Here’s more huffing from the Washington Post as it opens up yet another front in the non-scandal over the Justice Department’s handling of U.S. attorneys. Dan Eggen reports that six current U.S attorneys are serving in a second capacity in Washington, D.C. One of them, of course, is Patrick Fitzgerald who came here to investigate the non-crimes committed when knowledge of Valerie Plame’s status with the CIA moved from the Georgetown cocktail circuit to the pages of certain newspapers.
There is nothing unusual about having a few U.S. attorneys serve in Washington. Four of them did this under the first President Bush and two under President Clinton. Nor is this practice problematic. Every U.S. attorney has a top assistant who can manage the day-to-day affairs of the office and consult with the U.S. attorney on important matters.
Eggen reports no problems in five of the six offices in question. The exception is Montana, where a local judge appointed by Clinton has become unhappy with the performance of the U.S. attorney’s office whose chief has been mostly in Washington since June 2005. The judge thinks the office is bringing weak cases to “pump up statistics” and missing too many briefing deadlines. I have no idea whether the judge’s grievances have merit, but the Post provides no reason to believe that the Montana U.S. attorney’s office (again the only one of the six that the Post suggests is underperforming) would be bringing different cases or meeting more briefing deadlines if the office head were in Montana instead of D.C.
By the way, if the Post is really concerned about government offices or agencies bringing weak cases to pump up statistics, I can provide a few leads.
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