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Overview:
The mission of the Office of Professional Responsibility (OPR) is to promote, maintain and enforce legal and ethical conduct by US Attorneys. OPR trains US Attorneys in proper conduct, and investigates specific complaints of misconduct, such as withholding evidence, improper jury instructions and unauthorized media releases. When OPR finds that a US Attorney’s actions did not conform to legal and/or professional standards, as in 25 of 88 investigations completed in 2005 (PDF), it recommends disciplinary action to the Deputy Attorney General.  Recently, OPR has been assigned to investigate broader issues, such as the improper use of political criteria in Department of Justice hiring and firing decisions, US Attorney opinions justifying electronic surveillance without warrants, and the use of torture in the War on Terror.
more
History:

OPR was created in 1975, to maintain standards of ethical and legal conduct inside the Justice Department. Its creation was a response to the criticisms of political influence in the Justice Department during the Watergate Scandal. OPR had one Chief Council, Mike Shaheen, from its inception until 1997, when the current Chief Council was appointed.

more
What it Does:

The OPR is authorized to investigate allegations of professional misconduct by any of the Department of Justice’s 10,000 attorneys relating to the attorneys’ actions in investigation, litigation, or giving legal advice. The OPR receives several hundred complaints about US Attorneys per year, from judges, defense attorneys, other Department attorneys and others. About 2/3 of these complaints are determined not to warrant further investigation because the complaints are vague and unsupported by evidence or because they are outside OPR’s jurisdiction. About 2/3 of the remaining 250 or so complaints are handled as inquiries, to be resolved by review of written records, including case transcripts and the accused attorney’s written response to the complaint. The remaining third, including some 15% of inquiries that do not resolve the complaint, become full investigations. In these cases, OPR attorneys will interview judges, attorneys, witnesses and other relevant parties, as well as review case records. If the OPR finds that misconduct has occurred, recommendations for discipline of individual attorneys follow, recommendations which Department management has discretion whether to implement. The OPR has also referred cases of intentional misconduct to state bar associations.

 
OPR also engages in the training of US Attorneys in proper conduct, and in presentations about ethical/legal issues to legal associations, such as the National Bar Council. OPR participates in education and training internationally, in 2005 making presentations about prosecutorial ethics in Albania, the Republic of Georgia and Afghanistan.
more
Controversies:
Can the Department of Justice Investigate Itself?
Under the current administration, OPR has been assigned to investigate and report on two huge controversies centering on the Department of Justice: legal opinions justifying the use of electronic surveillance and “enhanced interrogation” by NSA, CIA and others in the War on Terror, and the undue use of political criteria in Department personnel and prosecution decisions. As with any investigation by an internal office of a federal bureaucracy, there is suspicion that the investigators and the officials reviewing their findings might support their Department staff, especially when Department actions face external criticism. The resulting report then is suspiciously viewed as a defense excusing the actions. The specific circumstances heightened such suspicions, since the OPR reports to the Attorney General, in this case Alberto Gonzales, who was himself viewed by some as a co-conspirator.
 
Insofar as OPR has begun to issue reports under the new Attorney General, Michael Mukasey, there is no evidence that the OPR investigations and reports are anything but honest and factual, as discussed below.
 
OPR’s role in the controversies
The OPR was assigned to work with the Department of Justice’s Office of the Inspector General to investigate and report on allegations that the Department made many decisions on personnel and on which prosecutions to pursue based on a partisan political agenda. The most media-publicized aspect of this controversy was the firing of 19 U.S. Attorneys following the 2004 election. Recently, the OPR issued one report on a less publicized area of the controversy, the hiring of new attorneys through the Honors Program and of Summer Legal Interns (see Washington Post article, full report (PDF)). OPR found, for instance, that qualified candidates for new and intern positions had been rejected because of membership in liberal, pro-choice or environmental organizations, and identified two officials as having made dozens of improper hiring decisions. Unfortunately, these two persons had already moved on to work for private Washington law firms and were therefore immune to Department disciplinary action.
 
The OPR’s assignment to investigate and report on legal opinions by US Attorneys justifying electronic surveillance without warrants hit an initial roadblock. OPR attorneys could not receive Security Clearances from the National Security Administration (NSA) to review relevant documents and conduct interviews. So in May 2006, the OPR’s chief counsel, H Marshall Jarrett, announced that the investigation had to be suspended.   Then, in November of 2007, just after the Senate had confirmed the appointment of Michael Mukasey as Attorney General, Jarrett announced that the OPR attorneys had received NSA Security Clearances and the investigation would be reopened. In February 2008, Jarrett informed Congress that OPR was also reviewing US Attorney approval of waterboarding by the CIA and other related legal memorandums. To date, no reports have been issued, nor is there any promise as to when such reports might be released.
More scrutiny, secrecy at Justice Department (by Richard B. Schmitt, Los Angeles Times)

Ideology-Based Hiring at Justice Broke Laws, Investigation Finds

(by Carrie Johnson, Washington Post)

more
Former Directors:

Mike Shaheen was Chief Council from the creation of OPR to 1997 (22 years). He was succeeded by his Deputy as Acting Counsel for five months, and then by H. Marshall Jarrett.

more

Comments

MIHAELA HRISTODOR 2 months ago
PLEASE HELP ME! No. 1:16-cv-01321-SCY-LF They are corrupted! My lawyer sabotaged my case! Not sure if Judge is involved, yet I believe he is! THEY DO THAT TO SO MANY PEOPLE! PLEASE HELP ME AND PLEASE INVESTIGATE ALLPREVIOUS CASES THEY WORKED ON! THOSE PEOPLE DIDN'T RECEIVED JUSTICE! Thank you, Michaela.
christopher 4 years ago
I am the coincidential Victim of an Illegal Prosecution by the Marysville, Ca. Court District Attorney and Main Sheriff Mark Heath. We were already inspected by Sheriff Heath who told us that a first time offense for Plant Count was not more than a Misdameanor Ticket. The Sheriff never told us about a problem to fix after answereing all his questions. Then on 3 July 2012 the Sheriffs used a Illegal Search and Sezuire destroyed all the Medical Crop and Arrested us on faked Charges Mark Lied to us and the Judge about. I never got the chance to question Mark or the DA Prosecutor in Court before the hurried Trial that already was based on extreme Conspired Bias with a Confidential Informant that wasnt revealed in Discovery. We were denied Defense requests and even threatened by the District Attorney of Marysville in Court when complaining of Law Enforcement Corruption yet were never given a Fair Venue or Offer of Case Closure that was obviously required by people that had not done anything for a Required JUST CAUSE of a FAKED Search Warrant with suspicion of PERJURY by DA AND Sheriff, Conspiracy to Murder us using SWAT by Faked Bench Warrant that still almost a Year later hasnt been Closed or Officially Responded to. andalusia482@gmail.com
MR Justin Karl Swansn 5 years ago
hello i am mr justin karl swanson 217 w spokane falls blvd#308. spokane washington 99201. 509-701-8737. justin.karlswanson@live.com zipzowyzingywingy@yahoo.com i have wrote to one of your departments and addresed a robin ashton from the office of responsibility. ( i feel that there may be a money depression problem in the city of spokane washington in the down town area. ) i have addressed of having the spokesman review removed from ...
BARBARA JOHNSON 5 years ago
i want to file a complaint on the psob board, and hope janke.my son was a police officer killed in lod 9/28/98. i have been fighting with the psob office for 13 yrs. they continue to stall and i get no results. i hhave been through all appeals process including hearing officer and waiting on final denial of claim from hope janke in which she has refused to talk to me or my attorney.this office has no professionalism they are rude and intolerable. after 13yrs you would think they wou...
Randal O. Denley 6 years ago
Dear (Miss/Mrs.) Brown, I am Randal O. Denley, of Lexington, Tennessee, and am writing you in regard to my brother-in-law, Virgil A. Goodman, Inmate # 19335-076, at the Low Security Federal Correctional Facility, Box 5000, Yazoo City, Miss. 39194. The case brought before him was a setup from the very beginning. When he was at his home, in Henderson County, Lexington, Tennessee, a Black pick-up pulled up into his driveway, NOT IDENTIFYING THEMSELVES AS LAW OFFICERS!, Scared my b...
Elizabeth O'Nan 6 years ago
I mailed a formal complaint to Mary Patice Brown on June 9, 2010 and have not received ant notice or information about my complaint as to whether it is being investigated or any action is being taken at all. In the mean time I am being forced to appeal the case in question pro se with multiple mental and physical handicaps and can not obtain a response from Assistant US Attorney David Thornloe, much less a copy of the documents that were used against me in court and that I had never...

Leave a comment

Founded: 1975
Annual Budget: $5.8 million
Employees: 27
Official Website: http://www.usdoj.gov/opr/
Office of Professional Responsibility (OPR)
Ashton, Robin
Chief Counsel and Director

Robin C. Ashton, a career prosecutor at the U.S. Department of Justice and a top official in the District of Columbia’s U.S. Attorney’s Office, was named by then-attorney general Eric Holder as chief counsel and director of the Office of Professional Responsibility (OPR) on December 23, 2010. OPR, whose creation in 1975 was an outgrowth of the Watergate scandal and whose mission is to maintain and enforce legal and ethical conduct by U.S. Attorneys, had been plagued by controversy during the George W. Bush administration.

 

Ashton earned her B.A. in English from the University of Michigan, and her J.D. from the College of William and Mary, Marshall-Wythe School of Law.

 

Ashton was hired in January of 1991 as an assistant U.S. attorney for the U.S. Attorney's Office for the District of Columbia (USAO-DC), the largest such office in the country. She began her career in the department’s Antitrust Division and, over the course of a decade, her work ranged from the prosecution of more than 50 felony jury trials to supervising hundreds of grand jury investigations. For five of her years at USAO-DC, Ashton served as the executive assistant U.S. attorney for management, handling oversight of special operations and cases.

 

In 2001, Ashton became the Justice Department’s deputy director of the Executive Office for U.S. Attorneys, overseeing litigation divisions and operational elements of the nation’s 94 U.S. Attorneys’ Offices.  During her five-year tenure in that post, Ashton became the victim of a scandal over politicized hiring at the Justice Department. A promised promotion was snatched away from her due to the actions of Monica Goodling, a 31-year-old, inexperienced lawyer who had just been recruited by the DOJ. “You have a Monica problem,” Ashton was told by her supervisor, several DOJ officials told The New York Times. “She believes you’re a Democrat and doesn’t feel you can be trusted.”

 

Goodling, who had once ordered that partially nude statues in the Justice Department's Great Hall be covered up with drapes, used a political litmus test, along with other senior officials, to block the hiring of suspected Democrats. She also graded U.S. attorneys’ loyalties to the George W. Bush administration, firing those who didn’t measure up. One job applicant was even asked, “Have you ever cheated on your wife?” Goodling was promoted to the position of White House liaison, but an investigation eventually concluded she had violated federal law.

 

At a 2007 House hearing into the scandal, James Comey—then deputy attorney general, who had once praised Goodling’s abilities as a lawyer—testified, “I don’t know how you would put that genie back in the bottle, if people started to believe we were hiring our A.U.S.A.s [Assistant United States Attorneys] for political reasons. I don’t know that there’s any window you can go to to get the department’s reputation back if that kind of stuff is going on.”

 

Two weeks after Goodling sabotaged her promotion in 2005, Ashton left her job. She went on that year to assume a year-long detail at the Senate Judiciary Committee. It was under the Obama administration that she was tapped for the leadership post at OPR, a division of the DOJ that came with its own baggage. Indeed, Ashton took the reins of an agency that has weathered a fair amount of controversy over the years, including accusations that the lethargic pace of investigating legal opinions issued by the George W. Bush administration laid the groundwork for the torture inflicted by American interrogators on post-9/11 detainees. OPR was also accused of mishandling evidence that resulted in the collapse of a 2008 corruption case against the late Sen. Ted Stevens (R-Alaska).

 

In June 2016, Ashton incurred the displeasure of Sen. Charles Grassley (R-Iowa), chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, when she refused to appear at a hearing about allegations of sexual harassment and other misconduct at the Drug Enforcement Agency.

-Danny Biederman

 

To Learn More:

            Official Biography

more
Brown, Mary Patrice
Previous Acting Chief Counsel and Director

In becoming only the third person to head the Department of Justice’s Office of Professional Responsibility (OPR) since its post-Watergate creation in 1975, Mary Patrice Brown is expected to help Attorney General Eric Holder rebuild the reputation of the Justice Department in the wake of scandals involving the trial of U.S. Senator Ted Stevens (R-AK) and the firing of U.S. Attorneys by the Bush administration. Brown has distinguished herself as a strong advocate of prosecutors sharing evidence with the defense.

 
Brown received her Bachelor of Science in Foreign Service from Georgetown University in 1978 and her J.D. from Georgetown Law Center in 1984.
 
She then joined the Washington, D.C. office of Dickstein, Shapiro & Morin (now Dickstein Shapiro) as a litigation associate, working there until 1989.
 
Brown joined the U.S. Attorney’s Office of the District of Columbia in 1989 as an Assistant U.S. Attorney, beginning what would become a 20-year career in the office. She met Holder in 1993 when he became DC’s U.S. Attorney. Brown was promoted in 1997 to deputy chief of the office’s Appellate Division, and in 2002, she took over as deputy chief of the Fraud and Public Corruption Section, overseeing allegations of criminal misconduct by police officers, public officials and attorneys.
 
From 2004 to 2007, Brown served as the Executive Assistant U.S. Attorney Operations, where she managed and directed the oversight of significant civil and criminal cases and special operations.
 
She became the chief of the office’s Criminal Division in 2007, overseeing all aspects of prosecuting criminal cases. In that capacity, she supervised 80 attorneys and five sections, including national security, fraud and public corruption, organized crime and narcotics trafficking, asset forfeiture, and major crimes.
 
During her tenure at the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia, Brown served on the D.C. Circuit’s Committee on Admissions and Grievances for four years, investigating on behalf of the D.C. Circuit allegations of misconduct by attorneys licensed to practice in the circuit. She also served as one of the office’s professional responsibility officers, and on the “Lewis Committee,” which reviews allegations of police misconduct.
 
Attorney General Holder chose Brown to head OPR on April 8, 2009.
 
New OPR Chief Predicts More Transparency in Attorney Investigations (by Joe Palazzolo and Mike Scarcella, Legal Times)
more
Bookmark and Share
Overview:
The mission of the Office of Professional Responsibility (OPR) is to promote, maintain and enforce legal and ethical conduct by US Attorneys. OPR trains US Attorneys in proper conduct, and investigates specific complaints of misconduct, such as withholding evidence, improper jury instructions and unauthorized media releases. When OPR finds that a US Attorney’s actions did not conform to legal and/or professional standards, as in 25 of 88 investigations completed in 2005 (PDF), it recommends disciplinary action to the Deputy Attorney General.  Recently, OPR has been assigned to investigate broader issues, such as the improper use of political criteria in Department of Justice hiring and firing decisions, US Attorney opinions justifying electronic surveillance without warrants, and the use of torture in the War on Terror.
more
History:

OPR was created in 1975, to maintain standards of ethical and legal conduct inside the Justice Department. Its creation was a response to the criticisms of political influence in the Justice Department during the Watergate Scandal. OPR had one Chief Council, Mike Shaheen, from its inception until 1997, when the current Chief Council was appointed.

more
What it Does:

The OPR is authorized to investigate allegations of professional misconduct by any of the Department of Justice’s 10,000 attorneys relating to the attorneys’ actions in investigation, litigation, or giving legal advice. The OPR receives several hundred complaints about US Attorneys per year, from judges, defense attorneys, other Department attorneys and others. About 2/3 of these complaints are determined not to warrant further investigation because the complaints are vague and unsupported by evidence or because they are outside OPR’s jurisdiction. About 2/3 of the remaining 250 or so complaints are handled as inquiries, to be resolved by review of written records, including case transcripts and the accused attorney’s written response to the complaint. The remaining third, including some 15% of inquiries that do not resolve the complaint, become full investigations. In these cases, OPR attorneys will interview judges, attorneys, witnesses and other relevant parties, as well as review case records. If the OPR finds that misconduct has occurred, recommendations for discipline of individual attorneys follow, recommendations which Department management has discretion whether to implement. The OPR has also referred cases of intentional misconduct to state bar associations.

 
OPR also engages in the training of US Attorneys in proper conduct, and in presentations about ethical/legal issues to legal associations, such as the National Bar Council. OPR participates in education and training internationally, in 2005 making presentations about prosecutorial ethics in Albania, the Republic of Georgia and Afghanistan.
more
Controversies:
Can the Department of Justice Investigate Itself?
Under the current administration, OPR has been assigned to investigate and report on two huge controversies centering on the Department of Justice: legal opinions justifying the use of electronic surveillance and “enhanced interrogation” by NSA, CIA and others in the War on Terror, and the undue use of political criteria in Department personnel and prosecution decisions. As with any investigation by an internal office of a federal bureaucracy, there is suspicion that the investigators and the officials reviewing their findings might support their Department staff, especially when Department actions face external criticism. The resulting report then is suspiciously viewed as a defense excusing the actions. The specific circumstances heightened such suspicions, since the OPR reports to the Attorney General, in this case Alberto Gonzales, who was himself viewed by some as a co-conspirator.
 
Insofar as OPR has begun to issue reports under the new Attorney General, Michael Mukasey, there is no evidence that the OPR investigations and reports are anything but honest and factual, as discussed below.
 
OPR’s role in the controversies
The OPR was assigned to work with the Department of Justice’s Office of the Inspector General to investigate and report on allegations that the Department made many decisions on personnel and on which prosecutions to pursue based on a partisan political agenda. The most media-publicized aspect of this controversy was the firing of 19 U.S. Attorneys following the 2004 election. Recently, the OPR issued one report on a less publicized area of the controversy, the hiring of new attorneys through the Honors Program and of Summer Legal Interns (see Washington Post article, full report (PDF)). OPR found, for instance, that qualified candidates for new and intern positions had been rejected because of membership in liberal, pro-choice or environmental organizations, and identified two officials as having made dozens of improper hiring decisions. Unfortunately, these two persons had already moved on to work for private Washington law firms and were therefore immune to Department disciplinary action.
 
The OPR’s assignment to investigate and report on legal opinions by US Attorneys justifying electronic surveillance without warrants hit an initial roadblock. OPR attorneys could not receive Security Clearances from the National Security Administration (NSA) to review relevant documents and conduct interviews. So in May 2006, the OPR’s chief counsel, H Marshall Jarrett, announced that the investigation had to be suspended.   Then, in November of 2007, just after the Senate had confirmed the appointment of Michael Mukasey as Attorney General, Jarrett announced that the OPR attorneys had received NSA Security Clearances and the investigation would be reopened. In February 2008, Jarrett informed Congress that OPR was also reviewing US Attorney approval of waterboarding by the CIA and other related legal memorandums. To date, no reports have been issued, nor is there any promise as to when such reports might be released.
More scrutiny, secrecy at Justice Department (by Richard B. Schmitt, Los Angeles Times)

Ideology-Based Hiring at Justice Broke Laws, Investigation Finds

(by Carrie Johnson, Washington Post)

more
Former Directors:

Mike Shaheen was Chief Council from the creation of OPR to 1997 (22 years). He was succeeded by his Deputy as Acting Counsel for five months, and then by H. Marshall Jarrett.

more

Comments

MIHAELA HRISTODOR 2 months ago
PLEASE HELP ME! No. 1:16-cv-01321-SCY-LF They are corrupted! My lawyer sabotaged my case! Not sure if Judge is involved, yet I believe he is! THEY DO THAT TO SO MANY PEOPLE! PLEASE HELP ME AND PLEASE INVESTIGATE ALLPREVIOUS CASES THEY WORKED ON! THOSE PEOPLE DIDN'T RECEIVED JUSTICE! Thank you, Michaela.
christopher 4 years ago
I am the coincidential Victim of an Illegal Prosecution by the Marysville, Ca. Court District Attorney and Main Sheriff Mark Heath. We were already inspected by Sheriff Heath who told us that a first time offense for Plant Count was not more than a Misdameanor Ticket. The Sheriff never told us about a problem to fix after answereing all his questions. Then on 3 July 2012 the Sheriffs used a Illegal Search and Sezuire destroyed all the Medical Crop and Arrested us on faked Charges Mark Lied to us and the Judge about. I never got the chance to question Mark or the DA Prosecutor in Court before the hurried Trial that already was based on extreme Conspired Bias with a Confidential Informant that wasnt revealed in Discovery. We were denied Defense requests and even threatened by the District Attorney of Marysville in Court when complaining of Law Enforcement Corruption yet were never given a Fair Venue or Offer of Case Closure that was obviously required by people that had not done anything for a Required JUST CAUSE of a FAKED Search Warrant with suspicion of PERJURY by DA AND Sheriff, Conspiracy to Murder us using SWAT by Faked Bench Warrant that still almost a Year later hasnt been Closed or Officially Responded to. andalusia482@gmail.com
MR Justin Karl Swansn 5 years ago
hello i am mr justin karl swanson 217 w spokane falls blvd#308. spokane washington 99201. 509-701-8737. justin.karlswanson@live.com zipzowyzingywingy@yahoo.com i have wrote to one of your departments and addresed a robin ashton from the office of responsibility. ( i feel that there may be a money depression problem in the city of spokane washington in the down town area. ) i have addressed of having the spokesman review removed from ...
BARBARA JOHNSON 5 years ago
i want to file a complaint on the psob board, and hope janke.my son was a police officer killed in lod 9/28/98. i have been fighting with the psob office for 13 yrs. they continue to stall and i get no results. i hhave been through all appeals process including hearing officer and waiting on final denial of claim from hope janke in which she has refused to talk to me or my attorney.this office has no professionalism they are rude and intolerable. after 13yrs you would think they wou...
Randal O. Denley 6 years ago
Dear (Miss/Mrs.) Brown, I am Randal O. Denley, of Lexington, Tennessee, and am writing you in regard to my brother-in-law, Virgil A. Goodman, Inmate # 19335-076, at the Low Security Federal Correctional Facility, Box 5000, Yazoo City, Miss. 39194. The case brought before him was a setup from the very beginning. When he was at his home, in Henderson County, Lexington, Tennessee, a Black pick-up pulled up into his driveway, NOT IDENTIFYING THEMSELVES AS LAW OFFICERS!, Scared my b...
Elizabeth O'Nan 6 years ago
I mailed a formal complaint to Mary Patice Brown on June 9, 2010 and have not received ant notice or information about my complaint as to whether it is being investigated or any action is being taken at all. In the mean time I am being forced to appeal the case in question pro se with multiple mental and physical handicaps and can not obtain a response from Assistant US Attorney David Thornloe, much less a copy of the documents that were used against me in court and that I had never...

Leave a comment

Founded: 1975
Annual Budget: $5.8 million
Employees: 27
Official Website: http://www.usdoj.gov/opr/
Office of Professional Responsibility (OPR)
Ashton, Robin
Chief Counsel and Director

Robin C. Ashton, a career prosecutor at the U.S. Department of Justice and a top official in the District of Columbia’s U.S. Attorney’s Office, was named by then-attorney general Eric Holder as chief counsel and director of the Office of Professional Responsibility (OPR) on December 23, 2010. OPR, whose creation in 1975 was an outgrowth of the Watergate scandal and whose mission is to maintain and enforce legal and ethical conduct by U.S. Attorneys, had been plagued by controversy during the George W. Bush administration.

 

Ashton earned her B.A. in English from the University of Michigan, and her J.D. from the College of William and Mary, Marshall-Wythe School of Law.

 

Ashton was hired in January of 1991 as an assistant U.S. attorney for the U.S. Attorney's Office for the District of Columbia (USAO-DC), the largest such office in the country. She began her career in the department’s Antitrust Division and, over the course of a decade, her work ranged from the prosecution of more than 50 felony jury trials to supervising hundreds of grand jury investigations. For five of her years at USAO-DC, Ashton served as the executive assistant U.S. attorney for management, handling oversight of special operations and cases.

 

In 2001, Ashton became the Justice Department’s deputy director of the Executive Office for U.S. Attorneys, overseeing litigation divisions and operational elements of the nation’s 94 U.S. Attorneys’ Offices.  During her five-year tenure in that post, Ashton became the victim of a scandal over politicized hiring at the Justice Department. A promised promotion was snatched away from her due to the actions of Monica Goodling, a 31-year-old, inexperienced lawyer who had just been recruited by the DOJ. “You have a Monica problem,” Ashton was told by her supervisor, several DOJ officials told The New York Times. “She believes you’re a Democrat and doesn’t feel you can be trusted.”

 

Goodling, who had once ordered that partially nude statues in the Justice Department's Great Hall be covered up with drapes, used a political litmus test, along with other senior officials, to block the hiring of suspected Democrats. She also graded U.S. attorneys’ loyalties to the George W. Bush administration, firing those who didn’t measure up. One job applicant was even asked, “Have you ever cheated on your wife?” Goodling was promoted to the position of White House liaison, but an investigation eventually concluded she had violated federal law.

 

At a 2007 House hearing into the scandal, James Comey—then deputy attorney general, who had once praised Goodling’s abilities as a lawyer—testified, “I don’t know how you would put that genie back in the bottle, if people started to believe we were hiring our A.U.S.A.s [Assistant United States Attorneys] for political reasons. I don’t know that there’s any window you can go to to get the department’s reputation back if that kind of stuff is going on.”

 

Two weeks after Goodling sabotaged her promotion in 2005, Ashton left her job. She went on that year to assume a year-long detail at the Senate Judiciary Committee. It was under the Obama administration that she was tapped for the leadership post at OPR, a division of the DOJ that came with its own baggage. Indeed, Ashton took the reins of an agency that has weathered a fair amount of controversy over the years, including accusations that the lethargic pace of investigating legal opinions issued by the George W. Bush administration laid the groundwork for the torture inflicted by American interrogators on post-9/11 detainees. OPR was also accused of mishandling evidence that resulted in the collapse of a 2008 corruption case against the late Sen. Ted Stevens (R-Alaska).

 

In June 2016, Ashton incurred the displeasure of Sen. Charles Grassley (R-Iowa), chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, when she refused to appear at a hearing about allegations of sexual harassment and other misconduct at the Drug Enforcement Agency.

-Danny Biederman

 

To Learn More:

            Official Biography

more
Brown, Mary Patrice
Previous Acting Chief Counsel and Director

In becoming only the third person to head the Department of Justice’s Office of Professional Responsibility (OPR) since its post-Watergate creation in 1975, Mary Patrice Brown is expected to help Attorney General Eric Holder rebuild the reputation of the Justice Department in the wake of scandals involving the trial of U.S. Senator Ted Stevens (R-AK) and the firing of U.S. Attorneys by the Bush administration. Brown has distinguished herself as a strong advocate of prosecutors sharing evidence with the defense.

 
Brown received her Bachelor of Science in Foreign Service from Georgetown University in 1978 and her J.D. from Georgetown Law Center in 1984.
 
She then joined the Washington, D.C. office of Dickstein, Shapiro & Morin (now Dickstein Shapiro) as a litigation associate, working there until 1989.
 
Brown joined the U.S. Attorney’s Office of the District of Columbia in 1989 as an Assistant U.S. Attorney, beginning what would become a 20-year career in the office. She met Holder in 1993 when he became DC’s U.S. Attorney. Brown was promoted in 1997 to deputy chief of the office’s Appellate Division, and in 2002, she took over as deputy chief of the Fraud and Public Corruption Section, overseeing allegations of criminal misconduct by police officers, public officials and attorneys.
 
From 2004 to 2007, Brown served as the Executive Assistant U.S. Attorney Operations, where she managed and directed the oversight of significant civil and criminal cases and special operations.
 
She became the chief of the office’s Criminal Division in 2007, overseeing all aspects of prosecuting criminal cases. In that capacity, she supervised 80 attorneys and five sections, including national security, fraud and public corruption, organized crime and narcotics trafficking, asset forfeiture, and major crimes.
 
During her tenure at the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia, Brown served on the D.C. Circuit’s Committee on Admissions and Grievances for four years, investigating on behalf of the D.C. Circuit allegations of misconduct by attorneys licensed to practice in the circuit. She also served as one of the office’s professional responsibility officers, and on the “Lewis Committee,” which reviews allegations of police misconduct.
 
Attorney General Holder chose Brown to head OPR on April 8, 2009.
 
New OPR Chief Predicts More Transparency in Attorney Investigations (by Joe Palazzolo and Mike Scarcella, Legal Times)
more