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Ashcroft Takes Over Ethics For Firm That Was Blackwater

Former Attorney General and Sen. John Ashcroft (R-Mo.) has joined the security firm formerly known as Blackwater as an ethics officer, the company announced Wednesday.

Ashcroft, who headed the Justice Department during the first term of President George W. Bush, will be an independent director in charge of ethics and accountability at USTC Holdings, the investment consortium that acquired Blackwater successor firms Xe Services and the U.S. Training Center for an undisclosed sum in December.

The sale of Blackwater and its lucrative defense contracts from founder Erik D. Prince to the group of private investors was part of a push to clean up the company’s image after several of its guards were accused of killing 17 civilians in Baghdad in 2007. A federal appeals court late last month said a lower court had erroneously dismissed that case and that the prosecution of four of the guards could move forward.

“I look forward to helping USTC enhance its governance and oversight capabilities as the company moves forward,” Ashcroft said in a statement.

Ashcroft also will remain as the chairman of the Ashcroft Group law and consulting firm.

Ashcroft served one term in the Senate from 1995-2000.