The Senate Judiciary Committee hasn’t received a completed questionnaire from a U.S. Attorney nominee in Georgia, which appears to have contributed to a delay in his confirmation process.
Michael Moore was nominated to be the U.S. Attorney for the Middle District of Georgia on Sept. 17. A few days later, on Sept. 21, the former Georgia state senator and lawyer in Houston County, Ga., submitted a financial disclosure report to the executive branch’s Office of Government Ethics (OGE).
U.S. Attorney nominees typically submit a more detailed disclosure of their finances and covering their professional histories to the Senate panel around the same time as they make the OGE disclosure, records show. The committee must have the completed questionnaire before it can clear a nominee for a Senate confirmation vote.
Moore told a Georgia newspaper in an article published Dec. 7 that he sent off his paperwork. But Senate Judiciary Committee spokesperson Erica Chabot said the committee has not received it.
DOJ spokesperson Melissa Schwartz said after U.S. Attorney nominees work with the Justice Department to complete all forms, the department sends them to OGE and the Senate Judiciary Committee.
Moore, who’s been in private practice for 12 years, did not respond to repeated requests for comment.
Four other nominees — Carmen Ortiz of Massachusetts, Ed Tarver of the Southern District of Georgia, Nicholas A. Klinefeldt of the Southern District of Iowa and Stephanie M. Rose of the Northern District of Iowa — were nominated on the same day or after Moore. All have been confirmed by the Senate. Tarver is the only U.S. Attorney from Georgia who has been confirmed.
In his OGE disclosure, Moore reported earning $1.2 million between Jan. 1, 2008, and Sept. 15, 2009, from his law firm, Michael J. Moore, P.C.
He also reported earning $448,500 as an executor for the estate of his aunt, Beatrice Buice.
The Buices are a prominent family in Georgia and owned large tracts of land in several counties in the northern part of the state. Buice was the wife of Glenn Buice, who passed away in 1987, according to legal documents filed with Forsyth County, Ga. A Buice family member said Moore was Glenn Buice’s nephew.
In her will, Buice left half of her estate to a niece and nephew, and designated the other half to be split between three sisters-in-law. She also left $10,000 to the Sharon Baptist Church in memory of her late husband.
Moore was not a beneficiary of the will, which was filed in Forsyth County, Ga. The will does not does not detail Buice’s assets or net worth.
Buice “had no idea how much she was worth,” according to her sister-in-law Martha Buice Brown, another beneficiary of the estate. “She turned it all over to [Moore].” Buice Brown praised Moore, saying he is “an amazing fellow” and “just wonderful.”
Buice owned at least three large properties, records show. One of the properties was the couple’s home on 77 acres in Forsyth County. Two years after Buice’s March 2007 death, Moore, as executor of her estate, sold about 39 acres of the property to Forsyth County for $3.8 million, according to county records.
After the property was sold, Moore distributed the money from its sale to Buice’s beneficiaries, according to multiple recipients. One of the beneficiaries told Main Justice she received about $75,000 from the sale.
Buice’s estate also includes 565.21 acres of timberland in Houston County, Ga., which she purchased in 2005 for $2.4 million and less than one-fifth of an acre in Hilton Head, S.C., which has a market value of nearly $1 million, according to county property records. None of those properties have been sold since Buice’s death
If confirmed, Moore would succeed Frank Maxwell Wood in the Macon, Ga.-based district. Wood resigned in July.