Jim Letten is perhaps the only U.S. Attorney in the country who can remain serene about his job security as the presidential election looms.
The New Orleans U.S. Attorney, a Republican, was appointed under President George W. Bush in 2001. He stayed on at the urging of Louisiana Democratic Sen. Mary Landrieu after President Barack Obama won the presidency in 2008.
In a putative Mitt Romney administration, Letten is “almost certain to be reappointed,” with the continued support of Republican Sen. David Vitter (La.), according to a report in the New Orleans Times-Picayune.
“Jim Letten has been a remarkably effective law enforcement leader for southeast Louisiana, particularly in rooting out and prosecuting political corruption,” Vitter told the Times-Picayune. “I’ll fight for him to continue as U.S. Attorney no matter what the election results.”
Things are more complicated for Landrieu if Obama is re-elected, the paper notes. ”The desire by some in her party to put a Democratic lawyer in the job, versus a self-preservation instinct,” the report states. “Presumably, having her fingerprints on the ouster of the popular prosecutor so close to her 2014 re-election race would not boost her chances, particularly as Louisiana trends increasingly Republican.”
Letten’s tenure hasn’t been without controversy. He was forced to recuse most of his office from a series of fraud and corruption cases related to a prominent landfill company. A longtime Assistant U.S. Attorney working on the case was revealed as the person posting online snarky comments about Letten’s office and its cases. The prosecutor, Sal Perricone, has since resigned and the Justice Department has sent prosecutors from its Washington, D.C., headquarters to handle the compromised cases.
Letten wouldn’t tell the Times-Picayune whether he hopes to keep the job, but sources have told the paper he is not looking elsewhere.
“It would be inappropriate to comment, other than to say I am extremely proud of the work of this office, and I consider it a privilege to serve in this capacity at the pleasure of the president of the United States,” Letten told the paper.