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Congress to Oversee Hiring of Federal Prosecutors

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Aired 4/19/09

The Bush administration says it will let Congress change the rules on how to replace federal prosecutors. California Senator Dianne Feinstein introduced a bill that would subject U.S. attorneys to Senate confirmation. KPBS Radio's Andrew Phelps reports.

The USA PATRIOT Act says the Justice Department can hire federal prosecutors indefinitely -- and without Senate approval. But ever since eight U.S. attorneys were suddenly fired, Democrats in Congress say they want more oversight. One of those ousted prosecutors was San Diego's Carol Lam. Lam was well-known for convicting former Congressman "Duke" Cunningham on corruption charges.

Senator Feinstein introduced a bill that sets deadlines for the Bush administration to hire replacement prosecutors. And the Senate would have to confirm those replacements. The administration had rejected the idea at first. But now senators say they have reached an agreement. For KPBS, I'm Andrew Phelps.

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