The U.S. Justice Department’s Office of Justice Programs has a new leader.
The Trump administration named Matt Dummermuth, who was U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Iowa during the George W. Bush administration, to the job.
Dummermuth replaces Alan Hanson, who headed the agency since Donald Trump became president. Hanson left recently for the Department of Transportation. He never was nominated by the White House to serve as Assistant Attorney General, the formal title of the agency’s director.
The Office of Justice Programs (OJP) includes six agencies well known in criminal justice. They are the Bureau of Justice Assistance, which gives anticrime grants to states and localities; the Bureau of Justice Statistics, the National Institute of Justice, the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, the Office for Victims of Crime, and the SMART office, which administers federal programs on sex offender sentencing, monitoring, apprehending, registering, and tracking.
Laura Rogers, director of the SMART agency, has served as the acting head of OJP since Hanson’s departure in July, as reported in The Crime Report.
In a memo to OJP staff members, Rogers said Dummermuth as U.S. Attorney “supervised criminal prosecutions of drug trafficking, child exploitation and financial fraud, and orchestrated the nation’s most successful criminal immigration worksite enforcement action. He also created the first human trafficking task force in Iowa, bringing together law enforcement and victim service providers.”
On LinkedIn, Dummermuth said that until recently he was a partner in the law firm of Hagenow Gustoff & Dummermuth, LLP, leading its eastern Iowa office in Cedar Rapids.
He did not mention his criminal justice experience, noting that he handles “government litigation, including constitutional and civil rights issues, as well as investigations and regulatory matters.”
Dummermuth said that as a seventh-generation Iowan “still actively involved with my family’s livestock and crop farm, I have significant interest, background, and experience in agricultural law, handling matters ranging from commercial litigation and regulatory compliance to complex business and estate planning.”
There was no immediate indication whether Dummermuth has any possibility of being nominated to head the agency, which requires Senate confirmation.
That may depend on the future of his boss, Attorney General Jeff Sessions, who President Trump has indicated may be fired after the November elections.
One of Dummermuth’s major challenges may be to help determine whether federal anticrime funds will be given to “sanctuary cities” that do not cooperate with federal immigration officials. That issue is pending in several federal courts.