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April 28, 2007


Poor thing. To have to submit to those mean, non-rubberstamping Senate bullies. He might have to answer questions about character and qualifications and procedure. I do love the "gumming" comment; how perfect for a toothless administration who cry like babies and whine like old men...

BTW Marcy, has anyone sacrificed their week to produce a time line and/or general outline on this DoJ mess? I'd love to get an overview of the situation, kind of like a map we can use to get everyone and their chronology straight, then fill in the details with the half-dozen revelations that are popping up each day. A handy-dandy DoJ scandal Wiki would end up being printed out and carried around by nearly everyone in the capital--and a lot of us out here in the hinterland. Might sell more daily copies than the Post.

Interesting...means Rove sicced the attack dog on us for daring to question the nebulous stature of Griffin's appointment.

Certainly would be nice to see Arkansans kick up a stink about getting someone crammed down their throats that does not have a requisite level of law enforcement experience.

(I take it this is a Raising The Blinds-type post?)

Griffin's statement that "he" would not put his name forward for confirmation is simply consistent with the "gumming to death" strategy, and within the as yet not revoked authority to keep an interim USA in office without seeking confirmation. Not a lie, not the truth. Pretty much the Bush communications strategy on everything.

Griffin isn't the only one. Where are the other nominations to open/unconfirmed USA slots?


Those other non-nominations actually work in our favor. The people in place, with the exception of NoCal, are merit employees, not political appoints. So they're likely to be more fair than anyone BushCO would approve. THough we know there's some active lobbying going on in Washington already.

marksb: here's a timeline of the USA firing extravaganza. No new updates since March 29...


this brings to mind a question bothering me for some time.

why haven't most of these "interim" u.s. a's been replaced?

at least some of them - griffin and palouse - have come under criticism.

the entire process was clearly questionable, at best.

wouldn't it be a sensible political gesture for the doj/attny gen/white house to recall all those new u.s. a's and put in career prosecutors temporarily, say the deputy in each office?

these guys seem to be tone deaf when it comes to the give-and-take of real american politics.

they behave more like robert mugabe than lyndon johnson.

Hey EW - This a bit off the current topic, sorry, but did you see the comment posted by "Laser Haas" at the end of the Dzwilewski thread regarding evisceration of US Trustee recoveries? I don't know diddly squat about BK law (although I somehow argued a Chapter 13 case all the way through the 9th Circuit as the result of a personal injury trial verdict) but the comment seemed interesting. What Haas was describing had never crossed my mind, but is inherently consistent with other, more familiar, actions we have seen out of the Bush/Gonzales DOJ such as the insane reduction of penalty sought on the tobacco litigation and other penalties and assessments either not sought, or sought in inexplicably reduced amounts, against big corporate and business friends. I will personally admit that the BK stuff does not have the glossy outrage factor of the USA aspect, but it would be every bit as much a breach of the public trust and fiduciary duty. If the pattern that Haas describes is in fact true, and at this point of the miasma I assume it probably is, billions of dollars are being left on the table to the benefit of their corporate cronies and to the detriment of everything the people need to fund such as education, healthcare, infrastructure etc.

I would love to be an attorney representing a defendant in the Eastern District of Arkansas in any case that has overlapped the end of Griffin's 120 day term.

The question of the legitimacy of the US attorney, and by extension the whole office, would likely be a helpful development.

Thanks tekel, the timeline on TPM is brilliant. Reminds me of buying a program on the way into Dodger Stadium when I was a kid, so I could review all the players and their stats.

the "Transitions in Arkansas" is in last nights dump. It's in section 8 near the beginning. I think it was around bates stamp 1420? going from memory - but definitely towards the front end of that section

also right around there is an interesting "marked up" version of the letter to Harry Reid from DOJ- it shows changes/deletions

plukusiak posted some of it and some analysis in the research thread over at TPM

also, if you are over there, check out pluk's other comment about the difference between "acting" and "interim" USA's

it appears that if the assistant attorney got promoted when someone left, they were "acting"

the ones they hand-picked for replacements were named "interim"

definitely worth a look

OT - except insofar as everything seems to be connected somehow to everything else...

Someone over at dKos mentioned that Dzwileski from the Lam case might also have had some knowledge about the Abramoff case related removal of Black in Guam, since he was based in Honolulu at the time and the Honolulu office oversaw Guam.

No link I'm afraid. But presumably easy to check up on. Any thoughts? Worth the Dems asking him to testify as to any striking parallels between Lam's departure and Black's?

Thanks whitewidow--will check it out.

bmaz, @ 13:39

I am a bankruptcy lawyer, and I will take a look at the materials on Monday. There are a lot of disgruntled shareholders in bankruptcy cases, and I have dealt with a significant number of them as counsel to a Chapter 7 Trustee over the last 23 years, but some of them are right to be disgruntled.

Masaccio - Thank you. Feel free to email (click name) me if necessary. Something tells me there is at least some truth here. The whole idea of politicizing the DOJ is to selectively benefit your agenda and your chosen people and causes. Manipulation of the US Trustees in this regard would be an incredibly easy and under the radar way to do just that. If they will try this crap with the US Attys, it is hard to believe they wouldn't do it with the Trustees; it would almost be a no brainer for this group. If this is indeed going on, it needs to be made far more publically known. Thanks again.

The provision that enabled Abu G to appoint Griffin to a limitless term as "interim" USA was repealed, and I don't believe that the repealing statuted grandfathered interim USAs appointed before the repeal. Without reading the repealing statute, however, I don't know when the 120 day "clock" starts ticking on the position. Depending on what the statute says, it's possible that Dubya has up to 120 days from the repeal of the statute to nominate a permanent USA for the ED Arkansas.

Thanks l-mom, as always.

I'd really love to see the "Transition in Arkansas" email discussions, because the versions of that document are pretty interesting. Most interesting is that they all cite Griffin as the number one choice for USA in the Western district of Arkasas when that position became vacant in 2004 -- but that Griffin chose to accept a job with Bush-Cheney 04 instead.

One problem.... Griffin started his BC04 job in 2002.

one point that I hadn't seen mentioned anywhere (although it may well have been) is a pattern that is evident in appointing replacements.

Once the new "interim" provision was in place, if the First Assistant USA within the district was bumped up to USA, it was always an "Acting" appointment with a 210 day time limit. However, if someone from outside the district was brought in, they got an "Interim" position. (Three FAUSAs got Acting appointments whose terms expired -- two [loyal Bushies?] were then given "Interim" appointments, while in Alaska an outsider [Nelson Cohen] was brought in as an "Interim" appointment.)

Perhaps the best example of this is the Northern District of Iowa, where the USA took federal retirement as on December 31, 2006, and FAUSA Judi Whetstine was given an "Acting" appointment. Twenty-seven days later, she's retired, and Matt Dummermuth was appointed "Interim".

Dummermuth is 33 year old a religious right conservative who worked for two years in the DoJ Civil Rights division Oct 2002-Dec 2004, disappeard for four months, then spent a year in the Eatern District of Virginia May 2005-May 2006 and then went back to the civil rights Division. Interestingly, Monica Goodling worked in EDVA from September 2004 until "spring 2005 -- it looks like as Monica was rotated out, Dummermuth was rotated in.)

Whetstine is interesting because in early versions of the summaries she is just listed as "Acting"...but one version (page 33)


says "She is not a candidate for nomination and is retiring this month which will create a need for an interim selection."

The whole thing sounds like Whetstine was forced out --- it does not appear as if she'd announced her "retirement" until after she took over the "Acting" USA job. Perhaps she was told that she wouldn't be considered for the nomination, and that Dummermuth was coming?

Holy crap....

did anyone realize that Judi Whetstine is the wife of Bob Rush, the guy who beat Republican Jim Leach in Iowa's first district in November?

oops... Bob Rush was not the candidate this year.... he ran (and lost) to Leach in 1996.

p luk

I agree, the Whetstone thing looks really dicey. Moreso because Chuck Larson looked like a great candidate to be on the firing list, had he not retired. So I actually wonder whether Dummermuth was the last of the hack replacements they got in--as you suggest, the intended candidate from the start.

Nice catch on the Bob Rush stuff.

I see that the Preserving United States Attorney Independence Act passed in both Houses at the end of March. But I can find no cites indicating that joint legislation was sent to the President for signature, and whether he signed it or let it become law without his signature. Any cites?


My understanding is that there are some minor differences between the House and Senate versions that haver to be ironed out in conference committee, at which point they need to pass both houses again, at which point it's presented to Bush to become law.

Thanks. LitigatorMom had commented that the Act was already passed, but I could find no cite to confirm it. According to Sen. Leahy, there are eighteen USA's that are either "acting" or "interim", with no schedule to consider permanent appointments. That's twenty percent. EW seems to think that most are career professionals, so we're not so bad off as the numbers suggest.

According to a 2003 memo in the Friday document dump, even under the old law, the same person could stay as an unconfirmed USA for up to 330 days by using a combination of "acting" and "interim" appointments. Even with a repeal of the offending provision then, USA's and their legal staffs, like other federal career appointees, remain hostage to Bush's failure of leadership.


Sorry, I was referring specifically to the acting USAs who replaced the Gonzales 8, not the wider universe of replacement USAs. We know Griffin is a hack, so he bears watching. And in NoCal they shipped someone out from main DOJ. It is the remaining 6--Chiara, Lam, Bogden, Charlton, Iglesias, and McKay--for whom the replacements are career people (and, having done a little bit of googling, neither do any look like theyw ere sent out from main DOJ). So for now, we ought to watch the Griffins, Taylors, and Paulose most closely.

I talked to a couple of people, and, so far, can find no evidence of a solid name to replace Knauss here in AZ. Some rumors he will stay, some he will go. My hunch is he will be out if they ever get their feet under them again at DOJ Main.

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