15 November 2007

O'Connor Named No. 3 at Justice Department

The White House and Justice Deparment announced today that U.S. Attorney for Connecticut Kevin O'Connor will be nominated by President Bush as Associate Attorney General, the number three job at the department.

According to the Associated Press report:

In his new job, O'Connor would be third in line at the department and would oversee hundreds of attorneys working on civil rights, tax, antitrust and environmental cases.

"I am deeply honored to be nominated by the president to serve as associate attorney general, and grateful to the president and the attorney general for the confidence they have placed in me," O'Connor said in a statement. "The past five years during which I have served as Connecticut's U.S. Attorney have been the most challenging and rewarding of my professional career. If confirmed by the United States Senate, I look forward to serving in another important capacity within the Department of Justice."

O'Connor was one of five nominations announced Thursday by the White House to begin filling more than a dozen vacant leadership posts across the department as newly sworn-in Attorney General Michael Mukasey begins his job.

With only a little over a year left in the Bush administration, officials may opt to have an interim U.S. attorney for Connecticut as they have done in the past.

During his tenure in Connecticut, prosecutors successfully convicted a wave of public officials, including former Gov. John G. Rowland, a state lawmaker and the mayors of two of the largest cities. They also have won numerous convictions in a probe of the mob's influence of the trash industry and won record environmental fines against companies.

"I think Kevin is a terrific U.S. attorney," said Hugh Keefe, a defense attorney who has represented many high profile defendants in federal cases. "He's had a good run."

O'Connor, who ran a competitive but unsuccessful campaign for Congress in 1998, has been mentioned as a potential Republican candidate in the future.

"He's the golden boy of the Connecticut Republican Party without question," Keefe said.