Durbin, Kirk Can't Agree on New U.S. Attorney

Sens. Dick Durbin and Mark Kirk can't come to an agreement about who should replace former U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald.

Durbin and Kirk have sent the names of four finalists to the White House for consideration. The White House will select a finalist, then send the name to the Senate for approval.

The short list of names includes Lori Lightfoot, Jonathan Bunge, Zach Fardon and Gil Soffer. If Lightfoot is chosen, the former assistant U.S. attorney and current Mayer Brown partner would be the first female and first African American to hold the spot. 

“Each brings a range of legal and professional experience to the table as prosecutors, lawyers in private practice and managers of large organizations," Durbin said. "These finalists know our city and State well and understand the unique challenges that the office of U.S. Attorney faces."

"Illinois deserves only the best candidates for this position, and the four chosen are a testament to the success of this bipartisan approach," Kirk said. "I thank Senator Durbin for his dedication and partnership in this effort."

Durbin’s spokesman suggested there is no disagreement between Durbin and Kirk and that Durbin had always said there would be multiple names suggested to the White House. Other insiders, however, stand by the claim that Kirk and Durbin did not agree on “the” best candidate. 

Once the White House makes its selection, it will likely take another four to six months for the nomination to make its way through the Senate.

In 2009 Durbin suggested two names when making a recommendation for the U.S. attorney in the central and southern districts. Kirk was not yet in the Senate. 

One thing's for sure. Whomever is chosen will have big shoes to fill.

Fitzgerald left his post in June after nearly 11 years after helming politically connected convictions that included former Gov. Rod Blagojevich, former Gov. George Ryan, Ed Vrdolyak, Robert Sorich and Al Sanchez.

On the eve of his final day, Fitzgerald announced corruption charges against former Chicago politicians Joseph Mario Moreno and Ambrosio Medrano.

He has since taken a job as partner at Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP's Chicago office.

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