Friend of Rove's: Never mind

Faced with the prospect of undergoing Senate confirmation, Tim Griffin passes on the U.S. attorney job the White House created for him.

Published February 16, 2007 2:49PM (EST)

The Bush administration ousted the U.S. attorney for Arkansas late last year solely, it now appears, to create a job opening for former Karl Rove aide Tim Griffin. But amid new revelations about the White House's role in canning the former U.S. attorney -- the New York Times reports today that Harriet Miers intervened to make it happen -- Griffin says he doesn't want the new job after all.

"I have made the decision not to let my name go forward to the Senate," Griffin tells the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette.

Griffin's decision isn't quite as noble as it might sound. The president appointed him as the interim U.S. attorney for Arkansas in December. But under a provision of the Patriot Act, Griffin's "interim" appointment -- and several others the White House has made -- would have lasted until the end of George W. Bush's term in office without ever having gone through the Senate confirmation process. Responding to pressure from both Democratic and Republican senators -- and in the face of pending legislation to change the interim-appointment rules -- the Justice Department has agreed to send Griffin's appointment and all of the others to the Hill for Senate confirmation.

Griffin wants none of that; the former Republican operative complains that "to submit my name to the Senate would be like volunteering to stand in front of a firing squad in the middle of a three-ring circus." He has graciously agreed to stay on as the interim U.S. attorney until the White House "gets someone else that I can help transition into this job." We've got a suggestion, and it's someone who wouldn't need much help transitioning. His name is Bud Cummins -- the man the White House dumped to make way for Griffin in the first place.

By Tim Grieve

Tim Grieve is a senior writer and the author of Salon's War Room blog.

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