Thursday, June 7, 2007

Wyoming U.S. Attorney Announces Resignation In Anticipation Of Senate Appointment?

The Billings Gazette reports:

Wyoming U.S. Attorney Matthew Mead, mentioned as a potential nominee for Wyoming's open U.S. Senate seat, announced Thursday that he would resign at midnight.

Mead said in a prepared statement that he submitted his resignation Wednesday. He offered no explanation and could not immediately be reached for comment.

Mead was appointed by President Bush in October 2001. He succeeded Dave Freudenthal, a Democrat appointed by President Clinton. Freudenthal is now governor of Wyoming.

Speculation has circulated since Monday's death of Sen. Craig Thomas, R-Wyo., that Mead might be interested in taking that job. Mead did not confirm the speculation, however.

"Sorry, I am going to dodge that one," he told the Jackson Hole News & Guide.

Last month, Mead confirmed that he was on the "third tier" of a list of U.S. attorneys drawn up by Justice Department officials who have since resigned. Eight U.S. attorneys were fired last year, but Mead pointed out that no one on the third tier resigned or was fired.

He wrote on the Casper Star-Tribune opinion page that he has never been told why he was on the list or what the third tier of the list meant.

"Perhaps my value system differed from those of the departed list makers. They are no longer with the Department; I am," he wrote. "Hopefully, with the list makers' recent departures, our ship will now track true and list no more."

But it was not clear, either, whether the list played a role in Mead's resignation.

Mead is a Jackson native and said in the release that he was returning to his family ranching operation.

"I have deeply valued pursuing the mission of the U.S. Department of Justice and working closely with our federal, state and local law enforcement partners and the Northern Arapaho and Eastern Shoshone tribal members," the release said.

"I am very pleased with the level of law enforcement cooperation in Wyoming that has developed over the last five and a half years. I leave office with the highest regard for Wyoming law enforcement and the good people at the U.S. Attorney's Office and the work that they all do."