What Fresh Hell Is This?

April 18, 2007

More on Mary Beth Buchanan

Again from Pamela Reed Ward at the P-G.

On top of all the good stuff from yesterday, Ward's added this:

According to the Justice Department Web site, the major functions of the Executive Office for United States Attorneys include "evaluating the performance of the Offices of U.S. Attorneys, making appropriate reports and taking corrective action where necessary" and "providing support to Deputy Attorney Generals regarding U.S. attorney appointments."

But former federal prosecutors said that is rarely the role of the executive office.

"EOUSA is an administrative office that is designed to serve as a conduit between main Justice and the field," said former U.S. Attorney Harry Litman. "It doesn't supervise U.S. attorneys, and it would never be their call to remove a U.S. attorney."

I'd wondered about that. I wouldn't be surprised, however, if this administration decided to shift the job description. According to the Boston Globe, they were putting inexperienced Regent Law School grads in very important positions, why not turn the EOUSA into another political tool?

But here's the bigger question. Did any of the other US Attorneys know that the EOUSA was being used to supervise them? Were any of the other US Attorneys under the impression that the EOUSA was just an "administrative office" while Mary Beth Buchanan was being consulted by the administration about removing some of them?

Ward has more:

Ms. Buchanan also has earned favor within the administration by following the path of many Bush insiders as a member of the Federalist Society.

That was among the criteria in a set of Justice Department documents, released last week to the Judiciary Committee, listing the qualifications of U.S. attorneys.

The categories include political experience, either local, state or federal; prosecution experience, both state and federal; and membership in the Federalist Society for Law and Public Policy Studies, a group of 35,000, founded by conservative law students.

For Ms. Buchanan, it lists her federal prosecutorial career from 1988 to 2001, and that she is a member of the Federalist Society.

This was a minor news story of the past few days - how the administration was tracking the political activities of the US Attorneys.

Jason Corto Cato at the Trib has this:

U.S. Attorney Mary Beth Buchanan might have played a role in determining which of her colleagues got the ax, and the House Judiciary Committee wants her to provide details of what she knew and when she knew it.

Attorney General Alberto Gonzales' former chief of staff, Kyle Sampson, told Senate investigators that he consulted with Buchanan about which U.S. attorneys should be asked to step down, according to a Senate Judiciary Committee aide who read a transcript of Sunday's interview to The Associated Press.

The good stuff comes a few paragraphs later.

A Justice Department official said Sampson consulted Buchanan while she was director of the Executive Office for U.S. Attorneys, which provides administrative support for U.S. attorneys offices across the country. Buchanan held that job from June 2004 to June 2005. During that time, a Justice Department chart rating U.S. attorneys was sent to the White House.

Working for Buchanan at that time was Monica Goodling. The former counsel to Gonzales and liaison to the White House has refused to cooperate with congressional investigators about her role in orchestrating the firings.[emphasis added]

Just to tie everything in a nice bow, Monica Goodling was one of those inexperienced Regent Law graduates installed in important positions in the Department of Justice.

It's so nice when everything comes full circle, doesn't it?


Anonymous said...

Just as an FYI, the Pittsburgh Tirbune Reporter is Jason Cato not Jason Corto.

As for the PG writer, Ms. Paula Reed Ward, it is know that she is basically the second press agent for Ms. Buchanan. In the past two years, she has written news worthy stories about the trouble of Ms. Buchanan having her passport eaten by her dog and the nice article about Ms. Buchanan being excused from jury duty. A simple web search will show that each time someone criticizes Ms. Buchanan's office, Ms. Paula Reed Ward writes a article in support of Ms. Buchanan.

I'm not in favor of slamming the press, but Ms. Paula Reed Ward is far from the press.

dayvoe said...

Apologies to Mr Cato. I fixed the name