The Justice Department wants the 93 U.S. Attorneys to lobby members of Congress who voted to end funding for “sneak and peek” warrants in terrorism cases, the Washington Post says.
The Executive Office for United States Attorneys asked prosecutors last week to talk to lawmakers about the “potentially deleterious effects” of the vote. The department said the action does not violate a federal law that bars government employees from lobbying because only U.S. Attorneys themselves, who are political appointees, will meet with congressmen.
Rep. John Conyers Jr. of Michigan, top Democrat on the House Judiciary Committee, wrote Attorney General John Ashcroft yesterday questioning whether Ashcroft’s ongoing speaking tour and the prosecutors’ contacts with legislators violate the law. Ashcroft plans appearances defending the USA Patriot Act in 18 cities in 16 states, ending Sept. 9. Next week’s schedule includes Boise, Idaho; Salt Lake City; and Las Vegas.