Pittsburgh U.S Attorney Mary Beth Buchanan will resign from her post on Nov. 16, The Associated Press reports. Buchanan has served as the district’s head prosecutor since September 2001. Although she did not announce her plans, Buchanan reportedly is considering a run for the Republican nomination to challenge Rep. Jason Altmire (D), who represents Pennsylvania’s 4th congressional district.
Buchanan has been criticized by Democrats who claim she helped politicize the Justice Department under President George W. Bush. While serving as U.S Attorney for the Western District of Pennsylvania, she simultaneously worked as a senior official in various positions at DOJ headquarters in Washington.
Buchanan also has been accused of targeting Democrats for prosecution, which she has denied, and recently came under fire from a federal public defender for her handling of privileged telephone conversations between inmates at the Allegheny County Jail and their lawyers that were inadvertently recorded.
Although “preliminary vetting” by DOJ has begun for Buchanan’s replacement, no nominee has been announced. David Hickton, co-founder of transportation law firm Burns, White and Hickton, is believed to be the favorite of Democratic Sens. Bob Casey and Arlen Specter, news reports have said.