WASHINGTON - The U.S. Justice Department is having trouble finding candidates to replace almost two dozen U.S. attorneys, The Washington Post reported Sunday.
The offices are occupied by prosecutors whose remaining time in office is limited under a law signed last week by President George W. Bush.
An estimated 25 percent of all U.S. attorneys are serving on either an interim or acting basis.
Justice Department personnel problems have mounted since the flood of negative publicity surrounding the recent dismissal of nine U.S. attorneys.
Dennis Boyd, executive director of the National Association of Assistant U.S. Attorneys, told the newspaper there is an unusualy high number of vacancies, "even for the end of an administration."
"For some turnover to be occurring is not that big of a surprise, but the department has handled ... (the dismissal of nine U.S. attorneys) so poorly that you're left with an unusual situation," he said.
The bill Bush signed repealed legislation that allowed the attorney general to appoint interim prosecutors for indefinite terms. The Justice Department has 120 days to fill vacancies with nominees subject to Senate confirmation, or the appointees are to be named by local federal courts, the Post said.
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