Topic: Alberto R. Gonzales

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Alberto R. Gonzales (born August 4, 1955) was the 80th Attorney General of the United States. Gonzales was appointed to the post in February 2005 by President George W. Bush. Gonzales is the first Hispanic Attorney General in U.S. history and the highest-ranking Hispanic government official ever. He is the only lawyer in the nation’s history to serve as both White House Counsel and Attorney General of the United States. While Bush was Governor of Texas, Gonzales had served as his general counsel, and subsequently he served as Secretary of State of Texas and then on the Texas Supreme Court. From 2001 to 2005, Gonzales served in the Bush Administration as White House Counsel. Gonzales is the first Hispanic to serve as White House Counsel. In designating Gonzales as the Hispanic American of the Year in 2005, HISPANIC Magazine wrote, “No national Hispanic political figure in recent years has reached such heights…has been given such political attention…and stirred such deep emotions.” “This was a man who had clawed his way out of poverty in South Texas to a successful legal career, a stint in a variety of public posts in Austin, and eventually to the distinction as the nation’s first Hispanic attorney general. At his peak, many hailed him as the quintessential American success story, an underdog who beat the odds.” As the National Journal noted, because “the Justice Department oversees so much controversial turf—from civil rights to terrorism to abortion—students of history say it is natural that attorneys general are controversial.” He was involved in several controversies and accused of perjury before Congress, although no charges were ever filed. On August 27, 2007 Gonzales announced his resignation as Attorney General, effective September 17, 2007.

“Three inspector general probes have all exonerated Gonzales of a litany of accusations that he had committed criminal acts in Washington. The results of the last one came in July when a Department of Justice-appointed investigator cleared Gonzales of any wrongdoing in the controversial removal of eight U.S. Attorneys in 2007. Gonzales says he never doubted he’d be vindicated.” In a Wall Street Journal editorial titled “General Piñata’s Exoneration”, the Journal wrote “if a Washington scandal ends long after it can be milked for a political gain, and it turns out there was nothing to it, does anyone notice? Consider the whimpering end to the once ferocious controversy over the firing of nine U.S. Attorneys”…..The Justice Department informed Congress….that a special investigator in the case found no evidence of wrongdoing. ….The findings of investigator Nora Dannehy confirm that this fiasco was always a political dispute, not a criminal one. In 2008, Gonzales began a mediation and consulting practice. Additionally, in August 2009, Gonzales began teaching a political science course at Texas Tech University. He has also served as a diversity recruiter for the Texas Tech University System, speaking to high school students, parents, educators, veterans, business and community leaders about the importance of an education.

Alberto Gonzales was born to a Catholic family in San Antonio, Texas, and raised in Humble, a town outside of Houston. Of Mexican descent, he was the second of eight children born to Pablo and Maria Gonzales. His father, who died in 1982, was a migrant worker and then a construction worker with a second grade education. His mother worked at home raising eight children and had a sixth grade education. Gonzales and his family of ten lived in a small, two-bedroom home built by his father and uncles with no telephone and no hot running water. According to Gonzales, he is unaware whether immigration documentation exists for three of his grandparents who were born in Mexico and who, like Gonzales and his family, were poor and uneducated and thus they may have entered and resided in the United States illegally from Mexico or they may have entered and resided legally.

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