U.S. Attorney in Montana protected by Patriot Act
Bill Mercer, the U.S. Attorney for Montana, is protected by a special provision in the USA Patriot Act that he had a Republican staffer insert into the legislation, The Washington Post reports.

The provision ensures that a U.S. Attorney can reside out of his or her district. In Mercer's case, it protect his job in Montana while he serves as the third-ranking Department of Justice official in Washington, D.C.

Mercer had the provision inserted on November 10, 2005, The Post reported. That same day, Attorney General Alberto Gonzales told the chief federal judge in Montana that Mercer was not violating a law that requires U.S. Attorneys to live in the district he or she serves.

The letter was written because Judge Donald W. Molloy had openly criticized Mercer for his lack of presence in Montana. According to The Post, Mercer only spends three days a week in Montana because he is also holding down the job in DC.

Mercer recently testified before the Senate Indian Affairs Committee on Indian trust litigation. He refused to concede any liability for the Cobell case or the tribal trust cases.

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Residency Clause Adds Fuel To Dispute Over U.S. Attorneys (The Washington Post 5/2)
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