Washington D.C.--There are so many twists-and-turns to this case, and no discovery process at all. We know virtually nothing about the accusers (the confidential informants, more probably "cooperating witnesses," therefore potentially impeachable), investigators, or the prosecutors. But we know one thing: U.S. Attorney Jeffrey Taylor was appointed by Alberto Gonzales, as are all of his Assistant U.S. Attorneys. [Ed., 09.30.2008--And Taylor was an interim appointment without the approval of the Senate.]
This is the connection to the U.S. Attorney scandal, and all cases populated by his appointments deserve more attention by the Judiciary committees and the public. Shouldn't we know the ages and credentials of federal prosecutors, or are we entering another era where "Star Chambers," unaccountable to public review or scrutiny, can exist again? The soil appears fertile:
3-2.200 Assistant United States AttorneysNone of this shields appointments made by Attorney General Alberto Gonzales from political tainting whatsoever, and there is ample smoke regarding other appointments already. This is particularly true of the appointments he made under the hidden provisions in the Patriot Act renewal in 2006 that gave him the power to appoint interim U.S. Attorneys indefinitely, without Senate approval. That is a clear act at politicizing the Justice Department and how our laws are enforced--all thanks to the "do-nothing" former-GOP majority of the 109th Congress.
Assistant United States Attorneys are appointed by the Attorney General and may be removed by that official. See 28 U.S.C. Sec. 542. The Deputy Attorney General exercises the power and authority vested in the Attorney General to take final action in matters pertaining to the employment, separation, and general administration of Assistant United States Attorneys. See
28 C.F.R. Sec. 0.15. Such authority may be, and has been, delegated to the Director, Executive Office for United States Attorneys.
Authority to appoint Assistant United States Attorneys may be, and has been delegated to the Director, Office of Attorney Personnel Management. Authority to effect reprimands, suspensions, and/or removal for Assistant United States Attorneys may be, and has been, delegated to the Director, EOUSA.
Assistants must reside in the district of their appointment, or within 25 miles thereof. These provisions do not apply to an Assistant United States Attorney appointed for the Northern Mariana Islands who at the same time is serving in the same capacity in another district. See U.S.C. Sec. 545(a).
Assistants who are appointed on an interim basis under 28 U.S.C. Sec. 546, and who are not candidates for permanent appointment by the President as the United States Attorney pursuant to 28 U.S.C. Sec. 541, shall be offered, upon termination, reemployment to the last permanent position held. Reemployment is subject to all conditions of employment currently applicable to Assistants appointed pursuant to 28 U.S.C. Sec. 542. Of special note: an Assistant who served as a supervisor before becoming the interim United States Attorney cannot be guaranteed a return to that slot. Supervisory positions are not permanent. Such decisions rest solely with the discretion of the new United States Attorney. That individual is guaranteed only of returning to a permanent AUSA position. (http://www.usdoj.gov/usao/eousa/foia_reading_room/usam/title3/2musa.htm#3-2.200)