President Joe Biden is getting bipartisan backlash for forcing a federal prosecutor in Illinois to resign.
U.S. Attorney John Lausch was appointed in 2017 by former President Donald Trump, and is being asked to leaving his position along with all but two Trump attorney appointees by the end of this month, The Washington Free Beacon reported.
Lausch was assigned to prosecute the allies of Illinois’ notorious Democratic state legislator, Mike Madigan.
INBOX: Former Illinois House Speaker Mike Madigan is resigning. Here’s his statement: pic.twitter.com/odseZLQybQ
— Joel Ebert (@joelebert29) February 18, 2021
Madigan ended his decades-long political career after resigning Thursday, driving more scrutiny on Biden’s decision to fire Lausch, who could have easily been asked to stay in his job.
While the move naturally created criticism from Republicans, some Democrats have also fought back against it.
— IL Republican Party (@ILGOP) February 18, 2021
Editorial: Putting down a marker: Protecting U.S. Attorney John Lausch – Chicago Tribune https://t.co/YgtWzmuWRO
— US Attorney Scott Brady (@USAttyBrady) August 1, 2020
Democratic Sens. Tammy Duckworth and Dick Durbin of Illinois released a joint statement on Feb. 9 expressing their disagreement:
“While we agree with the Biden Administration’s criminal justice agenda, we are disappointed with the decision to terminate U.S. Attorney Lausch without consulting us. In 2017, our non-partisan screening committee gave its support for Mr. Lausch to serve in this position, and the Senate confirmed him unanimously,” the release said.
“While the President has the right to remove U.S. Attorneys, there is precedent for U.S. Attorneys in the Northern District of Illinois to remain in office to conclude sensitive investigations. We believe Mr. Lausch should be permitted to continue in his position until his successor is confirmed by the Senate, and we urge the Biden Administration to allow him to do so.”
However, the White House suggests that this is a normal protocol.
“This was an across the board transition, with only one exception in keeping a U.S. attorney in place in their district, in line with how previous administrations addressed this issue,” they told the Beacon.
When you have both Democrats and Republicans saying this is the wrong choice, Biden needs to listen up.
Although it may be standard for appointees to resign at the start of a new presidential administration, Lausch being in the middle of serious work to potentially expose political corruption should be a noteworthy exception.
The White House should at least consider Duckworth and Durbin’s suggestion of letting him stay in his position until there is a new appointee to assure that this investigation does not fall through the cracks.
Political corruption, whether it is Democrats or Republicans, needs to be taken seriously, but the Biden administration might want to let their own side off the hook.
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