Ex-DOJ official who backed Griles up for Senate
Tom Sansonetti, a former Department of Justice official who is seeking leniency for J. Steven Griles, is one of three nominees to replace the late Sen. Craig Thomas (R-Wyoming).

Sansonetti received the most votes from the Wyomng GOP Central Committee on Tuesday. Along with state Sen. John Barrasso and former state Treasurer Cynthia Lummis, his name will sent to Gov. Dave Freudenthal (D), who will pick a successor.

Sansonetti recently asked a federal judge to consider leniency for Griles, the former deputy secretary at the Interior Department who pleaded guilty in the Jack Abramoff scandal. As the assistant attorney general in charge of Indian and environmental litigation, Sansonetti said Griles never tried to influence him on decisions affecting tribes [PDF: Letter].

According to his letter, Sansonetti introduced Griles as a deputy secretary candidate to former Interior secretary Gale Norton. "The two of them hit it off," he wrote. Sansonetti was head of the Bush-Cheney transition team for Interior at the time.

Sansonetti is a partner at the Holland & Hart firm, where former Interior solicitor Bill Myers works. Tribes defeated Myers' nomination to the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals over his views on sacred sites, the trust responsibility and government-to-government relations.

Thomas died June 4 after a battle with leukemia. He was vice chairman of the Senate Indian Affairs Committee.

Get the Story:
State GOP nominates Sansonetti, Barrasso, Lummis for Senate seat (The Casper Star-Tribune 6/20)

Selected Leters:
Bill Anoatubby | Jim Cason | Donald Hodel | Neal McCaleb | Gale Norton | Ross Swimmer

More Letters:
Exhibit Volume 1 (PDF 266 pages)

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