Thursday, April 05, 2007

Sampson's "experience"

In my previous post about Sampson, I noted that his actual trial experience consists of trying one criminal case and sitting second chair for several civil trials. I also said that that level of litigation experience was woefully insufficient for someone "in charge of evaluating the performance and future of USAs." A review of Sampson's other experience as a lawyer further shows not just a lack of experience for what he was doing, but an indication of why he was chosen for the job.

The following information was taken from three sources: the Wikipedia page on Sampson; a DoJ press release from February 15, 2005; and a June 2006 report from the Office of Inspector General.

Sampson got his law degree from the University of Chicago in 1996. His first job was clerking for Judge Karen J. Williams of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit, and then he joined the Salt Lake City law firm of Parr Waddoups Brown Gee & Loveless. From 1999 to 2001 Sampson served as Counsel to Senator Orrin G. Hatch on the Senate Judiciary Committee. Then, thanks to his friendship with Elizabeth Cheney (Big Dick's daughter), Sampson managed to land a job as Associate Director for Presidential Personnel. He was in that job until late September of 2001, when he became Associate Counsel to the President--which meant that his boss was Alberto Gonzales, who was at that time Counsel to the President. From there Sampson moved to DoJ in 2003 where he served as a Special Assistant U.S. Attorney in the Eastern District of Virginia and Counselor to the Attorney General (John Ashcroft). On February 15, 2005, he became Deputy Chief of Staff for Attorney General Alberto Gonzales. And then Sampson became Gonzales's Chief of Staff in late September 2005.

Sampson's record shows someone who rose quickly--as in did not spend much time in any job before he moved up the ladder. His record also shows someone who got past the first few rungs only because he was friends with the VP's daughter. From there it sure seems he continued his climb because he was a "loyal Bushie." In other words, it sure looks like Sampson rose so quickly and so high not because of his skill and experience as a lawyer, but because of his connections. He scored political points with the Bush administration and was rewarded with jobs for which he did not have the knowledge and experience.

That's just more of the Bush administration SOP at work.

Should there be any doubt remaining about Sampson's record and why he never should have been in charge of any program which evaluated and fired USAs, consider this story as told in a March 28, 2007, article from the Washington Post:
A devout Mormon born and bred in Utah and educated at Brigham Young University, where he met his wife, Noelle, Sampson coveted the U.S. attorney's job in Salt Lake City and twice approached the man who still had the job, Paul Warner -- now a federal magistrate -- to ask him when he'd be stepping down. The first occurred in a conference room in Utah, Warner said, and the second took place during a lunch in Washington on Pennsylvania Avenue.

Though they shared the same home state, Warner and Sampson followed different public service narratives. A former JAG attorney, Warner had spent 17 years in various capacities in the U.S. attorney's office, saying it "was where I wanted to be, not where I wanted to be from."

In speaking to the eager Sampson, Warner asked him to slow his motor.

"I let him know he would be helped with practical experience as a prosecutor," Warner said. "I told him he should spend some time as an assistant U.S. attorney. If you're going to be chief surgeon, it's nice to do some surgery."
Most people would recognize that Warner's reasoning came straight from the Department of the Bloody Obvious, but not Kyle Sampson. He had the audacity to think he deserved to be a USA. Unbelievable. Instead of becoming a USA (once Warner stepped down, the job went to someone else), he eventually was put in charge of evaluating them and firing them. Let me put this another way: he was not qualified to be a U.S. Attorney, but the Bush administration decided he was qualified to judge them.

Perhaps I'm being too harsh. After all, it certainly appears that Sampson was qualified to judge USAs on the basis of their political allegiance to Bush (rather than their actual performance and competence as U.S. Attorneys). And that's why he was given the job.


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