Sen. David Vitter (R-La.) will delay Senate action on the nominee who would replace the acting U.S. Attorney whose son allegedly tried to interfere with phones at Democratic Sen. Mary Landrieu’s New Orleans office, The Associated Press reported today.
Vitter’s office said Wednesday that he will block Senate action on Stephanie Finley and President Obama’s other nominees for federal justice system posts in Louisiana until he hears from the White House whether Obama will let Eastern District of Louisiana U.S. Attorney Jim Letten keep his job.
Finley was nominated last week to be U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Louisiana. She would replace acting U.S. Attorney William Flanagan. Vitter is also holding up other federal nominees in Louisiana over Letten. Letten was appointed by President George W. Bush, and has held the Eastern District post since April 2001. Both Vitter and Landrieu have urged Obama to retain Letten.
Flanagan, a career prosecutor, became the top federal prosecutor in the Shreveport, La., office after Donald Washington resigned earlier this month. Robert Flanagan, the prosecutor’s son, along with conservative activists James O’Keefe, Joseph Basel and Stan Dai were charged this week with entering federal property under false pretenses for the purposes of committing a felony. O’Keefe made national headlines last year when he posed as a pimp and allegedly received instructions on how to obtain housing aid for a purported brothel from staffers for activist group ACORN (Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now).
The son of the acting U.S. Attorney and Basel told a staffer at Landrieu’s office that they were with the telephone company to repair the phone system, according to an FBI affidavit. O’Keefe was already inside the office’s reception area and was holding a phone to record Flanagan and Basel talking to Landrieu staffers, the FBI said. Dai helped plan the operation, according to the FBI.