WASHINGTON -- Former Sen. Peter Fitzgerald (R-Ill.) said Tuesday that White House political adviser Karl Rove told him in the spring of 2001 that he should limit his choice for U.S. attorney in Chicago to someone from Illinois.

According to Fitzgerald, who was determined to bring in a prosecutor from outside the state, Rove "just said we don't want you going outside the state. We don't want to be moving U.S. attorneys around."

Fitzgerald said he believes Rove was trying to influence the selection in reaction to pressure from Rep. Dennis Hastert, then speaker of the House, and allies of then-Gov. George Ryan, who knew Fitzgerald was seeking someone from outside Illinois to attack political corruption.

Fitzgerald said he announced his choice, Patrick Fitzgerald (no relation), a New Yorker, on May 13, a Mother's Day Sunday, to pre-empt any opposition.

A year or so later, according to Peter Fitzgerald, Rove "said to me that Fitzgerald appointment got great headlines for you, but it ticked off the base." Peter Fitzgerald said he believes the "base" was Illinois Republican insiders upset at the prosecutor's assault on corruption.

Aides to Hastert say they never heard about any directives regarding the appointment.

"He [Sen. Fitzgerald] set up his own process, never talked to anyone about the process and then released the name before he told the president," said Mike Stokke, who was Hastert's deputy chief of staff at the time.

White House spokeswoman Dana Perino said "the White House would not have objected had a senator's recommendation been a nominee from outside of the state."

Peter Fitzgerald said he gives Rove credit for not interfering with the nomination once it was made public.

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GEEEE didnt see this one coming 20 miles away.