U.S. Attorney recommendations for the Northern District of Georgia were submitted months ago, but one of the candidates has run into a few bumps, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported last weekend.
Acting U.S. Attorney Sally Yates “apparently was on the short list, then off, then on again,” The Journal-Constitution said.
In April, a state screening panel told the Democratic members of Georgia’s congressional delegation that Yates, Atlanta lawyer Jeffrey Berhold and Rome, Ga., lawyer Christopher Twyman were its top choices to succeed U.S. Attorney David Nahmias, who resigned to take a seat on the Georgia supreme court. Because Georgia’s two U.S. senators are Republicans, the Democratic House members get to advise President Obama on the position.
But then, Yates mysteriously disappeared from the list of recommended candidates that the members of Congress sent to the White House in May, the newspaper reported. The lawmakers replaced her with another, unidentified candidate who was not recommended by the screening panel, according to the Journal-Constitution.
The White House then asked the Georgia Democrats to put Yates back on the list. Rep. John Lewis (D-Ga.), the senior Democrat in Georgia’s delegation, resubmitted her name this summer for consideration, according to The Journal-Constitution.
Former Rep. George “Buddy” Darden (D-Ga.), who chaired the screening panel, told the newspaper that “there is nothing unique” about the back-and-forth over the Yates recommendation.
Yates’ prosecution of former Atlanta Mayor Bill Campbell in a public corruption case could be the source of some of her problems, according to the newspaper. Campbell once submitted a complaint about Yates to the Justice Department. The ex-mayor said the prosecutor was seeking revenge against him because he did not endorse her husband, Comer Yates, in a Democratic primary. The Justice Department did not find any evidence that Yates was trying to retaliate against Campbell, who was convicted on tax evasion charges.
The Journal-Constitution also speculated that Yates’s failure to donate to Obama’s presidential campaign might have hurt her chances. This doesn’t sound likely to us, since prosecutors are not supposed to appear partisan, and Yates’s husband more than made up for it by giving Obama $2,300. Twyman and his wife, by contrast, donated only $500 each. Berhold gave $2,000 to Obama, along with thousands of dollars to Georgia Democrats.
The White House could announce a nominee as early as this week, people close to the process told WABE News, the public broadcaster in Atlanta.