FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
March 26, 2007
Kagen Supports Independence of U.S. Attorneys
(WASHINGTON, D.C.) Congressman Steve Kagen, M.D. joined a bipartisan majority Monday to bring a new direction and accountability to the Justice Department and U.S. Attorneys’ offices around the country.
The House voted Monday 329 to 78 to close the loophole in the Patriot Act that allows the Administration to appoint U.S. Attorneys without Senate confirmation. The bill, H.R. 580, allows the Attorney General to appoint someone to serve up to 120 days as U.S. Attorney before Senate confirmation would be required.
“This bill will help ensure the independence of U.S. Attorneys. The American people need to know that U.S. Attorneys are pursuing criminal investigations, not political vendettas. The U.S. Attorney’s job is to keep all Americans safe, not to keep one political party in power. I am committed to restoring accountability and integrity to our government institutions,” Kagen said.
Documents released after 8 U.S. Attorneys were recently fired show Justice Department officials planned to exploit the Patriot Act provision to bypass the Senate in appointing the Attorneys’ replacements.
H.R. 580 restores the process for temporarily replacing U.S. attorneys. The Attorney General would be empowered to appoint someone to serve up to 120 days. If the Senate did not confirm a permanent replacement by then, the chief judge of the federal district would be able to appoint a temporary replacement to serve until the Senate acted.
The Senate passed a similar measure and the White House says it supports the change.
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