Sen. David Vitter (R-La.) will no longer hold up federal nominations in his state after receiving assurance that the job of the George W. Bush-holdover U.S. Attorney in New Orleans is safe, The Times-Picayune reported today.
The Republican senator now will return his “blue slip” on Western District of Louisiana U.S. Attorney nominee Stephanie Finley and other federal nominees, which he had been withholding until he received official word on the status of U.S. Attorney Jim Letten.
The Senate Judiciary Committee traditionally does not consider a nomination until it receives a “blue slip” from the nominee’s home state senator.
Vitter had asked the administration to keep Letten, who has led the Eastern District of Louisiana U.S. Attorney’s Office since 2001. Today, Attorney General Eric Holder announced that Letten would serve on the Attorney General’s Advisory Committee, which serves as the voice of U.S. Attorneys throughout the nation, sending a strong signal that his job was safe.
“This prestigious appointment makes it crystal clear that Jim isn’t going anywhere except on regular trips to Washington to personally advise the attorney general,” Vitter told the newspaper. “The attorney general and I superficially discussed this in our meeting last Thursday and I’m really excited to get it done.”
Letten’s office is handling the case against four men who allegedly tried to interfere with phones at Democratic Sen. Mary Landrieu’s New Orleans office. One of the men, Robert Flanagan, is the son of Western District of Louisiana acting U.S. Attorney William Flanagan. James O’Keefe, who gained notoriety for secret videos of the community organizing group ACORN, was one of Flanagan’s accomplices.
Andrew Breitbart, the founder of BigGovernment.com, which employs O’Keefe, said today on Fox News that Letten leaked information on the incident in a “concerted effort” to put O’Keefe in a bad light. Letten’s office denied the allegation.