NAFUSA Liaison Committee Meets with Attorney General

Quarterly Meetings Continue

NAFUSA’s six person Liaison Committee met with Attorney General Eric Holder on July 20, 2011, at the Attorney General’s conference room at Main Justice. The AG was joined by his chief of staff, Gary Grindler, and his deputy chief of staff and counselor, Monty Wilkinson.  [It was later announced that Wilkinson has been appointed Principal Deputy Director and Chief of Staff at the Executive Office for United States Attorneys (EOUSA). Channing Phillips of the AG’s staff will be the AG’s new liaison to NAFUSA.

The General discussed the recent Senate confirmations of Jim Cole as Deputy AG, Lisa Monaco as Assistant AG in charge of National Security, Virginia Seitz as Assistant AG for the Office of Legal Counsel, Donald Verrilli as Solictor General and Denise O’Donnell (former NAFUSA board member) as Director of the Bureau of Justice Assistance. Vacancies remain for tax, inspector general and ATF. [On July 29, 2011, President Obama announced his intent to nominate Michael E. Horowitz as Inspector General.] The AG advised that Christine Varney, the Assistant Attorney General in charge of Antitrust, will be leaving the department in August and a search has begun for her replacement. As for U.S. Attorneys, openings remain in Utah, Western Michigan and Northern Oklahoma.

The Liaison Committee suggested that NAFUSA would like to sponsor an ethics seminar for U.S. Attorneys, Assistant U.S. Attorneys and/or Department personnel. The AG was very open to this idea and urged that the Committee follow up with his staff. The group discussed the possibility of NAFUSA including experts from academia for this purpose.

From left, NAFUSA Liaison Committee members Doug Jones, President-Elect Rick Deane, Treasurer Matt Orwig, Attorney General Eric Holder, President Bill Lutz, Immediate Past President and Committee Chair Rich Rossman and Wayne Budd. Photo by Department of Justice photographer Craig Crawford. Click to enlarge.

A discussion was held regarding the October 11, 2011, ten year anniversary of the murder of Assistant U.S. Attorney Tom Wales. The committee advised the AG that NAFUSA is considering raising funds to increase the amount of the reward, currently at a million dollars. There is compelling evidence that Wales murder is work related, and, if so, he will be the first Assistant U.S. Attorney in history to be killed in the line of duty.

The Liaison Committee advised the AG that NAFUSA’s 2013 conference will be held in Washington and the board has discussed a “Day at Justice” event of a half or full day to be held at the Department, perhaps in the Great Hall with Department officials addressing the membership. The General was very receptive, but pointed out there was no assurance he would still be there. He kidded that, in that event, he could join on our side.