Former U.S. Attorney for western Missouri leaves Justice Dept.
washington, DC – Bradley Schlozman, the former U.S. Attorney who defended his decision to bring a Missouri voter fraud case just days before the 2006 election, has resigned from his post at the Justice Department.
Schlozman worked in the office that oversees all U.S. attorneys. He came under criticism from Democrats in June when he testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee about his decision to bring the fraud case while he served as U.S. Attorney for the western district of Missouri.
He becomes at least the sixth department official to resign since the political furor began over allegations of partisan misconduct in the firings of U.S. Attorneys across the country.
A Justice Department spokesman did not return a call seeking comment.
Thursday also saw the resignation of the Justice Department's top civil rights enforcer, following more than a year of criticism that his office filled its ranks with conservative loyalists instead of experienced attorneys.
Assistant Attorney General Wan J. Kim was the first immigrant and first Korean-American to head the department's civil rights division a post he held for just over two years.
Schlozman denied claims that political motives were a factor in the timing of his prosecution of four activists from the liberal-leaning group ACORN for allegedly submitting bogus voter registration forms.
Internal department guidelines discouraged such cases because of their potential to influence voter turnout.
Schlozman said the decision to file the case was his, though he requested and received permission from senior Justice officials before bringing the action. The four workers all pleaded guilty earlier this year.
Lawmakers are investigating whether the lawsuit was filed for political reasons during a close Senate race in Missouri.
Word of Schlozman's resignation prompted Senate Judiciary Chairman Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., on Thursday to send a letter complaining that Schlozman still has not provided follow-up responses and other documents that the panel requested after his June 5 testimony.
The responses were due June 28. Leahy threatened to issue a subpoena unless Schlozman responds by Tuesday.
Leahy said Schlozman "appeared to mislead the committee" by initially testifying that he was directed to file the election eve lawsuit by the department's Public Integrity section. A week after the hearing, Schlozman sent a letter to the committee clarifying that he was not, in fact, told to file the case.
Schlozman has also said he had nothing to do with the decision to force out Todd Graves as U.S. attorney for Kansas City. Schlozman replaced Graves just two weeks after Graves resigned from his post in March 2006. After serving in the position for about year, Schlozman returned to Washington.
At the same Senate hearing, Graves testified that he would not have brought the voter fraud case because of the department's policy.
Graves claimed he was forced out of his job after clashing with senior Justice Department officials over the filing of a different Missouri voter fraud case in 2005. The earlier case alleged Missouri officials failed to purge ineligible voters from registration lists, but a federal judge dismissed the case for lack of evidence. The Justice Department has appealed.
Some former Justice Department attorneys have also accused Schlozman of injecting political factors into the hiring of attorneys when he headed the department's Civil Rights Division.
Schlozman denies he ever used political affiliation as a litmus test in hiring career attorneys.