Obama picks fired U.S. attorney for old job

Dan Bogden, of Nevada, would get his job back, several years after the Bush administration forced him out

By Mike Madden
Published July 31, 2009 8:46PM (EDT)

WASHINGTON -- One of the U.S. attorneys fired by the Bush administration will be getting his old job back, if President Obama has his way.

The White House just announced that Obama has nominated Dan Bogden to be U.S. attorney for the district of Nevada -- the job he held from 2001 to 2007, when Bush aides pushed out nine top prosecutors under circumstances that have never been fully explained. Bogden's firing, in particular, was a mystery; Bush's attorney general, Alberto Gonzales, told a Senate committee in April 2007 that he "didn't have an independent basis or recollection of knowing about Mr. Bogden's performance." Bush's former top aide, Karl Rove, appears to have been deeply involved in the firings.

The idea to nominate Bogden for his old job came from Senate Democratic leader Harry Reid of Nevada. "I just think it's so unfair what happened to him," Reid told Nevada reporters in March. "There was nothing bad about him. It's just Karl Rove trying to get back at Nevada, I guess."

Rove met with lawyers from the House Judiciary Committee, which is investigating the firings, earlier this month in a closed-door session, and then again on Wednesday. He told the Washington Post and the New York Times that he did nothing wrong in the firings, even as e-mails he provided the newspapers showed he was particularly involved in the decision to force out prosecutors in New Mexico, Missouri and Arkansas.

Bogden's nomination, along with three other Obama picks for the top federal prosecutor jobs in Nebraska, Rhode Island and the western district of Virginia, will go before the Senate Judiciary Committee for a hearing, and then, if approved, to the full Senate for confirmation.

UPDATE: A White House spokesman just sent over this comment on Bogden's nomination, in response to an e-mail from Salon. "Daniel Bogden is an experienced lawyer and prosecutor who has the strong support of Majority Leader Reid," the statement says. "The president believes that Mr. Bogden has demonstrated a strong commitment to serving the people of Nevada and that he will work closely with the leadership of the Department of Justice to follow the facts and the law in the pursuit of justice."

Mike Madden

Mike Madden is Salon's Washington correspondent. A complete listing of his articles is here. Follow him on Twitter here.

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