Conservative politicians were already raising hell about the controversies surrounding Attorney General Eric Holder Jr. Now they’re raising money, too.
Last week, Senator Ted Cruz (R-Texas), who formerly ran the Supreme Court practice at Morgan, Lewis & Bockius, began featuring Holder in a political attack ad-style fundraising pitch on his campaign website. A black-and-white photo of Holder appears under the red-lettered word "RESIGN." A "donate" button takes visitors to another page that says: "Please make a generous contribution right now and help Ted Cruz push for the resignation of Eric Holder."
On the website, Cruz initially accused Holder of "wiretapping journalists," a nod to the flap between The Associated Press and the U.S. Department of Justice. He changed the wording to "seizing phone records" after a query from The National Law Journal.
Holder on June 6 told a Senate committee he had no intention of stepping down. Only the IRS fared worse than Holder in a national approval ratings poll last week. — Todd Ruger
AT SG’S OFFICE, A VACANCY FOR KEY SLOT
With Sri Srinivasan leaving the U.S. Department of Justice soon for his seat on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit, names are popping up around town as possible nominees to fill his key position as the principal deputy solicitor general.
The list includes Stanford Law School professor Pamela Karlan; Caitlin Halligan, a one-time nominee to the D.C. Circuit; Mayer Brown partner Andrew Pincus, and Ian Gershengorn, a deputy assistant attorney general and former colleague of Solicitor General Donald Verrilli Jr. when they were at Jenner & Block.
All have experience arguing before the Supreme Court. Not in the mix, apparently, is Leondra Kruger, who served as acting principal deputy in 2010 when Neal Katyal became acting S.G. Kruger is now in the Office of Legal Counsel.
Once held by John Roberts Jr., the job is an important one in the SG’s office, where it is known also as the "political deputy" slot. That only means the person is not a career civil servant, although those in the position have had to fight off the perception that they are the White House’s political enforcer in the SG’s office. Srinivasan is set to be sworn in later this month. — Tony Mauro
DOJ FIGHTS FOR LOBBYIST BAN
The U.S. Department of Justice doesn’t pity six lobbyists who are in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit challenging the Obama administration ban on service by federal lobbyists on agency boards and commissions. Mayer Brown special counsel Charles Rothfeld and associate Joseph Minta, the lobbyists’ lawyers, wrote last month in their opening brief that the prohibition has "punished" their clients and discouraged lobbying. Not so, Michael Raab, an assistant director of the DOJ Civil Division appellate staff, wrote in the government’s brief, filed June 5. "The present case involves a desire to be a member of an advisory committee, a status to which plaintiffs have no entitlement and of which they could have no sure expectation," wrote Raab, handling the appeal with Mark Stern, a Civil Division appellate ligation counsel. The lobbyists sought appointment or reappointment to industry trade advisory committees overseen by the U.S. Commerce Department and the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative. The challengers in November appealed a lower court’s ruling that upheld the administration’s ban. No argument date has been set in the appeal. — Andrew Ramonas
When Sullivan & Cromwell associate Sean Memon started on the final puzzles in The Washington Post‘s annual quiz game, called Post Hunt, he was only trying to finish. Every year, the hunt attracts thousands of people who scour the city trying to solve puzzles. Memon, who practices in Sullivan’s financial institutions and securities group in Washington, said he showed up for about the past five years for the fun of it. This year? He was the solo winner. Memon has always taken to solving the puzzles alone — and he sticks it out to the end. "To me it’s not so much about winning the entire prize, but it’s about winning the puzzle," he said. The LSAT is known to include puzzle questions, but Memon wasn’t a fan of those. "I remember not enjoying the logic puzzles," he recalled. "That was the weakest area for me." After his Post Hunt victory, Memon drew an outpouring of support from his colleagues. "One of my fellow associates emailed the entire offices," he said. "Then all the emails started to come in." — Matthew Huisman
ONCE IN THE SPOTLIGHT, BACK AGAIN
A team from Sidley Austin is representing Jill Kelley, the Florida woman caught up in the David Petraeus scandal, in a privacy lawsuit filed last week in Washington federal district court. The Sidley lawyers, including Alan Raul, who leads the firm’s privacy, data security and information law practice, contend the government disclosed confidential information about Kelley — putting her in the national spotlight and making her a part of the scandal. Sidley partner Edward McNicholas and associates Colleen Brown and Cara L ópez are also named as lawyers for Kelley. Raul, who didn’t return a message seeking comment, is former vice chairman of the White House privacy and civil liberties oversight board, established on the recommendation of the 9/11 Commission. He also served as the general counsel of Office of Management and Budget. Raul was associate counsel to President Ronald Reagan from 1986 to 1988. McNicholas is a former associate counsel to President Bill Clinton and focuses on the intersection of privacy, constitutional law and white-collar defense. — Matthew Huisman
THE GHOST OF HOWREY
Defunct law firm Howrey is long gone, but its ghost made an appearance in District of Columbia Superior Court. Allan Diamond, the Diamond McCarthy managing partner who serves as Howrey’s Chapter 11 trustee, filed a breach of contract lawsuit on June 4 seeking more than $33,000 in unpaid fees, interest and costs. According to his complaint, Howrey was hired in late 2008 to do legal work related to foreign banking, but the defendants, Amas Securities Inc. — now known as Hinduja Capital Advisors Inc. — and conglomerate Hinduja Group, never paid. Howrey entered bankruptcy in April 2011. The case is part of an ongoing effort by Diamond to collect money owed to the firm. A Hinduja representative could not be reached for comment. Diamond is represented by Joel Adler of the Adler Law Firm in San Francisco. — Zoe Tillman
It might be the smallest division in the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, but Risk, Strategy and Financial Innovation had the catchiest nickname: RiskFin. Well, not anymore. SEC head Mary Jo White last week announced that it would now be known as the Division of Economic and Risk Analysis, or DERA. White said that the new name "reflects the breadth of its still-expanding responsibilities." Adding the word "economic" so prominently might also signal that the new chairwoman is placing a premium on the subject — especially since the SEC in recent years has suffered a series of stinging losses in court for failing to do rigorous economic analysis of proposed rules. — Jenna Greene