U.S. Senator Herb Kohl continues to push for the U.S. Department of Justice to reconsider closing four of its seven antitrust offices. During a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing today, Kohl urged Attorney General Eric Holder to reverse the agency’s decision, citing plans for shuttering the Texas and Georgia offices will leave the entire southern half of the U.S. without such an antitrust presence.
“It will be difficult for the division to continue aggressive criminal enforcement in the 21 states and field offices served by the four field offices,” said Kohl, reading a letter from officials at six of the offices.
Holder said budget issues require them to be efficient with operations which include larger teams in reduced offices. As the A.G. mentions no attorneys will lose their jobs in the plan, Kohl questioned how that is such a cost saving measure. Holder mentioned the rent at the pending offices and says some antitrust lawyers will fill vacancies in other sectors of the DOJ.
Much of the hearing on Justice Department oversight centered on lawmakers questioning Holder about classified leaks to the press.