Posts Tagged ‘Larry Thompson’
Wednesday, February 2nd, 2011

Larry Thompson (gov)

Former Deputy Attorney General Larry D. Thompson has returned to the University of Georgia School of Law as a visiting professor starting this semester.

Thompson served as DAG under President George W. Bush from 2001 to 2003. During his time as DAG he headed the Corporate Fraud Task Force and led the Department of Justice’s investigation into the Enron accounting scandal. From 1982 to 1986, he was the U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Georgia.

After Attorney General John Ashcroft resigned in 2004, Thompson was rumored to under consideration to replace him. Had he been chosen, he would have  become the first black person to head the DOJ. He was also said to be under consideration for the Supreme Court during Bush’s time in the White House.

At Georgia Law, Thompson will teach a course on corporate responsibility. He previously was a visiting professor and lectured at the university.

Thompson is the current senior vice president of government affairs, general counsel and secretary for PepsiCo Inc.

Thompson also was a partner at the law firm King & Spalding in its Atlanta office.

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Thursday, December 2nd, 2010

A bipartisan group of eight former Deputy Attorneys General on Wednesday sent a letter to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) encouraging the Senate to consider the nomination of James Cole to be the Justice Department’s No. 2 official.

“Because of the responsibilities of the position of deputy attorney general, votes on nominations for this position usually proceed quickly,” the letter said.

The letter was signed by three former DAGs from the George W. Bush administration, Mark R. Filip, Paul J. McNulty, and Larry D. Thompson; two from the Clinton administration, Jamie Gorelick and Philip Heymann; one from the George H.W. Bush administration, Donald B. Ayer, and Carole E. Dinkins, who served during the Reagan administration.

President Barack Obama’s first DAG, David W. Ogden, who created the opening for Cole when he resigned in February, also signed the letter.

Obama nominated Cole on May 24. The Senate Judiciary Committee passed him out of committee on July 20. The former DOJ officials wrote that Cole’s nomination has been pending before the Senate for 120 days; the longest for a DAG in the past 20 years has been 32 days.

Senate Republicans have objected to a 2002 article Cole wrote in support in of civilian trials for terrorism suspects, and to his work as a corporate monitor for insurance giant American International Group Inc., one of the biggest recipients of government bailout funds during the financial crisis.

Cole is a white collar defense lawyer and partner at Bryan Cave LLP. As a special counsel to the House ethics committee in the mid 1990s, he investigated then-Speaker Newt Gingrich (R-Ga.) for misuse of tax-exempt organizations for political purposes.

If Cole isn’t approved before the 111th Congress adjourns in coming weeks, the White House will have to renominate him or find another candidate. The deputy attorney general is the day-to-day manager of the department.

Although acting DAG Gary Grindler is “capable,” he doesn’t have full authority on crucial national security decisions, the ex-DAGs wrote. Only a Senate-confirmed deputy can sign applications to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, the letter noted. The FISA court authorizes wiretaps to listen in on suspected foreign terrorists in the United States.

Wednesday, March 10th, 2010

Keep America Safe’s video on the Justice Department lawyers who previously worked on behalf of detained terrorism suspects has prompted quite a discussion, but John C. Yoo didn’t think the debate was necessary, reported the New York Times.

“What’s the big whoop?” said Yoo, the former DOJ Office of Legal Counsel official whose memorandums on torture and presidential power were used to justify controversial interrogation policies of the George W. Bush administration.

“The Constitution makes the president the chief law enforcement officer. We had an election. President Obama has softer policies on terror than his predecessor.

“He can and should put people into office who share his views,” Yoo told The Times. Once the American people know who the policy makers are, Yoo said, “they can decide whether they agree with him or not.”

The video aroused not only liberal outrage directed at the producers of the short film, but also division among conservative legal scholars, according to The Times. The video was produced by Keep America Safe, a conservative interest group in Washington, D.C., run by Liz Cheney, the daughter of the former vice president.

Conservative members of the Federalist Society, the 25-year-old policy group devoted to conservative and libertarian legal ideals, have criticized the video, and said it violated the American legal principle that even unpopular defendants deserve a lawyer.

A letter issued by the Brookings Institution criticizing the “shameful series of attacks” on government lawyers was signed by several former Republican administration officials and conservative legal figures, including Kenneth W. Starr, the former special prosecutor, Charles D. Stimson, who resigned from the second Bush administration after suggesting that businesses might think twice before hiring law firms that had represented detainees, Peter D. Keisler, a former acting attorney general, and Larry D. Thompson, a former deputy attorney general.

Richard A. Epstein, a law professor at the University of Chicago who once taught Liz Cheney, said he found it “appalling” to see people equating work on detainee cases with a dearth of patriotism.

“You don’t want to give the impression that because you oppose the government on this thing, that means you’re just one of those lefties — which I am not,” he told The Times.

David M. McIntosh, a former member of Congress and a founder of the Federalist Society, agreed that a lawyer should not be judged by his clients, but he said it was legitimate to examine the agenda of the lawyers.

“Was the person acting merely as an attorney doing their best to represent a client’s case, or did they seek out the opportunity to represent them or write an amicus brief because they have a political or personal agenda that made them more interested in participating in those cases?” he said.

If the commitment to the cases is ideological, McIntosh said, it is reasonable to ask, “Is that the best attorney for the Justice Department?”

Friday, September 11th, 2009

A controversial Bush Justice Department official got a break from Attorney General Eric Holder.

Brad Schlozman (Getty Images)

Brad Schlozman (Getty Images)

Bradley Schlozman, former Acting Assistant Attorney General of the Civil Rights Division, will not be prosecuted by the Justice Department, according to a letter from Assistant Attorney General Ron Weich to Senate Judiciary Committee member Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.).

Holder affirmed an earlier decision by the District of Columbia U.S. Attorney’s office not to pursue charges against Schlozman related to sworn testimony the Bush official gave before Congress in 2007.

A DOJ Office of Inspector General report concluded last year that Schlozman wasn’t truthful when he told Congress he hadn’t taken politics or ideology into account when hiring career DOJ lawyers. The report said Schlozman referred to liberal applicants for positions as “mold spores,” “commies” and “crazy pinkos.” The report concluded that he was “unsuitable for public service.”

The IG said Schlozman’s partisan hiring standards violated civil service laws intended to keep politics out of career government hiring decisions. The IG referred its findings to the U.S. Attorney office, which decided not to pursue charges. The office was headed by former Bush DOJ official Jeffrey Taylor, but he recused himself from the case. First Assistant Channing Phillips and six career prosecutors made the final call on the case.

“To be clear, nothing in the Attorney General’s determination to sustain the United States Attorney’s decision should be construed as an endorsement of Mr. Schlozman’s improper hiring and personnel-related practices as described in the Final (IG) Report,” Weich wrote in the letter to Schumer.

Holder began a “extensive” review of the U.S. Attorney’s office decision shortly after taking office, Weich said. The Attorney General said at his confirmation hearing that he was alarmed by the behavior of Schlozman described in the IG report.

“The Attorney General firmly believes that providing false statements to Congress cannot and should not be tolerated and should, where provable beyond a reasonable doubt, be prosecuted,” Weich wrote in the letter.

Schlozman lawyer Bill Jordan said in a statement to Main Justice that Holder “made the right decision.”

“Brad is extremely pleased that he has been fully exonerated by this review,” Jordan said.

Schumer, who urged Holder to review the case, told The Associated Press that the attorney general’s decision was “very disappointing.”

“Perjury is often a close call, but in this case it wasn’t. Mr. Schlozman was way over the line,” Schumer told The AP.

Schlozman served in various capacities in the Bush Justice Department before he resigned in 2007. He was an interim U.S. Attorney for Western District of Missouri, Civil Rights Division Deputy Assistant Attorney General and a counsel to Deputy Attorney General Larry Thompson.

He is now working for Witchita, Kan. law firm Hinkle Elkouri.