Dunnica is of course the first name of our outgoing U.S. Attorney in the Southern District of Mississippi, about whom Scott Horton wrote yesterday:
A number of U.S. attorneys were scheduled to be axed, but survived when the White House intervened. How did these U.S. attorneys keep their jobs?Indeed they were, as Horton goes on to discuss. The "Katrina excuse" is the most frivolous example of that genre I've seen yet.
One of these “Lazarus candidates” was the U.S. attorney in Jackson, Mississippi, Dunnica Ott Lampton. The tangled tale in the Justice Department’s internal report sheds some light on why he was retained, but it also raises some questions.
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On January 1, 2006, Sampson re-drafted the termination list, still including Lampton’s name, and circulated it to Monica Goodling [27, 28]. Goodling insisted that Lampton be retained “based upon his performance in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina” . Sampson says he did as Goodling asked, striking Lampton’s name off the list, and forwarded it to Miers at the White House on January 9, 2006.
But when questioned by investigators, Sampson acknowledged that performance criteria were not “the decisive factor in the removal process.” The key consideration was whether local Republican officials were satisfied with the U.S. attorney’s performance .