NEW CALLS FROM DEMOCRATS
...Democrats stepped up their calls for an independent investigation of the leak of the CIA officer’s identity, charging that political ties between Attorney General John Ashcroft and White House senior political adviser Karl Rove represented a serious conflict of interest.
A company controlled by Rove, whom the CIA officer’s husband has accused of at least condoning the leak, was paid more than $300,000 by Ashcroft’s 1994 Senate campaign in Missouri for direct mail work and other services, The New York Times reported Friday, citing campaign finance data.
Rove, President Bush’s top political adviser, also played a role in two earlier Ashcroft campaigns for governor.
Disclosure of the ties between Rove and Ashcroft has emboldened Democrats to push harder for a special counsel to investigate the leak.
“Given allegations about the involvement of senior White House officials and the past close association between the attorney general and one of those officials, the investigation should be headed by a person independent of the administration,” House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., said in a statement issued Thursday. “If there ever was a case for the appointment of a special counsel, this is it...”