Yang & Jimenez Visit McKay in Palestine (updated April 14)

NAFUSA lifetime member John McKay continues his residency in Ramallah, Palestine, where for the past two years he has headed the U.S. State Dept. (INL) rule of law program supporting Palestinian public prosecutors, police and security services. (See February 7, 2015 post)

Recently he was visited by NAFUSA members Debra Yang and Marc Jimenez as they toured the Masada Fortress near the Dead Sea. McKay will take them on to visit Bethlehem and Nazareth today, before ending up in Tel Aviv tomorrow. Deb Yang reported, “Learning so much about the region, the people, and the history from our dear friend John McKay. He is doing the ‘good work’ out here.”

Yang will be busy upon her return to the U.S. According to a filing in the Northern District of California on April 13, Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher have replaced Uber’s prior legal team in its litigation over whether the company’s drivers are employees or independent contractors. Yang, of Gibson’s Los Angeles office, will be part of the new legal team.

Deb Yang, John McKay, Marc Jimenez

Deb Yang, John McKay, Marc Jimenez

NAFUSA Board to Meet in Nashville

Jay Stephens

President Matt Orwig has scheduled the Spring NAFUSA meeting of the officers and board of directors for May 16, 2015 in Nashville, Tennessee. Orwig has also named Past President Jay Stephens, shown left, to a new position as Counsel to the Board.

Board member Hal Hardin will serve as the host in Nashville, having served as U.S. Attorney in the Middle District of Tennessee, 1977-1981. Hardin’s Tennessee roots are shown by this article Prison Mates published in the Nashville Bar Journal in March 2015, where Hal reflects on his ancestors who fought in the the battle of New Orleans under General Andrew Jackson and the Civil War. Hal’s great grandfather, Isaac Henry Hardin was captured by General Ulysses S. Grant.

Hardin met last week in Big Bend National Park with Executive Director Rich Rossman and Executive Director Emeritus Ron Woods, where they vacationed with Susan Adzick, Patty Rossman, and Patty Woods. There was absolutely no discussion of NAFUSA matters, but there was a great time had by all.

Ron Woods, Hal Hardin, Rich Rossman

Ron Woods, Hal Hardin, Rich Rossman

Cono Namorato Nominated for AAG for Tax

Cono Namorato

On February 25, 2015, President Obama nominated NAFUSA member Cono R. Namorato to be the Assistant Attorney General of the Tax Division (see:http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2015/02/25/presidential-nominations-sent-senate).  The  Senate must now consider and vote on the nomination.  The White House Website included the following information about Mr. Namorato, who is a Tax Division alumnus:

 

Cono R. Namorato, Nominee for Assistant Attorney General for the Tax Division, Department of Justice
Cono R. Namorato is currently a Member of the law firm Caplin & Drysdale, a position he has held since 2006 and previously from 1978 to 2004.  From 2004 to 2006, Mr. Namorato served as Acting Deputy Commissioner for certain designated matters and as Director of the Office of Professional Responsibility for the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) in the Department of the Treasury.  Before beginning his career at Caplin & Drysdale, Mr. Namorato held various positions within the Tax Division of the Department of Justice (DOJ), including Deputy Assistant Attorney General from 1977 to 1978, Assistant Chief and then Chief of the Criminal Section from 1973 to 1977, and Supervisory Trial Attorney and Trial Attorney from 1968 to 1973.  Mr. Namorato began his career in 1963 as a Special Agent for the Criminal Investigation Division of the IRS in the Brooklyn District.  He is a Fellow of the American Bar Foundation and a fellow of the American College of Tax Counsel.  Mr. Namorato has headed various tax-related committees and subcommittees for the American Bar Association, serving as Chair of the Tax Section’s Subcommittee on Criminal Tax Policy, Chair of the Committee on Tax Litigation, and Co-Chair of the Committee on Complex Criminal Litigation of the Litigation Section.  Mr. Namorato received a B.B.A. from Iona College and a J.D. from Brooklyn Law School.
(http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2015/02/24/president-obama-announces-more-key-administration-posts)

Todd Jones Steps Down at ATF (Updated March 24, 2015)

B. Todd Jones

On Friday, March 20, 2015, Attorney General Eric Holder released the following statement on the departure of Director B. Todd Jones of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobaccos, Firearms and Explosives:

Throughtout his tenure as Director of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, Todd Jones has cemented his reputation as an exemplary leader, a consummate professional, and an outstanding public servant.  Since 2011, when I asked Todd to serve as Acting Director of ATF, he has made bold changes, advanced forward-looking policies, and taken innovative steps to strengthen ATF’s investigative capabilities—including ballistic imaging technology that recently played a critical role in the investigation of the shooting of two police officers.  With his guidance, ATF has implemented its Frontline business model—a data-driven approach designed to ensure the agency can focus its resources to achieve maximum impact.  The agency has developed groundbreaking law enforcement initiatives across the country to combat violent crime and bring dangerous criminals to justice.  And as a result of Todd’s leadership, ATF has built a proactive, creative, and effective team that is well-prepared to drive the agency into the future.

 

As a former officer in the United States Marine Corps, a highly talented prosecutor, and a proven leader who has been named a U.S. Attorney by two different presidents, Todd Jones has never hesitated to answer the call to serve his community and his country with exceptional integrity and uncommon distinction.  As the first ever Senate-confirmed Director of ATF, his indelible legacy will serve as an inspiring example for all those who follow him.  On behalf of the Department of Justice, I thank him for his extraordinary service and wish him all the best as he takes the next steps in his already remarkable career.

On Monday, March 23, Roger Goodell, the commissioner of the N.F.L., told the league’s 32 team owners that he would appoint Jones as the league’s new chief disciplinary officer.

Johnson and Purdon Join Robins Kaplan

Brendan_Johnson_WBG-120x170

Robins Kaplan LLP announced on Monday, March 16, 2015,  that Brendan Johnson, shown left, former U.S. Attorney for the District of South Dakota, and Tim Purdon, shown below, former U.S. Attorney for the District of North Dakota, have joined the firm. They will open and head the firm’s newest offices in Sioux Falls, S.D., and Bismarck, N.D. Johnson and Pardon are also NAFUSA’s newest members, both having joined this week.

Tim_Purdon_WBG-120x170Johnson and Purdon join as partners in the firm’s Government and Internal Investigations Group, and will also focus on further developing the firm’s work with American Indian Tribes. They both join the firm’s Personal Injury Group as well, and Johnson will also focus his practice on commercial litigation.

“We are thrilled to welcome Brendan and Tim to Robins Kaplan, and couldn’t envision two more qualified lawyers to expand our national internal investigations and white-collar crime capabilities, as well as our work on behalf of tribal communities,” said Martin Lueck, Chairman of Robins Kaplan’s Executive Board.

As South Dakota’s top federal prosecutor for five and a half years, Johnson managed a broad range of cases including financial and healthcare fraud, public corruption, violent crime, narcotics, and trafficking. Frequently praised for his work against human trafficking, he was the recipient of the 2014 Shared Hope International Pathbreaker of the Year Award, and more than 30 men were prosecuted for criminal sex trafficking under his watch, resulting in more life sentences than any other federal district. Johnson also was heavily involved in the state’s Indian Country, developing a community prosecution strategy that helped increase prosecutions by more than 90 percent on South Dakota’s largest reservations.

Purdon, appointed U.S. Attorney in August 2010, managed a broad range of cases, and—similar to Johnson—focused much of his work on combatting sex trafficking and violent crime. He designed an anti-violence strategy for North Dakota Indian reservations, which markedly improved communications between the U.S. Attorney’s office and the tribes while increasing reservation prosecutions district-wide by more than 80 percent. He also designed and implemented the U.S.A.O.’s victim-centered strategy to counter the increasing threat of sex trafficking in North Dakota.

Both Johnson and Purdon were nominated by President Barack Obama and unanimously confirmed by the U.S. Senate. They each spent time in private practice before joining the Department of Justice.

“As a longtime colleague and friend, I couldn’t be more excited to continue my partnership with Tim at Robins Kaplan,” said Johnson. “We look forward to bringing our experience to clients nationally, as well as in North Dakota and South Dakota.”

“Throughout my 20-year career as an attorney—both in private practice and as U.S. Attorney—I’ve worked hard to protect the people of North Dakota. The opportunity to continue that mission with the great attorneys at Robins Kaplan and with my close friend Brendan has me excited about the next chapter in my career,” added Purdon.

 

Conservatives Post Statement of Principles on Crime

In a project of the Texas Public Policy Foundation, in partnership with the American Conservative Union Foundation and Justice Fellowship, over 70 of the most influential figures in the national conservative movement, including several members of NAFUSA, have published “Right On Crime”, a Statement of Principles.

In the preamble, The Statement states:

Conservatives are known for being tough on crime, but we must also be tough on criminal justice spending. That means demanding more cost-effective approaches that enhance public safety. A clear example is our reliance on prisons, which serve a critical role by incapacitating dangerous offenders and career criminals but are not the solution for every type of offender. And is some instances, they have the unintended consequence of hardening nonviolent, low-risk offenders- making them a greater risk to the public than when they entered.

 

Click here to read the Right on Crime: Statement of Principles and a list of the signatories.

Senate Judiciary Committee Approves Lynch Nomination (Updated April 3, 2015)

Loretta Lynch

On February 26, 2015, the Senate Judiciary Committee approved the nomination of Loretta Lynch as Attorney General. With a vote of 12-8, GOP Senators Lindsey Graham, Orrin Hatch, and Jeff Flake, joined the Democrats on the committee in sending the nomination to the full Senate. The Republican opposition cites the Obama administration’s actions on immigration and her belief in the legality of the president’s executive action on immigration– issues which may lead to a contentious vote in the full Senate.

Lynch has had strong bipartisan support, as shown by the letter to the Judiciary Committee signed by 25 former United States Attorneys. (See January 22, 2015 post)

However, the nomination stalled over a dispute between Democrats and Republicans over an abortion provision in a bill to create a fund for victims of sexual trafficking. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has refused to turn to the matter of confirming Lynch until the sex-trafficking bill got off the floor. As of March 18, Lynch has been waiting 129 days for confirmation, longer than the five previous nominees combined. Senators Corker, Alexander and Wicker announced they will opposed Lynch’s nomination, casting doubt as to whether she will have enough votes to be confirmed. NAFUSA lifetime member Rudy Giuliani, on the other hand, is “stepping up his lobbying for Loretta Lynch’s confimation as attorney general”, in a letter to Senator Lindsey Graham, as reported in Politico. Bloomberg Politics reports that Lynch “probably won’t get a Senate confirmation vote until at least mid-April five months after she was nominated, because the chamber plans to spend this week debating its budget proposal.”

But on April 2, Senator Mark Kirk, Republican of Illinois, said he would vote to confirm Lynch, apparently giving her enough votes for confirmation. She reportedly already has the votes of Republican Senators Susan Collins, Lindsey Graham, Orrin Hatch and Jeff Flake. Nevertheless, the vote is not expected until mid-April at the earliest.