Democratic Senators Request GAO Probe of Bradbury’s Appointment

Posted April 17, 2008 at 4:59pm

Democratic Senators sent a letter Wednesday night to the comptroller general questioning the legality of Justice Department official Steven Bradbury’s appointment.

Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), and Sens. Edward Kennedy (D-Mass.) and Russ Feingold (D-Wis.) sent their letter to Comptroller General Gene L. Dodaro to investigate whether Bradbury’s appointment as principal deputy assistant attorney general violates the Vacancies Reform Act.

As head of the General Accounting Office, the comptroller general is charged with enforcing that law.

Bradbury’s nomination to be assistant attorney general in Justice’s Office of Legal Counsel has been rejected four different times by the Senate Judiciary Committee. However, the president nominated Bradbury a fifth time, and his name is pending before the Judiciary Committee.

In the letter, the three Senators, all members of the Judiciary Committee, claim that Bradury’s employment with the department is in violation of the Vacancies Reform Act. The Senators argue that the administration has tried to manipulate the law by changing Bradbury’s official title from acting assistant attorney general to principal deputy assistant attorney general, despite the fact that he is carrying out the same functions.

“This appears to be an end run around and in violation of the Vacancies Reform Act, which does not permit an official to continue leading an office after the 210-day period has expired. … Mr. Bradbury has done exactly that.”

The Senators say that Bradbury’s appointment as acting assistant attorney general expired April 26, 2007.

Democrats have long decried the Bradbury appointment because of Bradbury’s alleged involvement in setting the Bush administration policy on torture, including waterboarding.

In February, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) said that Bradbury’s nomination was never going anywhere.

“There will never be any movement” on Bradbury, Reid said. “Bradbury will never be approved by the Democrats.”