NOLA.com – Kenneth Polite confirmed as U.S. attorney by full Senate

By Bruce Alpert, NOLA.com | Times-Picayune September 17, 2013 at 6:07 PM, updated September 18, 2013 at 3:44 AM

 

WASHINGTON — The full U.S. Senate on Tuesday afternoon confirmed Kenneth Polite as the new U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of Louisiana. The approval came by voice vote.

The Eastern District office has been under temporary leadership since former U.S. Attorney Jim Letten stepped down last December amid accusations of ethical lapses by two of his top lieutenants. Since then, it has been managed by veteran federal prosecutor Dana Boente.

President Barack Obama nominated Polite, a New Orleans attorney and former New York City assistant U.S. attorney, on June 27 after Sen. Mary Landrieu, D-La., recommended him for the post.

Polite has pledged to continue the offices anti-corruption efforts. He also has said he will put a priority on helping New Orleans deal with violent crime.

“Im confident that the people of the Eastern District will be well served by the leadership of Kenneth Polite,” Landrieu said. “He is a smart, caring and inspirational leader who will bring integrity and passion to this important work.”

Polite said he is “grateful for the immense honor to serve the people of Louisianas Eastern District.”

“This is a responsibility that I take seriously,” Polite said. “As I begin my service, I commit to them that I will be tireless in my efforts to fight crime and root out corruption. I thank President Obama for nominating me and Sen. Landrieu for her recommendation and her unwavering support through this process.”

There was no immediate date for his swearing in as the regions top federal prosecutor.

Polites confirmation was secured when Sen. David Vitter, R-La., signed a blue slip, indicating he wouldnt block the nomination. Still, Vitter offered mixed views when Obama announced his nomination.

“Ken is a bright young guy, and I wish him all the best in this very challenging time for that office,” Vitter said in a statement. “I remained concerned that that office really needs a more seasoned leader and supervisor to immediately stabilize it after its scandals, and that Kens focus on street crime will unintentionally take focus away from battling political corruption. I hope his service proves otherwise.”

Landrieu heralded Polite as a New Orleans success story, noting that he was born at Charity Hospital and raised initially in two of the citys public housing developments before moving to the Lower 9th Ward.

“During the interview process, Mr. Polite stood out from an impressive list of candidates, showing the determination and experience we need to protect the people of the Eastern District from crime and corruption,” Landrieu said.

His confirmation is for four years, although its routine after the election of a new president for all U.S. attorneys to offer their resignations and give the new president a chance to name his own federal prosecutors. In a break with tradition, Obama kept Letten, appointed by Republican President George W. Bush, on as U.S. attorney after his election — largely on the recommendation of Landrieu.

 

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