This one didn't even make it to the hearings before he turned tail and ran rather than testify under oath.
President Bush's pick to be the No. 3 official in the Justice Department asked to have his nomination withdrawn Friday, four days before he was to testify before the Senate Judiciary Committee.
Bill Mercer sent a letter to Attorney General Alberto Gonzales saying it was unlikely that the Senate would confirm him as associate attorney general, a post he has held on an interim basis since September. He plans to leave Washington and turn his full attention to his work as U.S. attorney for Montana.
"With no clear end in sight with respect to my nomination, it is untenable for me to pursue both responsibilities and provide proper attention to my family," Mercer wrote.
The Judiciary Committee had scheduled a hearing on Mercer's nomination for Tuesday. A spokeswoman for the committee had said senators needed the facts from an investigation into the firings of several federal prosecutors before he could be confirmed.
"The White House has found many ways to keep sunlight from reaching some of the darker corners of the Bush Justice Department, but this is a new one," Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., said in a statement. "With a confirmation hearing looming next Tuesday, they have withdrawn this nomination to avoid having to answer more questions under oath."
Time to keep digging... he ran rather than testify - I wonder what he might be hiding, and why he's afraid to go on the record.
Mercer's name comes up at times in thousands of pages of e-mail exchanges between Justice Department and White House officials discussing the firings. The panel had authorized a subpoena for Mercer as part of its investigation.
The demise of his nomination points up the difficulty Bush faces as he tries to fill the top ranks of a Justice Department wilting under the weight of the Democratic-led congressional investigation into whether the White House, in effect, runs the agency.
Several lawmakers, including Pennsylvania Sen. Arlen Specter, the top Republican on the Judiciary Committee, have said the department is so dysfunctional and that it suffers with Gonzales still at the helm. But with Bush's support behind him, Gonzales shows no signs of resigning. He has said he plans to stay in the post until the end of Bush's term, virtually ensuring that majority Democrats will push ahead with their investigations of his stewardship.
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