By Matt Friedman | January 15th, 2008 - 8:55am
| More

Former U.S. Attorney General Nicholas deB. Katzenbach thinks that former Attorney General John Ashcroft is a good man – but not necessarily deserving of a federal monitoring contract worth up to $58 million.

“He’s a pleasant enough man. I doubt that he was an editor of the law review or a Supreme Court clerk or something of that kind -- those are the kinds of standards I have,” said Katzenbach, who lives in Princeton and served as Attorney General under President Lyndon B. Johnson between 1965 and 1966.

The contract in question is a position Christopher J. Christie, New Jersey’s United States Attorney, gave Ashcroft, his former boss, monitoring Zimmer Holdings, a medical implant company that admitted paying kickbacks to doctors to use its products. By agreeing to take on a federal monitor and pay a $311 million settlement, the company avoided prosecution.

Although Katzenbach acknowledged that there could be circumstances to the appointment that he’s unfamiliar with, to him it looks political -- especially considering that the Justice Department should appear the most free of political considerations.

“When you give people government contracts, there’s usually a bidding on the contract, or if there isn’t a bidding on it, you’ve got a reason why there isn’t,” Katzenbach told PolitickerNJ.com. “…If Interior wants to go give a former Interior Secretary some big job, people can say that’s just politics and maybe it’s not that serious. But when the Department of Justice starts doing it, it suggests other political things, and that seems to me to be as wrong as it can be.”

Katzenbach said that he can’t remember how common the appointment of federal monitors was when he held the office, and could only recall assigning monitors to oversee the sale of American subsidiaries of German companies that were seized when World War II broke out.

And as a former Attorney General, Katzenbach said that he would not accept such a contract.

“I suppose like any human being, I would be tempted, but I would think it was inappropriate,” he said.
Attorney General Nicholas Katzenbach with President Lyndon Johnson in 1965.Attorney General Nicholas Katzenbach with President Lyndon Johnson in 1965.

The Back Room

Stung in NY, Astorino says Christie should think about stepping down as RGA chair

Dissed by Gov. Chris Christie, New York Republican Gubernatorial candidate Rob Astorino said Christie should consider stepping down from his post as chairman of the Republican Governors Assocation.

Read More >

Wake-Up Call

Morning Digest: July 22nd

  Union County Sheriff Ralph Froehlich has died Union County today mourns the loss of the longest-serving sheriff in New Jersey history, who died last night at the age of 83. (Editor/PolitickerNJ) http://www.politickernj.com/77506/union-county-sheriff-ralph-froehlich-has-died     Cryan serving as acting Union County sheriff, poised to run in November ...

Op-Ed

Legislation needed to restore balance in election financing

By JEFF BRINDLE Much has been written about the magnitude of campaign spending by independent special interest groups.  But until now, there has been little discussion about the impact. During the 2012 Presidential and Congressional contests,... Read More >

Contributors

The Perry-Paul Debate is Healthy for the GOP – and for America  The foreign policy debate in the media between prospective GOP Presidential candidates Texas Governor Rick Perry and... more »
(7-16-14) Casinos in Jersey City, Not Sports Betting - Just as the US. Supreme Court was saying no to sports betting in New Jersey, a former Reebok chief executive... more »
(Washington DC)-- Two recent votes on Capitol Hill suggest an overdue and radical departure from our nation's Draconian and costly War on Drugs.  It's a long-overdue discussion (and not just... more »
New Jersey 2014 Primary Day Recap (6/4/14) - By the numbers. Worth the read for those interested in GOTV targeting and ballot position logistics.... more »

Quote of the Day

quote of the day

"As soon as you step into the lake on foot or in a boat, you're in the state's domain. I feel bad for the snake, and I hope it gets rescued before it dies when it gets cold. It didn't mean to get let out there. This snake should be one thing we can get together on and not worry about party affiliation. Unless the snake's a Democrat." - Republican Mount Arlington Mayor Arthur Ondish

- PolitickerNJ

Poll

Do you think Gov. Chris Christie's RGA travels benefit New Jersey?:

Blogroll

Visit the PolitickerNJ.com/resources page for links to the best collection of information on New Jersey state government.

 

  • Polls
  • The best blogs
  • Columnists
  • State election results
  • Assembly election results
  • Local party websites
  • And more.

PolitickerNJ.com/resources