Did Miers Tell Yang to Go or Be Fired?

I guess I’m writing a series of posts canvassing readers to clarify whether I heard or read something DiFi said in the Gonzales hearing correctly. This bit has to do with whether or not we knew that Miers discussed ousting Deborah Yang. Here’s the exchange:

FEINSTEIN: Now, I’d like to go on with something else.

Fromdocuments and interview, we know the following: The White House wasinvolved in the removal of Bud Cummins. Karl Rove called you and askedabout three districts: Milwaukee, Philadelphia and Albuquerque.

GONZALES: Senator, I don’t recall whether he called or if there was a visit. It may have been a call.


You got a call from the president about New Mexico in the fall of ’06.

GONZALES: Senator, I think that was a conversation. I don’t think it was a phone call.

FEINSTEIN: OK — conversation, thank you.

And Harriet Miers discussed whether to remove Deborah Yang from Los Angeles. Now, she resigned so she was not part of this.

Butgiven all these inquiries that we know about, how could you say justthree weeks ago that the White House did not play a role in adding ortaking off names? [my emphasis]

Now, as a reminder, Deborah Wong Yang was the USA for Los Angeles. Before she resigned last year, she was investigating Jerry Lewis for crimes associated with his role in the Appropriations process. After resigning, she amazingly ended up working for the firm–Gibson, Dunn, and Crutcher–defending Lewis. And if that’s not suspicious enough, she got a $1.5 million signing bonus to go to work there.

And here’s DiFi saying that Harriet Miers was talking about getting rid of Deborah Yang.

This may just be a case where I’m not remembering the document dumpclearly. I know Sampson discussed withYang about whether she has figured out what she’s going to do yet(looking for the reference–damn, I need binders again). But have weseen the document noting that Miers was looking into removing DeborahYang?

Because if we haven’t, this sure would seem to support the notion that Harriet Miers was running a hatchet shop to close down investigations into corrupt Republicans.

  1. William Ockham says:


    Are you aware that the HJC has posted searchable versions of almost all the document dumps?

  2. Mauimom says:

    Slightly OT, but relevant [EPU’d from FDL]:

    Does anyone know if Bush can take advantage of the “recess appointment†scam to sneak through a “new†AG? Or does that only apply to ambassadors?

    ‘Cause I think one thing that will give him pause is whom can he get through a confirmation hearing? OTOH, if he can sneak ‘em through, the House & Senate Dems better start coordinating their schedules: one can vacation while the other’s “in session,†then vice versa.

    Otherwise we’d better get used to â€General†Meiers or â€General†Hatch.

  3. eyesonthestreet says:

    Marcy, I listened to the whole thing, and throughout the proceedings yesterday references where made to the private testimony of staffers in the past week(s). I think if you go back to DIFI earlier she references the staffers private testimony. Hope that helps.

  4. Canuck Stuck in Muck says:

    EW. I’ve said this before, but it bears repeating. If it looks like it, and it smells like it, it’s probably shit, and I don’t have to taste it to make the correct inference. Yang was clearly BRIBED out of her position as USA. 1.5 mil ’signing bonus’ sounds like Grisham’s The Firm, to me. Good Gawd. Harriet effing Miers is a bird of prey.

  5. bmaz says:

    I think I was aghast at the 1.5 mil for Yang here a couple of weeks ago; but jeepers that just sticks out. Lam has no client base or accounts receivable to bring with her; if she did, and this was in New York or DC, you might, possibly, could see a 1.5 signing bonus. Its not like she is Greg Craig or Abbe Lowell or something. On the West Coast, bringing nothing more that herself, there is just no way. Then couple in that its Olson’s group to boot, and you indeed have a smelly situation.

  6. Anonymous says:

    I guess we should add this to the list of things to be investigated by the RICO special prosecutor.

  7. Carolyn in Baltimore says:

    Didn’t Harriet make her bones cleaning W’s Nat’l Guard records. Er, I mean scrubbing?

  8. bil says:

    Yang was clearly BRIBED out of her position as USA.

    I think this is quite possible. Or, she decided that she’d better get out before she was completely tainted by the Lewis investigation and unemployable in republican circles.

    See OAG 000 000 200 to 208:

    She and Kyle Sampson appear to be quite tight.

  9. Splash says:

    Well, let’s not forget that Yang would also have brought with her, to the firm, confidential information about the investigation of Lewis! Information that would greatly benefit clients of the firm if they were to find out about it. Now, of course, ethical rules require that Yang not disclose any of that information and not be involved with the case after joining the firm – but who knows what is discussed over the water cooler? Yikes.

  10. Anonymous says:

    hey, ew, I know Hopsicker is not really your style, but he has an interesting take on Lam and Jerry Lewis – that perhaps Lam had a sealed indictment against Lewis which DiFi also almost elicited from Lam. the rambling and speculative story is at Madcow morning news http://www.madcowprod.com/04102007.html

  11. Neil says:

    Yang joined Gibson Dunn law firm as a â€lateral†partner. Lateral here means she didn’t work her way up from lowly associate. I presume she joined without a book of business… unless she was moonlighting after normal working house at the US Atty Office. This (lateral partner with no book of business) is a little odd but not unheard of. She has an impressive resume with broad and high level experience.

    Yang is co-chair of a practice group (legal specialty), which means she doesn’t have sole responsibility for running a practice group. So she’s joining an existing practice and they want to give her some responsibility, or appearance of it, or title.

    Lateral partners are attractive to firms because 1) they bring a book of business, 2) they have expertise and 3) they are judged to be compatible with the firm culture. I assume Yang has two of the three qualifications… or one of the two important financial ones.

    Many firms have a two tier partner system. The low tier is partner in name only, sometimes referred to internally as ’junior partner.’ The higher tier is an actual partner, sometimes called ’capital partner’. Capital partners are identified in the partnership agreement and they are entitled to a share of the profits.

    Capital partners pay into the partnership when they accept an offer to join it. A payment schedule is arranged because the total capital paid in can be substantial. The capital represents the new partner’s share in the firm’s actual property as well as the new capital partner’s commitment to the business. [Law firms tend to operate on bank loans from the beginning of their fiscal year until they get out of the red. ’Paid in capital’ can be used to reduce costs by reducing operating loans. Law firms and other private partnerships tend to distribute all profits in the year they are booked and start each new fiscal year from scratch.]

    I have found nothing to indicate whether Yang’s status as partner is junior partner or capital partner but this info is usually internal only anyway.

    The reason it would be good to know Yang’s status is that a $1.5 million signing bonus makes a little more sense as a deal sweetner for a lateral capital partner than it does as a signing bonus for a junior partner. As capital partner a $1.5 million bonus might represent some or all ’paid in capital’ payments. At the same time, no law firm is likely to make an attorney an offer to become a capital partner unless the attorney has a client list to merit full partner status. There’s an expression in the business: â€you eat what you killâ€, which means rainmakers who bring in clients and keep billing them get paid – others go hungry.

    Either way, Yang’s $1.5 million signing bonus incentive comes out of other partners’s profits, dollar for dollar, where profits equals total revenue less total expense.

    In 2006 Gibson Dunn & Crutcher Per Partner Income (PPI) was $1.75 million. link

    Per Partner Income is total profits divided by the number of capital partners. [A partner’s actual compensation is a far more complex calculation which includes incentive for client origination, time spent on fees collected, etc. Some partners make $10 million others $500,000. PPI is a measure of the average partner income.]

    Whether a junior or capital partner, they gave Yang approximately one year’s worth of partner pay as signing bonus. Wow wow wee wah.

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