President Obama Nominates Loretta Lynch to Serve as Next Attorney General; Midterm Election Results; Capitol Hill Meetings; and Comprehensive Law Enforcement ReviewNovember 10, 2014
NAPO WASHINGTON REPORT
President Obama Nominates Loretta Lynch as Next Attorney General
President Barack Obama officially nominated Loretta Lynch, a United States attorney from New York, as the next Attorney General of the United States at a White House ceremony on Saturday, November 8, 2014. Lynch, 55, is an experienced prosecutor with deep relationships inside the Justice Department and a long history of litigating political corruption, terrorism, and organized crime cases.
“Ms. Lynch is a strong, independent prosecutor who has twice led one of the most important U.S. Attorney’s Offices in the country,” White House press secretary Josh Earnest said in a statement Friday. “She will succeed Eric Holder, whose tenure has been marked by historic gains in the areas of criminal justice reform and civil rights enforcement.” Holder and Lynch joined Obama in the Roosevelt Room for Saturday’s announcement.
Lynch was the least controversial of the final choices before the president, according to several government officials. She has been confirmed twice by the Senate. And she was respected for the way she conducted several high-profile cases without seeking publicity.
Still, the nomination could spark a battle on Capitol Hill. Republicans warned before the midterm election said they opposed the idea of approving a nomination in a lame-duck session of Congress. Democrats, however, may choose to have the confirmation fight while they still have control of the Senate.
Senator Charles E. Grassley (R-IA), who is expected to be the new chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, said Friday he expected Lynch to get a “very fair but thorough vetting” from the Committee.
“U.S. attorneys are rarely elevated directly to this position, so I look forward to learning more about her, how she will interact with Congress and how she proposes to lead the department,” said Grassley, who has tangled repeatedly with Holder. “I’m hopeful that her tenure, if confirmed, will restore confidence in the attorney general as a politically independent voice for the American people.”
NAPO’s Executive Director, Bill Johnson, spoke with Neil Eggleston, at the White House Counsel's office, before Obama officially nominated Loretta Lynch to be the next Attorney General. Mr. Eggleston assured Johnson that NAPO would continue to enjoy the open door policy that we have had with Attorney General Holder. He also noted that should Attorney Lynch be confirmed, we would be able to meet and speak with her prior to decisions being made on important cases, as we have had the opportunity to do with Mr. Holder.
NAPO is continuing to evaluate Attorney Lynch's nomination in light of our New York City member organizations' experience with her. We will not take a position for or against this nomination until we have completed our own background investigation. NAPO will keep our members updated on all new developments.
If you have any questions about this nomination, please contact Bill Johnson at: email@example.com.
"Loretta Lynch, U.S. Attorney for N.Y., Nominated to Be Attorney General." Washington Post. The Washington Post, 8 Nov. 2014. Web. 08 Nov. 2014.
Midterm Election Results
The midterm elections were held on November 4, 2014. Republicans have seized control of the Senate for the first time in eight years and are on track to beat their previous record majority of 246 House seats, set when Harry Truman was occupying the White House. Obviously President Obama still controls the White House and the veto power over any legislation that will pass.
What to Expect:
First of all, the coming lame duck session (the new Republican majorities will not be seated until the new Congress convenes in January) may be very bumpy. Democrats, especially on the Senate side, may feel they have only a few short weeks left in which to try to push through nomination confirmations and legislation that would not withstand a Republican majority. One balance against this tendency would be concern by Democrats who will face reelection bids in 2016 that they not give their opponents ammo to use against them by pushing through initiatives or confirming nominations that will prove unpopular back home. Current Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) is reported to already be trying to distance himself from blame for loss of the Senate, preferring to blame the president. On the House side, Republican leadership may also feel themselves vulnerable to additional challenges from the Right if they seem too willing to compromise with the Obama administration.
For the next, 114th Congress, we can expect Kentucky Senator Mitch McConnell (R-KY) to take over as Senate Majority Leader. NAPO already has a very good working relationship with Senator McConnell’s staff, and his Legislative Counsel, Russell Coleman, was one of the staff members we honored at this year’s NAPO Legislative Day on the Hill. Senator John Cornyn of Texas, with whom we also have a very good working relationship, can also be expected to take on a new leadership role in the new Senate. It is unclear at this time if Senator Reid will remain as Minority Leader. On the House side, it looks like Ohio Representative John Boehner will remain as Speaker. Mr. Boehner may feel himself under continuing pressure from more conservative members of his party to move his legislative agenda further to the Right. The result of these changes will make it more difficult to pass improved labor legislation, and we can expect to be playing more defense than offense in regards labor issues. On the other hand, the criminal justice issues that are important to NAPO members and officers will have a friendlier reception with the new Congress. Many of these issues already enjoy bipartisan support in this Congress, and we can expect this to continue on the criminal justice side.
Finally, the Obama Administration is currently indicating that they do not intend to change course or back down from their political priorities. This may include Executive Orders and “acting” appointments in various executive departments (which do not need to win Senate confirmation). If, as is anticipated, these executive actions include substantial changes in immigration enforcement policy, you can expect an outcry from newly elected Republicans and even many Democrats who fear being blamed or associated with the president’s policies.
Highlights of Election Results:
Below please find highlights of election results. (A comprehensive summary of election results is attached to this report for your review).
· Republicans claimed Democratic Senate seats in North Carolina, Colorado, Iowa, West Virginia, Arkansas, Montana, and South Dakota to gain their first Senate majority since 2006.
o In North Carolina, Republican Thom Tillis came from behind to beat Senator Kay Hagan.
o Representative Cory Gardner, a Republican, beat Senator Mark Udall in Colorado.
o Representative Bruce Braley lost to Iraq war veteran Joni Ernst, who became the first woman elected to Congress from her state.
o In West Virginia, Republican Shelley Moore Capito, won the Senate seat long held by Jay Rockefeller, a Democrat.
o In Arkansas, Representative Tom Cotton, a freshman Republican, defeated Senator Mark Pryor.
o Republican Steve Daines defeated Amanda Curtis in the Montana Senate race.
o Republican Mike Rounds defeated Democrat Rick Weiland in the South Dakota Senate race.
· Additional Senate election results are below:
o Senator Mitch McConnell (R-KY) was reelected, and is expected to become the next Senate Majority Leader.
o In the Georgia Senate race, Democrat Michelle Nunn, lost to David Purdue, who won by more than half of the vote.
o Senator Pat Roberts, a Kansas Republican, beat Independent challenger Greg Orman.
o Senator Jeanne Shaheeen, the Democratic incumbent, fended off Scott Brown in the New Hampshire race.
o There will be a runoff in Louisiana on December 6th, between Democratic Senator Mary Landrieu and Republican challenger Bill Cassidy.
· Highlights from Governor races are below:
o In Pennsylvania, Tom Wolf, a Democrat, defeated Republican Governor, Tom Corbett.
o Two high profile Republican governors won reelection – John Kasich in swing state Ohio and Republican Scott Walker in Wisconsin.
o In New Mexico, Republican Governor Susana Martinez won reelection.
o In Maryland, a traditionally Democratic state, elected Republican Larry Hogan as governor.
o In Illinois, Bruce Rauner defeated incumbent Democratic Governor Pat Quinn.
NAPO continues to engage Hill staffers to ensure our priorities remain at the top of the agenda through the Lame Duck session and into the 114th Congress. We will keep our members updated as we move forward.
Collinson, Stephen. "Election 2014: The Big Day Is Here." CNN. Cable News Network, 04 Nov.
Stone, Geoffrey R. "The Senate: A Republican 'Landslide'?" The Huffington Post. TheHuffingtonPost.com, 06 Nov. 2014. Web. 09 Nov. 2014.
Weisman, Jonathan, and Ashley Parker. "Riding Wave of Discontent, G.O.P. Takes Senate." The New York Times. The New York Times, 04 Nov. 2014. Web. 05 Nov. 2014.
NAPO Meetings on Capitol Hill
On November 7, 2014, NAPO met with senior staffers for Congressmen Joe Garcia (D-FL) and Congressman Jim Himes (D-CT). NAPO continues to pursue our top legislative priorities through the end of this Congress, and ensure that these priorities remain at the top of the Congressional agenda when the 114th Congress begins. NAPO used the aforementioned meetings to outline our highest priorities, which include the following initiatives:
Bulletproof Vest Partnership (BVP) Grant Act: The BVP Grant Program provides Federal funds to state and local law enforcement departments to assist state and local law enforcement efforts to purchase bullet resistant vests. NAPO continues to expend all available efforts to garner additional support for the House and Senate versions of this bill.
Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) Improvement and Reauthorization Act: This bill would reauthorize the COPS Program for five years and raise the current hiring cap from $75,000 to $125,000. The COPS Office has been extremely successful in implementing and carrying out its designated objectives. Since its creation, the COPS Office has assisted over 13,000 of the nation’s 18,000 jurisdictions with over $14 billion in funding to hire more than 125,000 additional officers. Reauthorizing this program will allow for the continuation of a highly successful program that keeps our communities safe.
Justice and Mental Health Collaboration Act (JMHCA): The Mentally Ill Offender Treatment and Crime Reduction Act (MIOTCRA) created the Justice and Mental Health Collaboration Program (JMHCP) to help states and counties design and implement collaborative efforts between criminal justice and mental health systems. The JMHCA reauthorizes the successful MIOTCRA and extends the JMHCP for five years. The JMHCP can help law enforcement agencies across the United States in their responsibilities in assisting citizens with mental health issues.
Social Security Fairness Act: This bill would strike the Windfall Elimination Provision (WEP) and Government Pension Offset (GPO) formulas currently used to calculate Social Security benefits. Both formulas were enacted in the 1980s because Congress was concerned Social Security paid unintended benefits to workers who had spent most of their careers in “non-covered” jobs. However, the formulas go too far and penalize workers with split careers who contributed a great deal to Social Security, but retire under their “non-covered” pensions. By significantly scaling back and reducing Social Security benefits for law enforcement officers and their survivors, as GPO and WEP do, officers and their families are provided much less protection against financial difficulties.
NAPO appreciated the opportunity to meet with both of the staffers, and we look forward to continuing to pursue our top priorities on Capitol Hill. If you have any questions about any of the issues summarized above, please contact Melissa Nee at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
NAPO Participates in Comprehensive Law Enforcement Review Project Teleconferences
NAPO is involved in a comprehensive law enforcement review project, which was initiated in response to a proposal, co-authored by NAPO, recommending a criminal justice review. The Attorney General requested the COPS Office to lead the project, with input from a diverse group of law enforcement stakeholders.
The goal of the project is to create a foundational document that provides an overview of key developments and challenges in American law enforcement, focusing on the last fifty years. Over the past week, NAPO participated in the following teleconferences to move the project forward:
· Policy Reform and Implementation: Subtopics that are being reviewed include: Attorney General Holder’s Smart on Crime Initiative; Uniform Crime Reporting (UCR); law enforcement and immigration; federal grant programs; and information sharing.
· Future of Policing: Subtopics that are being reviewed include: policing in a new economy; collaboration and partnerships; developing effective leaders; police agency of the future; and recruitment, hiring, and retention.
· Leadership, Culture, and Integrity: Procedural justice was the focus of last week’s discussion.
· Technology in Policing: Subtopics that are being reviewed include: new technology (body cameras, ShotSpotter, etc.); policies; privacy; and investigations and crime science.
· Officer Safety and Wellness: Subtopics that are being reviewed include: suicide reduction efforts; officer killed in line of duty reviews; and safety equipment.
NAPO is concerned over the direction the project has taken, as we feel that some of the discussions may be objectionable to our members. As we move forward, we will continue to strongly advocate that the rank-and-file perspective be included in the project review. NAPO will keep our members updated as the project moves forward.
If you have any questions about NAPO’s involvement in the criminal justice review project, please contact Bill Johnson at: email@example.com.
Please monitor NAPO’s website www.napo.org, and Facebook page: National Association of Police Organizations, and follow us on Twitter at NAPOpolice for breaking news and updates.