Rep. Jim Matheson (D-Utah) is also staying mum on what killed the chances of his favorite to run the Utah U.S. Attorney’s office.
Matheson, the only congressional Democrat from Utah, declined to discuss with the Salt Lake Tribune what might have scuttled the prospects of David Schwendiman, a career Assistant U.S. Attorney who Matheson had recommended to the White House for the top prosecutor’s spot.
“It’s between the White House and Schwendiman,” Matheson said.
The Utah U.S. Attorney’s office released a statement earlier this month saying the White House had decided against nominating Schwendiman for the U.S. Attorney post and instead the prosecutor would return to the office as a senior litigation counsel. Since then, the U.S. Attorney’s office and the White House have been tight-lipped on why Schwendiman is out of the running.
Instead, the White House is reportedly looking at nominating the former deputy director of the Office of National Drug Control Policy — Scott Burns, a Republican and former county prosecutor from Iron County, Utah. Democrats, including Matheson, are none too pleased.
“We are still looking at all the names right now, but I would probably be submitting others,” Matheson said when asked about Burns.
Other Democrats in Utah were more explicit with their displeasure.
The Iron County Democratic party chairman, Russell Kennedy, told the Tribune that Burns was “ill-qualified” for the top spot. In a statement, the party’s executive committee called on the president to pick a qualified Democrat and eschew “the kind of right-wing and Tea Party-like extremism Scott Burns has epitomized in his political career.”
According to the Tribune, Burns has not spoken with Matheson or his office about the position.