Mukasey may have FISA conflict of interest
Larisa Alexandrovna and Muriel Kane
Published: Wednesday January 30, 2008 |
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Attorney General Michael Mukasey has recently been a strong proponent of retroactive immunity for the telecommunications companies that were involved in illegal warrantless surveillance at the request of the Bush administration.

Mukasey argued before the Senate Judiciary Committee on Wednesday that allowing lawsuits against the telecoms is undesirable because it both "puts means and methods in the courts for everybody to examine and for people to become aware of" and "casts some doubt on the question of whether they acted in good faith."

RAW STORY has now learned that Mukasey appears to have an unacknowledged conflict of interest in the telecom issue, resulting from his son's position at a lawfirm which represents Verizon, one of the companies seeking immunity.

Verizon is a client of the Houston lawfirm of Bracewell & Giuliani, where former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani became a partner in the spring of 2005. Attorney General Mukasey's son, Marc L. Mukasey also joined the firm as a partner a few months later, after having served for eight years as an Assistant U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York.

Mukasey and Giuliani are known to be extremely close, to the point where Sen. Pat Leahy made a point of quizzing Mukasey about the connection at the time of his confirmation hearings last fall. According to the New York Times, Leahy asked, "Can I assume it will be safe to say that you will totally recuse yourself from any involvement with Mr. Giuliani or any candidate for president?" and Mukasey answered, "Itís not only safe to say, I'm saying it, too."

With Giuliani's candidacy fading, Leahy's specific concern is no longer an issue. However, the more pressing question of a potential conflict over the issue of telecom immunity, which was barely mentioned last fall and has been effectively invisible since, has never been addressed.