Obama Promotes Prosecutor Mistreated By Bush DOJ For Wife’s Dem Ties

A career prosecutor whose promotion to Main Justice was quashed by Monica Goodling during the Bush years has been nominated to be a U.S. Attorney, in President Obama’s latest reversal of a politicized decision of the Bush Justice Department.

William Hochul, who has been an Assistant U.S. Attorney for the Western District of New York for nearly 20 years, was nominated to be the U.S. Attorney there last week after a recommendation from Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY).Hochul was poised to be appointed to a top counterterrorism detail in 2006 when Goodling, the DOJ’s White House liaison, intervened because Hochul’s wife was active in Democratic politics.

An internal DOJ investigation of Goodling reported in 2008 that “notwithstanding the candidate’s outstanding qualifications,” she “refused to allow the candidate to be detailed to [the counterrorism job] solely on the basis of his wife’s political party affiliation.”

In a cruel twist, Hochul, who had had a high-level interview for the position, was never informed that he didn’t get the job. It went instead to a Republican lawyer personally interviewed by Goodling who had “no counterterrorism experience and had less than the minimum of 5 years of federal criminal prosecution experience required by the job announcement.”

Probably Hochul’s most high-profile prosecution was the controversial Lackawanna Six case, in which a group of young men from Buffalo were convicted of providing material support to Al Qaeda.

This isn’t the first time Obama has sharply reversed course from the personnel decisions of the Bush Justice Department. In September, Daniel Bogden was confirmed as U.S. Attorney for Nevada after being fired from the same job during Bush’s purge of U.S. Attorneys.

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