Insertion into the Patriot Act extension of language allowing US attorneys to be named without Senate approval. This provision originated with Daniel Collins a former Associate Deputy AG back in 2003 but was taken by then Assistant AG for Legislative Affairs (now Principal Associate Deputy AG) William Moschella in 2005 and forwarded to Brett Tolman, a protege of Utah Senator Orrin Hatch on Arlen Specter’s staff who snuck it into the bill. Specter denied knowledge of the insertion and said he had not read the bill. He admitted, however, that his chief of staff Michael O’Neill did know. As a reward, Tolman was nominated US attorney for Utah and confirmed by the Senate July 21, 2006 in the usual way and not the one he slipped into the Patriot Act. Gonzales approved but maintained he didn’t know how it happened.
Showing once again that the Administration takes care of its own, on June 19, 2008, Michael O’Neill was nominated to a federal district court judgeship in Washington, DC. A New York Times story from July 4, 2008 reports that O’Neill plagiarized a passage in a 2004 Supreme Court Economic Review article he wrote. The publication retracted O’Neill’s article in 2007. As often happens in these cases, other instances of unattributed borrowings have emerged.