On June 12, 2013, the NAFUSA Liaison Committee met with the Attorney General’s Advisory Committee (AGAC) in Washington. Jay Stephens chaired the committee and was NAFUSA’s principal spokesman. The other committee members were Don Stern (substituting for Rick Deane who was unable to attend), Matt Orwig, Doug Jones, Ken Wainstein and Rich Rossman.
The AGAC, is chaired by Lorreta Lynch (a former NAFUSA member from her first term as US Attorney in the Clinton Administration) and Sally Yates is the Vice-Chair. Although other issues were touched upon briefly, most of the discussion centered upon sequestration. The AGAC explained that if the sequester continues into FY14, all AUSAs and staff members will suffer mandatory three week furloughs. The hiring freeze will continue until 2015, with an anticipated loss of 1200 positions. The Department will find it self with the same staffing as 1997, but with a significant increase in case loads.
The US Attorney offices will be forced to reassess priorities. Cases will be pushed to state and local authorities. Some areas will be immune such as national security, but there will be a large impact on violent crime prosecution, guns, etc. The safety of the public will be impacted. Such areas as Indian country will be particulary hard hit. They can’t push those cases to state and local and case loads have increased by 40%.
As offices lose positions by attrition, they will unable to replace. Reduced travel budgets will hurt investigations. The AGAC members have already seen the impact of sequestration on the Federal Defenders, the Bureau and other agencies.