and commendations from the Justice Department.
So it came as a surprise – and something of a mystery – when he turned up on a list of U.S. attorneys who had been targeted for firing.
Part of the reason, government documents and other evidence suggest, is that he tried to protect voting rights for Native Americans.