Cornyn says investigator earlier pitched in for Obama's election, vetting vice presidential prospects

U.S. Sen. John Cornyn asked Attorney General Eric Holder about an appointee's qualifications at a June 12, 2012, committee hearing.

U.S. Sen. John Cornyn declared this week he's decided Attorney General Eric Holder should resign; he aired his reasons.

We noticed Cornyn's claim that one of two U.S. attorneys named by Holder to investigate possible government leaks previously pitched in for Obama's presidential campaign.

Holder on June 8, 2012, announced he was appointing Ronald Machen, the U.S. attorney for the District of Columbia, and Rod J. Rosenstein, the U.S. attorney for Maryland, to lead criminal investigations into possible recent instances of unauthorized disclosures of classified information.

Machen, a former assistant U.S. attorney, won Senate confirmation in his post in February 2010. Rosenstein, initially appointed to his job by President George W. Bush, was retained by Obama.

Holder said: "These two highly respected and experienced prosecutors will be directing separate investigations currently being conducted by the FBI. I have every confidence in their abilities to doggedly follow the facts and the evidence in the pursuit of justice wherever it leads."

At a June 12, 2012, hearing of the Senate Judiciary Committee, Cornyn challenged Machen’s independence as he questioned Holder.

After Holder confirmed that he had earlier hired Machen as an assistant U.S. attorney, Cornyn said: "Would it surprise you to know that he is a political contributor to President Obama’s campaign and indeed served as a volunteer in Obama for America and assisted in the vetting of potential vice presidential candidates?"

Holder replied: "I am confident that he has the ability, the capacity to investigate this case in a nonpartisan, independent, thorough and aggressive way."

In our Truth-O-Meter article, we did not judge whether Machen's assistance to the Obama campaign disqualifies him from performing his newly assigned task. But Cornyn is correct that Machen donated to Obama's 2008 campaign, which he has said he also helped vet vice presidential prospects.



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