Several names are floating around as possible successors to departing Deputy Attorney General David Ogden, the department’s No. 2 official who is returning to WilmerHale in February. We welcome any tips or guidance, which you can send us anonymously here.
The candidates we’ve heard mentioned most frequently are:
- Associate Attorney General Tom Perrelli.Perrelli is said to work well with Attorney General Eric Holder, and is considered a good manager. The intellectual property specialist is well connected, having served as managing editor of the Harvard Law Review in 1990 under Barack Obama, when Obama was president of the prestigious journal. He was counsel to Attorney General Janet Reno in the Clinton administration, also serving as Deputy Assistant Attorney General over the Federal Programs Branch of the Civil Division, where he defended the constitutionality of federal laws. Perrelli raised more than $500,000 for Obama’s presidential campaign and previously was managing partner of law firm Jenner & Block’s Washington office. As the number three official at DOJ, he’s overseen the department’s priority initiative to improve law enforcement in Indian Country.MINUSES: No criminal experience.
- Criminal Division chief Lanny Breuer.Breuer has the political savvy for the job, having earned his battle stripes as a White House counsel defending President Bill Clinton during his 1998 impeachment in the House for perjury and obstruction of justice related to his affair with White House intern Monica Lewinsky. (Clinton was acquitted by the Senate). Breuer is also from Attorney General Eric Holder’s beloved Queens, N.Y., and worked with Holder at Covington & Burling, where Breuer chaired the white-collar defense and investigations practice. Earlier in his career, he was a prosecutor with the Manhattan District Attorney’s office. Breuer won unanimous confirmation from the Senate in April and has been working on a reorganization of the Criminal Division.MINUSES: Breuer’s comment that he wanted a new “rock star” to head the Fraud Section raised some hackles among career prosecutors, who also consider themselves rock stars.
- Civil Division chief Tony West.West was co-chair of Obama’s California finance committee, helping oversee a record haul of $65 million from the state for the presidential campaign. West met Obama at the 2004 Democratic National Convention, where he was a John Kerry delegate and Obama gave the electrifying keynote speech that launched his national political career. West is a graduate of Harvard College and Standford Law School, where he was president of the law review. West worked in the Reno Justice Department as a special assistant to Deputy Attorney General Philip Heymann from 1993 to 1994, and helped shepherd the Omnibus Crime Act of 1994. He was an Assistant U.S. Attorney in the Northern District of California from 1994 to 1999. He also served in the office of California Attorney General Bill Lockyer, advising on high-tech crime, identity theft, the Microsoft antitrust litigation, police officer training, civil rights, and police misconduct. In 2001 he became a partner with Morrison & Foerster in San Francisco, and later offered pro-bono representation to the “American Taliban” John Walker Lindh. In April he was confirmed by the Senate by a vote of 88 to 4. He’s gotten good marks as a manager over the Civil Division, where’s he’s overseen large recoveries for the government under the False Claims Act.MINUSES: You tell us.
- Former DOJ Inspector General Michael Bromwich.Bromwich is a litigation partner in the Washington office of law firm Fried, Frank, Harris, Shriver & Jacobson, where he heads the internal investigations, compliance and monitoring practice group. He served as the Justice Department Inspector General from 1994 to 1999, often clashing with the oversight-resistant Federal Bureau of Investigation. Under his tenure, the IG’s office issued a harsh report on substandard practices in the FBI’s crime laboratory. Bromwich this year was one of three candidates recommended to the White House for District of Columbia U.S. Attorney by Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton (D). No nominee for the D.C. job has been announced yet. From 1983 to 1987, Bromwich was an Assistant U.S. Attorney in the Southern District of New York, where he rose to chief of the Narcotics Unit. He was also an associate counsel in the office of Iran-Contract independent counsel Lawrence Walsh from 1987 to 1989.
MINUSES: Not already part of the DOJ