The most surprising name in the White House announcement Friday of new U.S. Attorney nominees was Daniel Bogden. One of six prosecutors fired by the Bush White House in 2006, Bogden was recommended for his old job by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.)
It might sound inspiring: prosecutor wronged by the Bushies made right by the Obama team. But it’s a little more complicated. Reid faces an uphill battle for re-election next year. And in a Western state like Nevada, being leader of the Senate Democrats is more of a liability than advantage. Think: Tom Daschle.
So, by asking the White House to appoint Bogden, Reid is able to score points with Republicans in Nevada, portray himself as a centrist, and tell liberals he was doing it to right a wrong of the Bush era. The only problem, as we have previously reported here and here: line prosecutors in Nevada don’t much like Bodgen, whose most prominent local case was known as “G-Sting” because it involved bribery allegations at a strip club.
Anonymous prosecutors used words like “demoralizing” and “disheartening” and “It’s not what Obama is about” in a June story in the Las Vegas Sun.
The New York Times has a story today on the Bodgen controversy here. There have been complaints in the past about a lack of diversity in the office, and the Times quotes F. Travis Buchanan, president of the Las Vegas chapter of the National Bar Association, a professional group for African-American lawyers, as saying:
“We just don’t understand, why him?”…. “Who else was considered? If no one else was considered, why wasn’t anyone else considered?”
The Times reported that Buchanan’s group was drafting a letter to the Senate Judiciary Committee to express “reservations” about the intended nomination. The Times said it could not reach Bogden for comment Friday.
Undoubtedly the White House took into account that Nevada’s Republican senator, John Ensign, supports Bodgen. The White House has been very solicitous of GOP senators’ wishes in the U.S. Attorney process — apparently regardless of whether they’re involved in a sex scandal - and has even delayed a fully vetted candidate for the Middle District of Alabama because Sen. Richard Shelby (R-Ala.) is objecting.