The White House announced Tuesday that former Justice Department Inspector General Michael Bromwich will lead a planned reorganization of the Minerals Management Service.
The federal agency is part of the Department of the Interior and oversees oil and gas development. The Minerals Management Service has been accused of lax oversight and conflicts of interest in the wake of the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.
The White House said that Bromwich would have a mandate to implement far-reaching changes and the resources to do it. He will be in charge of developing new oversight requirements and environmental and safety regulations.
Bromwich has been a litigation partner resident at Fried, Frank, Harris, Shriver & Jacobson LLP since 1999. He served as Inspector General for the Department of Justice from 1994 until 1999.
In the mid-1990s, as the Justice Department’s Inspector General, Bromwich established a reputation as a meticulous enforcer of ethical standards who did not flinch from criticizing senior officials or entrenched bureaucracies. In one scathing report, he found the FBI’s crime lab was sloppy, mired in dysfunction and that analysts had faked evidence in important cases like the first World Trade Center bombing in 1993. His review led to a top-to-bottom overhaul of the lab and its forensic procedures.
The former head of the Minerals Management Service, Elizabeth Birnbaum, stepped down last month.
The White House’s biography of Bromwich is reprinted below.
Michael R. Bromwich is a litigation partner in the Washington, D.C., and New York offices of Fried Frank where he heads the firm’s Internal Investigations, Compliance and Monitoring practice group. Mr. Bromwich concentrates his practice on conducting internal investigations for private companies and other organizations; providing monitoring and oversight services in connection with public and private litigation and government enforcement actions; and representing institutions and individuals in white-collar criminal and regulatory matters.
In 2002, Mr. Bromwich was selected by the Department of Justice and the District of Columbia to serve as the Independent Monitor for the District of Columbia’s Metropolitan Police Department (MPD), focusing on use of force, civil rights integrity, internal misconduct, and training issues. He served in that position until 2008 when MPD was determined to have achieved substantial compliance. In 2007, Mr. Bromwich was selected by the City of Houston to undertake a comprehensive investigation of the Houston Police Department Crime Lab; the investigation was widely praised for identifying serious problems in some of the Crime Lab’s operations and providing recommendations for the Lab’s improvement.
Prior to joining the law firm, Bromwich served as Inspector General for the Department of Justice from 1994 – 1999. As Inspector General, he headed the law enforcement agency principally responsible for conducting criminal and administrative investigations into allegations of corruption and misconduct involving the 120,000 employees of the Department of Justice. He was best known for conducting special investigations into allegations of misconduct, defective procedures and incompetence in the FBI Laboratory; the FBI’s conduct and activities regarding the Aldrich Ames matter; the handling of classified information by the FBI and the Department of Justice in the campaign finance investigation; the alleged deception of a Congressional delegation by high-ranking officials of the Immigration and Naturalization Service; and the Justice Department’s role in the CIA crack cocaine controversy.
Before his appointment as Inspector General, Mr. Bromwich served as a federal prosecutor in the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York and as Associate Counsel in the Office of Independent Counsel for Iran-Contra. Bromwich was one of three courtroom lawyers for the government in the case of United States v. Oliver L. North. Bromwich’s other responsibilities in that office included supervising a team of prosecutors and law enforcement agents that investigated allegations of criminal misconduct against government officials and private citizens in connection with provision of aid to the Contras in Nicaragua and serving as overall coordinator of the Iran-Contra grand jury.
Bromwich received his law degree from the Harvard Law School in 1980 and a master’s degree in Public Policy from Harvard’s John F. Kennedy School of Government the same year. He received his undergraduate degree, summa cum laude, from Harvard College in 1976.