Lawyer Karol Mason Tapped by Obama to Head U.S. Office of Justice Programs


Karol Mason, a partner in the Atlanta-based Alston & Bird law firm with a scant record in criminal justice, will be nominated by President Obama to head the Justice Department’s Office of Justice Programs, which oversees grants to state and local criminal justice programs and houses the department’s research, statistics, and juvenile justice agencies. Mason, who formerly worked in the main Justice Department as a deputy associate Attorney General, is an expert in financing student housing and academic facilities at colleges and universities. Mason would succeed Laurie Robinson, who held the job both in the Obama and Clinton administrations. Mary Lou Leary is holding the job on an acting basis.

Mason has a law degree from the University of Michigan and a bachelor’s degree from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Her biography shows no background in criminal justice, the concern of the agency she would head. As an Assistant Attorney General, her job is subject to Senate confirmation. The website Center for Responsive Politics says Mason was a fund-raising “bundler” for Obama in the 2008 presidential campaign.

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