While Washington focuses on the looming struggle over a U.S. Supreme Court nominee, another important nomination is up for a vote this afternoon.
On Tuesday, Democrat Joe Manchin of West Virginia broke ranks with his fellow Democrats to join Senate Republicans in closing debate on the nomination of Brian Benczkowski to head the Criminal Division of the Department of Justice. It is now likely that Benczkowski will be confirmed.
Benczkowski earned high marks for his impartial and effective management style as a chief of staff for Attorney General Michael Mukasey. As a confirmed presidential appointee, he will bring a level of energetic authority that no acting head could claim – good reason for the Senate to get busy on President Trump’s other nominees.
With the filling of this critical post a year-and-a-half into the new administration, the Department of Justice can accelerate implementation of its new vision of a more coordinated and cooperative approach in the execution of the law. For example, Benczkowski will be poised to demonstrate the new policy of cooperative enforcement of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act. Beyond the FCPA, he can help provide greater guidance to companies on how to comply with the law, placing an emphasis on prevention rather than over-enforcement and over-criminalization. And he will be there to ensure that duplicative penalties and “piling on” by multiple agencies is minimized.
In short, the coming confirmation of Benczkowski is good news for DOJ and for those looking for clear rules and the fair enforcement of the law.
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Robert H. Bork, Jr., is president of Bork Group, litigation communication firm in Washington, DC.