Justice Dept. now can’t fill U.S. attorney spots.

“The Bush administration’s decision to fire nine U.S. attorneys last year has created a new problem for the White House: The controversy appears to be discouraging applications for some of the 22 prosecutor posts that President Bush needs to fill.”

Of the nation’s 93 U.S. attorneys, 22 are serving without Senate confirmation as interim or acting prosecutors. They represent districts in Alaska, Arizona, California, the District of Columbia, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Iowa, Maine, Michigan, Nebraska, Nevada, New Mexico, Puerto Rico, Tennessee, West Virginia and Washington.

White House spokesman Tony Fratto said the administration is committed to nominating candidates for all 22 open positions, but so far the administration has submitted only four nominees.

In Florida, the panel that’s evaluating candidates and making recommendations to the White House has received only two applicants for the vacancy left by U.S. Attorney Paul Perez in Tampa – even after it extended the May 3 deadline to apply.