Senate advances controversial DOJ nomination

The Senate voted 54-43 to advance President Obama’s nomination of Peter Kadzik to be assistant Attorney General at the Department of Justice.

Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) said he opposed Kadzik partially because of the controversial prisoner exchange.

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“I’m sick and tried of the approach that this administration takes in following the law,” Grassley said ahead of the vote.

Grassley said the recent prisoner swap of five Taliban leaders held at Guantanamo for U.S. soldier Bowe Bergdahl “exemplifies this administration’s contempt for congressional oversight.”

The White House was suppose to get congressional approval before making the exchange with the Taliban, which was holding Bergdahl prisoner. But the administration failed to do so, ruffling many feathers on Capitol Hill.

Kadzik has been nominated to serve as assistant Attorney General for legislative affairs within the DOJ. He is currently serving in that role as active assistant AG. Grassley said Kaszik has an “abysmal” record of answering Congress’ questions — a major function of his job.

“Mr. Kadzik is simply not interested in answering Congress’ questions unless he’s forced to or it’s absolutely necessary,” Grassley said. “This office needs leadership that will restore its credibility. … He does not have what it takes to restore that sorely needed credibility.”

The Senate also voted to confirm three judicial nominees on Tuesday. Their names, vote tally and new positions follow: 

- Salvador Mendoza was confirmed to be U.S. District Judge for the Eastern District of Washington on a 92-4 vote.

- Staci Yandle was confirmed to be U.S. District Judge for the Southern District of Illinois on a 52-44 vote.

- Darrin Gayles was confirmed to be U.S. District Judge for the Southern District of Florida on a 98-0 vote.

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