Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-VT) revealed today that Attorney General Alberto Gonzales had once again bypassed the Senate and used an obscure Patriot Act provision to appoint an interim U.S. attorney in California.
The authority Gonzales used was at the heart of the U.S. attorney scandal, and was banned in a bill that passed both chambers of Congress with strong bipartisan support earlier this year. The legislation was sent to the President for his signature on June 4. During a hearing today, Leahy blasted Bush for stalling:
That bill, the Preserving United States Attorney Independence Act of 2007, has been on the president’s desk since June 4th. Do you know it seems he just can’t bring himself to sign it? Instead, we were informed yesterday through the Justice Department that the attorney general has used the power that we voted to repeal again.
It’s almost like they live in an alternate world, as though they’re not realizing the reaction of Democrats and Republicans about this misuse of this power. That’s wrong.
But now President Bush has what he wanted. Thanks to his delay, Alberto Gonzales was able to install George Cardona as an interim U.S. Attorney in the Central District of California. Tonight, the White House released a two-line statement:
On June 14, 2007, the President signed into law:
S. 214, the “Preserving United States Attorney Independence Act of 2007.”