US Attorney Portfolio

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ePluribus Media's on-going series on US Attorneys will bring background stories on many US Attorneys ... we started with US Attorneys: Kevin Ryan, Carol Lam, Paul Charlton, HE Cummins, David Iglesias, John McKay and Daniel Bogden. With the exception of Bud Cummins, these attorneys were all "resigned" on December 7, 2006.

Margaret Chiara

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Recently, an eighth name was added to the list of the Gonzales Seven, the U.S. Attorneys forced to resign since the reauthorization of the Patriot Act in March of 2006.  It now appears Margaret Chiara can also be added to the list of attorneys receiving their phone calls on December 7th, 2006 -- Pearl Harbor Day. In his opening remarks to the House committee hearings, Principal Associate Deputy Attorney General William Moschella stated that there are 18 who have resigned since March 2006.

The U.S. Attorney story to date:

On Tuesday March 6th, 2007, under oath in front of Congress, six recently fired US Attorneys gave testimony compelled by subpoenas issued on Friday, March 2nd. H.E. "Bud" Cummins, Paul Charlton, Daniel Bogden, David Iglesias, Carol Lam and John McKay testified in front of the House Judiciary Subcommittee on Commercial and Administrative Law, with Lam, McKay, Iglesias and Cummins also testifying in front of the Senate Judiciary Committee earlier the same day.

Spotlight on Paul Charlton, Arizona

Paul Charlton
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The Curious Tale of Paul Charlton

While serving the state of Arizona as US Attorney, Paul Charlton garnered a good reputation with many organizations, from the local to the national level. Nominated by George W. Bush and approved by the Senate in 2001, Charlton spent five years creating a reputation that had the FBI calling him supportive and proactive, the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) calling him outstanding and dedicated, and local officials said he was responsive and diplomatic.

During his tenure as the Arizona U.S. Attorney, Charlton established the Anti-Terrorism Advisory Council (ATAC), a program that has improved communication and coordination between law enforcement agencies; a National Security Division within the U.S. Attorney' s Office to actively work with law enforcement agencies on terrorism related criminal cases, and expanded the Victim Advocate staff in his office to better serve crime victims. In 2002, the U.S. Attorney' s Office Victim Witness Program was awarded the Federal Service Award, and this December the U.S. Department of Justice announced that the Arizona U.S. Attorney's Office would serve as a national "Model Program."1

Not bad work for a 15-year veteran of the U.S. Attorney's office, and clearly not the kind of person you'd expect to make waves or cause trouble for his superiors. So it's surprising to discover that Charlton was one of seven US Attorneys that were asked to resign by the Administration on December 7th, 2006.

Spotlight on H.E. Cummins, Eastern Arkansas

HE Cummins
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It isn't new news that US Attorney H.E. "Bud" Cummins (Eastern District of Arkansas) "resigned" abruptly in December 2006.  And it isn't new news that former aide to Karl Rove, J. Timothy Griffin was picked by Attorney General Alberto Gonzalez to be Cummins' replacement.

And it certainly isn't new news that Arkansas Senators Mark Pryor and Blanche Lincoln (both Democrats) have been critical of the circumvention of the process that normally has the Senate provide its advice and consent regarding the appointment of US Attorneys.

Spotlight on Carol Lam, Southern California

Carol Lam
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On January 16th, 2007 Carol Lam, US Attorney for California's Southern District, announced she would step down from her post, and her last day will be February 15th, 2007.

According to an article in the San Diego Union-Tribune:

Lam was targeted for dismissal because of "performance-related" issues after the Justice Department received complaints from members of Congress about her handling of immigration enforcement cases, said Deputy Attorney General Paul McNulty.

However, there is another side to the dismissal. From the same Union-Tribune article:

The critics have speculated that Lam is being removed to cripple an investigation into corruption in Congress. Lam's office prosecuted former Congressman Randy "Duke" Cunningham, and that case has led to investigations of other lawmakers.