President Bush withdrew the nomination of Timothy Flanigan as deputy attorney general, after Senators pressed the Tyco International lawyer for details about his ties to lobbyist Jack Abramoff.
The White House said it took the action Friday at Flanigan’s request. With the stalled nomination likely to drag on for weeks or longer, he cited the “uncertainty concerning the timing of my nomination,” in a letter to Bush.
Critics of the nomination said they were also troubled by the fact that Flanigan had no experience as a criminal prosecutor and that he helped shape administration policy on the treatment of suspected terrorists in American custody, as deputy White House counsel under Alberto Gonzales. Some had suggested that Flanigan was another example of Bush cronyism.
Flanigan becomes the most prominent Bush appointee to pull his nomination since Bernard B. Kerik withdrew from consideration as homeland security secretary last December.
The question remains, though, does it take a stalled nomination process for President Bush to withdraw a poor nominee for a key post?
That wasn’t the case with U.N. Ambassador John Bolton. But that was pre-Katrina, and Bush’s popularity has dropped precipitously since then, to the point where conservatives are abandoning ship on various issues, and Democrats (gasp) are beginning to feel emboldened.
So if the rules have changed, maybe the Senate should continue standing up to Bush cronyism. Maybe they should fight other unqualified nominees, such as Supreme Court nominee Harriet Miers, as well as State Department nominee Ellen Sauerbrey and Homeland Security nominee Julie Myers.
Wouldn’t that be interesting? Then Bush would have to actually find qualified candidates, outside his inner circle of friends and contributors, for key posts.
Flanigan had been scheduled to testify for a second time before the Senate Judiciary Committee to answer more questions regarding Abramoff, a former lobbyist for Tyco. As Tyco general counsel, Flanigan supervised Abramoff’s activities for the company.
Abramoff, who is under investigation by a Justice Department-led task force over allegations that he overcharged clients and made illegal payments to legislators, was a major fundraiser for Bush’s 2004 re-election, and had close ties to former House Majority Leader Tom DeLay (R-TX). Flanigan told the committee in a written response to follow-up questions that Abramoff boasted of his contacts with Karl Rove, Bush’s longtime senior political strategist.
This item first appeared at Journalists Against Bush’s B.S.Powered by Sidelines