Posts Tagged ‘Pennsylvania’
Wednesday, May 19th, 2010

Four former U.S. Attorneys became the Republican party nominees for their respective bids for Congress and the governor’s race while one ex-prosecutor fell short in her congressional bid.

Tim Griffin (Tim Griffin for Congress)

In Arkansas, former Eastern District U.S. Attorney Tim Griffin earned 62 percent of the vote while restaurant owner Scott Wallace won 38 percent, according to the Arkansas Secretary of State. Griffin, a former Bush administration official who was a key figure in the 2006 U.S. Attorney firings scandal, will face state Sen. Joyce Elliott, who won the Democratic primary Tuesday, in the November general election. They are seeking to replace Democratic Rep. Vic Snyder in Arkansas’ 2nd District. Snyder dropped his re-election bid in January, citing family concerns.

Tom Corbett

Three former U.S. Attorneys in Pennsylvania won primaries on Tuesday, according to the Pennsylvania Department of State.

Tom Corbett, who was appointed U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Pennsylvania by President George H.W. Bush in 1989 and served until 1993, earned 69 percent of the vote against state Rep. Sam Rohrer, who garnered won 31 percent. Corbett will face Allegheny County executive Dan Onorato, the Democratic primary winner, in the general election to replace current Pennsylvania Gov. Ed Rendell (D), who is term limited.

Pat Meehan (Pat Meehan for Congress)

Pat Meehan, who led the Eastern District of Pennsylvania U.S. Attorney’s Office from 2001 to 2008, was unopposed in the Republican primary. He will face state Rep. Bryan Lentz who also ran unopposed in the Democratic primary. Both candidates are hoping to replace Democratic Rep. Joe Sestak, who successfully challenged Sen. Arlen Specter in the Democratic primary for U.S. Senate.

Tom Marino (Tom Marino for Congress)

Tom Marino, the former U.S. Attorney for the Middle District of Pennsylvania from 2002 to October 2007, also won a Republican primary Tuesday with 41 percent of the vote. Chiropractor and 2006 state Senate candidate David Madeira garnered 31 of the vote while Snyder County Commissioner Malcolm Derk received 28 percent. Marino will face incumbent Rep. Chris Carney (D), who was unopposed in the Democratic primary.

Mary Beth Buchanan (Mary Beth Buchanan for Congress)

One former U.S. Attorney lost her primary bid Tuesday. Mary Beth Buchanan, who served as the Western District of Pennsylvania U.S. Attorney from 2001 until November 2009, earned 33 percent of the vote, but former Department of Homeland Security official Keith Rothfus won 67 percent. Rothfus will face incumbent Rep. Jason Altmire (D-Pa.) who was unopposed in the Democratic primary.

Wednesday, March 10th, 2010

Tom Corbett (gov)

Four former U.S. Attorneys have filed to run for office in Pennsylvania. Tuesday marked the deadline for major party candidates to file with the Pennsylvania Secretary of State’s office. The primary elections to decide who will run in the November general elections will take place May 18.

Tom Corbett, who was appointed U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Pennsylvania by President George H.W. Bush in 1989 and served until 1993, is one of two candidates vying for the Republican nomination for governor. Current Pennsylvania Gov. Ed Rendell (D) is term limited.

Corbett, who is the current state attorney general, will face state Rep. Sam Rohrer in the Republican primary. On the other side of the political aisle, four candidates are seeking the Democratic nomination: Montgomery County Commissioner and former U.S. Rep. Joe Hoeffel, Allegheny County Executive Dan Onorato, state auditor general and former state Sen. Jack Wagner and state Sen. Anthony Williams.

Several former U.S. Attorneys are running for Congress in Pennsylvania:

Mary Beth Buchanan (Steve Pope)

Mary Beth Buchanan, who served as the Western District of Pennsylvania U.S. Attorney from 2001 until November 2009, is one of two candidates seeking the Republican nomination in the 4th Congressional District. She will face former Department of Homeland Security official Keith Rothfus in the Republican primary. Both candidates hope to challenge Democratic Rep. Jason Altmire, who is unopposed in the Democratic primary.

Patrick Meehan (doj)

In the 7th Congressional District, Pat Meehan, who led the Eastern District of Pennsylvania U.S. Attorney’s Office from 2001 to 2008, is running unopposed in the Republican primary. Three Democrats — attorney Gail Conner, state Rep. Bryan Lentz and political consultant E. Teresa Touey – are looking to win their party’s nomination. The candidates hope to replace Democratic Rep. Joe Sestak, who is challenging Sen. Arlen Specter in the Democratic primary.

Tom Marino (Tom Marino for Congress)

Finally, Tom Marino, who was the U.S. Attorney for the Middle District of Pennsylvania from 2002 to October 2007, is one of three Republicans looking to unseat Rep. Chris Carney (D), who is unopposed in the Democratic primary. The other two Republicans seeking the nomination are chiropractor and 2006 state Senate candidate David Madeira and Snyder County Commissioner Malcolm Derk.

Thursday, January 28th, 2010

Former Pittsburgh U.S. Attorney Mary Beth Buchanan will decide within the next couple weeks whether she will seek the Republican nomination for a House seat in Western Pennsylvania, the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review reported today.

Mary Beth Buchanan (Steve Pope)

Buchanan, who served as the Western District of Pennsylvania U.S. Attorney from 2001 until November 2009, told the newspaper that she was “very encouraged” by meetings she had with local Republicans about seeking the 4th District seat just north of Pittsburgh that is held by Rep. Jason Altmire (D-Pa.), who is running for a third term.

“The common message I’ve been hearing, consistently, is that most voters feel the current administration is forcing its agenda and programs on people who don’t want them, who don’t feel like paying for them and who are not willing to leave this tax bill for future generations,” Buchanan told the Tribune-Review.

The ex-U.S. Attorney would likely challenge lawyer Keith Rothfus in the Republican primary, according to the newspaper. Congressional Quarterly rates the district as “likely Democratic” for the 2010 election.

Beaver County GOP Chairman Marty Matthews told the Tribune-Review that Buchanan would face an “uphill battle” if she runs. The former U.S. Attorney has received harsh criticism for her unsuccessful prosecution of former Allegheny County medical examiner Cyril Wecht.

Her office dismissed all charges against the prominent Democratic defendant after a federal judge threw out evidence that he ruled was improperly obtained. Wecht’s supporters accused Buchanan of targeting him because of his politics. And former Attorney General Richard Thornburgh asked Attorney General Eric Holder to discipline Buchanan for “vindictively” suggesting at a news conference that Wecht was guilty, but nothing ever came of the request -– at least publicly.

“Personal opinion, I think if there were another candidate who had the recognition that Mary Beth Buchanan has, it would be the better choice,” Matthews told the newspaper. “It’s the Wecht thing, primarily.”

We reported last week that Buchanan also came out on the losing end of an apparent political skirmish over a rescue mission for 53 Haitian orphans. She was trying to organize efforts to help Haitian children stranded in an orphanage destroyed by this month’s earthquake. But Altmire and Gov. Ed Rendell (D) planned their own rescue mission and kept the Bush U.S. Attorney mostly out of the loop.

Two other former U.S. Attorneys from Pennsylvania who served during the administration of George W. Bush have already declared their candidacies for House seats.

Tom Marino, who was the U.S. Attorney for the Middle District of Pennsylvania from 2002 to October 2007, is running for the seat held by Rep. Chris Carney (D). Patrick Meehan, who led the Eastern District of Pennsylvania U.S. Attorney’s Office from 2001 to 2008, is seeking the seat that is being vacated by Rep. Joe Sestak (D), who is running against Sen. Arlen Specter in the state’s Democratic Senate primary.

Wednesday, January 27th, 2010

Former U.S. Attorney Tom Marino (R) on Wednesday formally announced that he is running for Congress, The Daily Item of Sunbury, Pa., reported. He said he will challenge incumbent Rep. Chris Carney (D) for his seat in Pennsylvania’s 10th congressional district, which includes Scanton.

Marino was the U.S. Attorney for the Middle District of Pennsylvania from 2002 to October 2007.

He made the announcement in Williamsport, recalling the attitude that his parents had instilled in him long ago: “A citizen of this great country had to give back double what he had received.”

Before becoming a federal prosecutor, Marino was a Lycoming County, Pa., district attorney.

According to the Allentown Morning Call, during his time as U.S. Attorney, Marino came under fire for proving a reference for Louis DeNaples on DeNaples’ gaming application for Mount Airy Casino Resort while Marino’s office was investigating DeNaples. After Marino resigned, DeNaples hired Marino as an in-house counsel for non-casino businesses. Marino recently resigned in order to focus on his congressional bid.

Marino will face at least three other Republicans in the primary. The Republicans who have officially announced their candidacy are anti-tax activist Chris Bain, Snyder County Commissioner Malcolm Derk and chiropractor David Madeira.

Two other Republicans who have been mentioned as possible candidates are businessman Dan Meuser and Lackawanna Trail School Board Member Daniel Naylor.

Friday, January 22nd, 2010

Zane D. Memeger (Morgan Lewis)

Zane D. Memeger, a former Assistant U.S. Attorney, is expected to be nominated for U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, while Charles M. Oberly III, a former state attorney general, is expected to be nominated for Delaware’s U.S. Attorney, The Philadelphia Inquirer reports.

The newspaper reports that Memeger was recommended by Pennsylvania Sens. Bob Casey and Arlen Specter, both Democrats, according to the sources with knowledge of the selection process. He will have to pass his FBI background check before President Obama sends his nomination to the Senate.

Memeger was an Assistant U.S. Attorney in the district for 11 years before leaving in 2006 to join Philadelphia-headquartered Morgan Lewis, where he is now a partner, The Inquirer reports. His practice focuses on corporate and white collar crime. While in the U.S. Attorney’s office, Memeger served on the organized crime strike force. He was on the team that successfully prosecuted mobster Joey Merlino and  Imam Shamsud-din Ali on racketeering charges, according to the Inquirer.

Charles M. Oberly III (Drinker Biddle)

Charles M. Oberly III (Drinker Biddle)

The Eastern District office has been vacant since Pat Meehan resigned in July 2008 to explore a bid for the Republican nomination for governor of Pennsylvania. But he’s now running for the House seat being vacated by Rep. Joe Sestak (D), who is challenging party-switching Sen. Arlen Specter in the Democratic primary next year. The district’s current interim U.S. Attorney is Michael L. Levy.

Meanwhile, Oberly, who is now of counsel with the Wilmington office of the firm Drinker Biddle, is expected to be nominated within a month, according to the Inquirer’s sources. Oberly was the Delaware attorney general from 1983 to 1985. He had a failed bid for U.S. Senate in 1994.

Colm F. Connolly was the district’s last Senate-confirmed U.S. Attorney. He served from 2006 to early 2007. David C. Weiss currently heads the office.
Tuesday, January 12th, 2010

Sen. Arlen Specter’s opponent in the upcoming Pennsylvania Democratic Senate primary called on the former Republican to get behind President Barack Obama’s pick to lead the Justice Department Office of Legal Counsel.

“Senator Specter, President Obama is giving you a second chance to support his nominee to lead the Office of Legal Counsel,” Rep. Joe Sestak (D-Pa.) said in a memo to Specter.

Dawn Johnsen (Indiana University)

Specter has said he opposes Indiana University law professor Dawn Johnsen for the post. But has yet to say whether he would support a procedural motion to end debate on her nomination, which would allow Johnsen to come before the Senate for an up-or-down vote. Specter met with her at least two times last year to discuss her nomination.

Specter, who is up for re-election this year, switched parties in April after concluding he could not win a primary election among the state’s increasingly conservative GOP electorate. His political challenge now is to appeal to Democrats while still holding onto some Republican voters if he gets to the general election.

Johnsen was critical of the Bush administration’s legal policies and also once worked for an abortion-rights group. She has strong support from liberal groups but is opposed by conservative senators, who have blocked her nomination for nearly a year.

Johnsen was nominated on Feb. 11, 2009. On March 19, 2009, the Senate Judiciary Committee approved her nomination on a party line vote.  Specter, who was a Republican at the time, abstained from the panel vote.

As it recessed for its winter break on Dec. 24, the Senate returned her nomination to the White House. Obama intends to re-nominate her for the post. A spokesperson for Specter did not have an immediate comment.

This is the second time Sestak has urged the senator to support Johnsen. Sestak trails the senator by 23 points in a December Quinnipiac University poll. The primary is in May.

Tuesday, December 8th, 2009
Dennis Pfannenschmidt (DOJ)

Dennis Pfannenschmidt (DOJ)

The federal district court for the Middle District of Pennsylvania on Monday made interim U.S. Attorney Dennis Pfannenschmidt’s position permanent, the Associated Press reports.

Attorney General Eric Holder appointed Pfannenschmidt as the interim chief in August after the resignation of Martin C. Carlson, a Bush administration appointee who’d run the office since May 2001. Carlson left to become a U.S. magistrate judge in Harrisburg, Pa.

Pfannenschmidt in August said he wasn’t looking for a permanent appointment to head the Harrisburg, Pa.,-based office. But interim appointments are effective for just 120 days.

President Obama has yet to nominate a U.S. Attorney for the district. Two people reportedly under consideration are Peter J. Smith, an ex-Assistant U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, and Gerard Karam, a former chief public defender for Lackawanna County, Pa.

Thursday, December 3rd, 2009
Michael Levy (DOJ)

Michael Levy (DOJ)

The interim U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, Michael Levy, has launched a regional working group aimed at combating fraud related to the federal economic stimulus package approved earlier this year, The Philadelphia Business Journal reports.

The group, which will hold its first meeting Friday, was spawned at the encouragement of the Justice Department, which asked U.S. Attorneys offices nationwide to begin hosting such working groups in an effort to create an open dialogue among government agencies. DOJ hopes such efforts will aid in the development of a plan to reduce fraud related to the billions of dollars made available through the stimulus package and other federal programs.

More than 80 prosecutors, agents, auditors and other personnel from more than 20 federal, state and local government agencies in Pennsylvania, Delaware and New Jersey will participate in the meeting, which will be the first in a series, according to the newspaper.

Thursday, December 3rd, 2009
Paul Mansfield (Nelson Levine de Luca & Horst)

Paul Mansfield (Nelson Levine de Luca & Horst)

A fired Assistant U.S. Attorney is suing Attorney General Eric Holder and the Justice Department in an effort to get his job back, The Philadelphia Daily News reports.

Paul Mansfield, who was fired in 2007 after an 18-year career in the U.S. Attorney’s office in Philadelphia, on Monday filed a 75-page federal civil complaint. According to the newspaper Mansfield claims he was fired in retaliation for filing a federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission complaint in April 2006.

In the EEOC complaint, Mansfield, a former prosecutor in the U.S. Attorney’s office in the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, alleged that he was discriminated against based on age and physical disabilities, the newspaper reports.

Mansfield, who had focused on organized-crime cases, claims the harassment began in December 2005. His assignments were changed and, according to the EEOC complaint, he claimed that the U.S. Attorney’s office created a hostile working environment, The Daily News reports.

Patrick Meehan (doj)

Patrick Meehan (doj)

The Daily News reported that, according to Mansfield’s lawsuit, he says he was harassed, humiliated and marginalized by then-U.S. Attorney Pat Meehan, then-First Assistant U.S. Attorney Laurie Magid, then-chief of the criminal division Linda Dale Hoffa and others.

Mansfield also claims the office officials pressured him to him to drop his EEOC complaint, the newspaper reports. He was reprimanded, suspended and eventually fired.

Meehan, who resigned in July 2008, currently is a Republican candidate for a House seat from the Philadelphia suburbs.

Following Meehan’s resignation Magid was named interim U.S. Attorney; however she abruptly resigned in May 2009, a month before her 120-day interim appointment would have expired.

Mansfield, who is acting as his own attorney, is seeking his old job back, damages and attorney’s fees. The Daily News reports that a person familiar with the U.S. Attorney’s Office said Mansfield “was not the first person who had problems, and in the past, [management] guided people to a soft landing. That didn’t happen in his case.” Meehan did not return a request for comment. Patty Hartman, a spokeswoman for the U.S. Attorney’s Office, said, “We cannot comment on pending litigation.”

Tuesday, December 1st, 2009
Chris Christie (Gov)

Chris Christie (gov)

New Jersey Gov.-elect Chris Christie is traveling to Pennsylvania tomorrow to campaign for his former U.S. Attorney colleague Pat Meehan, a Republican candidate for a House seat from the Philadelphia suburbs. Both Christie and Meehan served as U.S. Attorneys during the Bush administration – Christie in New Jersey and Meehan in Philly.

Christie, who will be sworn in as governor on Jan. 19, will attend two events Wednesday, one in the early evening at the Union League of Philadelphia and a second event at the Concordville Inn in Concordville, Pa. In an email to supporters, Meehan referred to Christie as his “good friend” who “is coming to town to show his support for my candidacy.”

Meehan is running for the House seat being vacated by Rep. Joe Sestak, who is challenging party-switching Sen. Arlen Specter in the Democratic primary for Senate next year. The former prosecutor had flirted with running for Pennsylvania governor but abandoned those plans when Sestak announced his run for Senate.