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Obama to nominate Machen to be District's top prosecutor

Update. 9:30 a.m.
It's official. The White House said Thursday morning that Machen is President Obama's choice to be the District's next top prosecutor. The word came in a press release announcing the nonmination of seven men and women to become U.S. attorneys. The nominees still must be confirmed by the U.S. Senate.

In a statement, Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-D.C.), said the president had nominated her top choice for one of the most important jobs in federal law enforcement. "By experience, reputation at the law among his peers, understanding of the District of Columbia and its criminal justice system, his personal qualities, and education and legal background, Ronald Machen is particularly well qualified to become our next U.S. Attorney," Norton said.

Obama sent the nominations to the Senate Wednesday afternoon, the White House said.

Update, 7 p.m.
Administration officials say Machen's nomination has gone to the Senate and will be announced by the White House Thursday.

Original Post:
President Obama is expected Wednesday afternoon to nominate Ronald C. Machen, a former federal prosecutor, to be the next U.S. attorney in the District, according to two government sources with knowledge of the selection process.

Machen was the top choice of Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-D.C.) when she submitted the names of three candidates to President Obama several months ago.

The sources, who asked to remain anonymous because officials are not authorized to comment publicly on such matters, said Machen had only recently finished his vetting pricess as part of an extensive background investigation by federal authorities.

His name will be among others being nominated for such posts across the country, the sources said.

Machen, 40, has not returned e-mails or phone calls seeking comment on the position.
Machen, a graduate of Stanford University and Harvard Law School, is a partner at the law firm WilmerHale, where he has specialized in internal investigations for corporations. He was an assistant U.S. attorney in the District from 1997 to 2001, handling crimes ranging from theft to mail fraud.

Machen, who lives in Silver Spring, is expected to move to the District while he holds down the job.

Over the years, he has donated $4,350 to Obama's campaigns. He gave $250 to Obama's U.S. Senate campaign in 2003, a year before Obama, then an Illinois state senator, emerged on the nation's political radar, according to campaign finance records.

The U.S. attorney job is one of the most coveted in federal law enforcement. As the District's top law enforcement official, the U.S. attorney oversees the largest federal prosecutors office in the country, with about 340 prosecutors who handle local and federal criminal cases.

The District does not have an elected local prosecutor.

The Justice Department has declined to release any details about the office's budget.
Some of the nation's highest-profile crimes are handled by the District's federal prosecutors.

-- Del Quentin Wilber

By Del Wilber  |  December 24, 2009; 9:37 AM ET
Categories:  Del Quentin Wilber , Keith L. Alexander , The District  
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