Timothy Griffin

Timothy Griffin

John Timothy Griffin (born August 21, 1968), was an interim United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Arkansas from December 2006 to June 2007, appointed by Attorney General Alberto Gonzales. The circumstances surrounding Griffin's appointment were disclosed during the controversy about dismissed U.S. attorneys; Griffin's predecessor, Bud Cummins, was dismissed to make the position available to Griffin. Griffin now runs his own businesses in Little Rock, Arkansas.

Early life, education, and military service

Griffin was born in Charlotte, North Carolina, and was raised in Magnolia, Arkansas. He graduated from Hendrix College in 1990, and then spent a year in graduate studies at Pembroke College at Oxford, England. He graduated from law school of Tulane University in 1994.

Griffin began serving in the United States Army Reserve in June 1996, as a Judge Advocate General (JAG). In September 2005 he was mobilized to active duty for 12 months, serving at Fort Campbell, Kentucky and, for four months, as a JAG officer in Mosul, Iraq. As of 2006, he had attained the rank of Major.


Prior to 2004

Griffin worked from September 1995 to January 1997 with Special Prosecutor David Barrett and his investigation of former Secretary of HUD, Henry Cisneros. For two years after that he was Senior Investigative Counsel for the House Committee on Government Reform. In September 1999 he became Deputy Research Director for the Republican National Committee (for George W. Bush's election campaign); while in that position, he was a legal advisor for the "Bush-Cheney 2000 Florida Recount Team" (see Bush v. Gore). From March 2001 through June 2002 he was Special Assistant to the Assistant Attorney General Michael Chertoff.

2004 election campaign

From June 2002 to December 2004, Griffin was Research Director and Deputy Communications Director for Bush's 2004 reelection campaign. In October 2004, journalist and author Greg Palast alleged that Griffin was involved in an effort to target 70,000 voters - students, deployed military personnel and homeless people in predominantly African American and Democratic areas — for vote caging during the 2004 election.. Monica Goodling said in her oral and written testimony to the U.S. House Committee on the Judiciary on May 23, 2007, that Griffin's alleged vote caging activities were desirable for Deputy Attorney General Paul McNulty to be informed of, in relation to Griffin's potential Senate confirmation as a U.S. attorney.

In July 2007 it was reported that "Internal city memos show the issue of Republican 'vote caging' efforts in Jacksonville's African-American neighborhoods was discussed in the weeks before the 2004 election, contradicting recent claims by former Duval County Republican leader Mike Hightower - the Bush-Cheney campaign's local chairman at the time..

White House (2005-2006)

In April 2005, Griffin began working at the White House as Karl Rove's aide, with the title of Special Assistant to the President and Deputy Director in the Office of Political Affairs.

US Attorney appointment

In September 2006, after ending a one-year military mobilization assignment, Griffin began working as a special assistant to Bud Cummins, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Arkansas,. On December 15, 2006, the Justice Department announced that Griffin would be appointed interim U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Arkansas, effective December 20, 2006, the date when the resignation of Cummins took effect. Before a March 2006 revision to the PATRIOT Act, interim U.S. Attorneys had a 120-day term limit, pending confirmation by the Senate of a Presidential nominee. The Attorney General makes interim appointments; after the revision, the Attorney General's interim appointees had no term limit, effectively bypassing the Senate confirmation process if the President declined to put forward a nomination. Griffin was among the first group of interim attorneys appointed by the Attorney General without a term limit.

Gonzales' decision to bypass confirmation for Griffin particularly angered Arkansas' two U.S. Senators, Blanche Lincoln and Mark Pryor. Both Lincoln and Pryor claim that Gonzales promised them Griffin would go before the Senate for confirmation. Gonzales' decision not to do so prompted Lincoln and Pryor to join many of their Democratic colleagues in demanding Gonzales' resignation or firing.

Documents released by a subsequent Congressional investigation showed that, in the summer of 2006, White House officials wanted a vacant slot in Little Rock, Arkansas, so Griffin could fill it. Prior to this he was a top Republican researcher and aide to Rove. He was hand selected by Rove to be a US Attorney. On February 16 2007, 10 days after McNulty testified that Cummins was dismissed in order to make a vacancy for Griffin to be appointed to, Griffin announced that he would not seek the presidential nomination to be U.S. attorney in Little Rock.

On March 14, 2007 the Arkansas Leader wrote about Griffin his "resignation or dismissal ought to be imminent". Gonzales testified in his January 18, 2007 appearance before the Senate Judiciary Committee: "I am fully committed, as the administration's fully committed, to ensure that, with respect to every United States attorney position in this country, we will have a presidentially appointed, Senate confirmed United States attorney." On May 30, 2007, Palast turned over a series of 500 emails — potential evidence of a crime — by request from House Judiciary Committee Chairman John Conyers; the e-mails were inadvertently sent to the wrong email address, by Griffin.

On May 30, 2007, Griffin resigned from his position effective June 1, 2007.

2008 presidential campaign

On May 31, 2007, the Washington Post reported speculation that Griffin was in discussions with the then-nascent Presidential campaign of Fred Thompson for a top-level post. Instead, Griffin set an office in Little Rock, Arkansas, for Mercury Public Affairs, a New York City-based firm, part of the Omnicom Group, where he had worked as general counsel and managing director. (The Thompson campaign paid Mercury Public Affairs to have Griffin as an advisor.) Then, after a short period with Mercury, he started Griffin Public Affairs and the Griffin Law Firm.

In late May 2008, columnist Robert Novak reported that Griffin had been named as the Republican National Committee's Director of Research for the presidential campaign of Senator John McCain, to direct opposition research, "although final arrangements have not been pinned down". But Griffin said he was not going back to the Republican National Committee (RNC), and that he had not talked to anyone in the GOP's leadership structure or with the McCain campaign about that role.


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