The top Democrat on the Senate Judiciary Committee says a nominee to an Alabama federal judgeship has made a ‘glaring omission’ by failing to disclose to the Senate that his wife works as a White House lawyer and has been interviewed by special counsel Robert Mueller.
California Democrat Dianne Feinstein says Brett Talley needs to answer additional questions about a potential conflict of interest.
‘By failing to disclose that his wife is one of President Trump’s lawyers,’ Feinstein said in a statement. ‘Talley has betrayed his obligation to be open and transparent with the Senate and American people.’
Sen. Dianne Feinstein (left), the top Democrat of the Senate Judiciary Committee, said the judicial nominee Brett Talley (right) ‘betrayed his obligation’ to the American people by failing to disclose that his wife is a White House lawyer
Brett Talley, a 36-year-old Harvard Law School graduate, was rated ‘unqualified’ for the judgeship he’s been nominated for by the American Bar Association as he’s never tried a case and only held clerkships
Talley’s wife, Ann Donaldson, has reportedly been interviewed by Mueller, which Feinstein said represents ‘a clear conflict of interest that should have been disclosed.’
CNN reported that question No. 24 of the disclosure form asks nominees to ‘identify the family members or other persons … that are likely to present potential conflicts on interest.’
Talley didn’t note his wife, writing instead, ‘If confirmed, I will recuse in any litigation where I have ever played a role.’
‘I will evaluate any other real or potential conflict, or relationships that could give rise to appearance of conflict, on a case-by-case basis,’ he added.
And the spokesperson for the GOP-chaired Senate Judiciary Committee suggested this wouldn’t be a conflict of interest seeing that Talley’s judgeship would be in Alabama.
‘It’s no secret,’ said Judiciary spokesman Taylor Foy, ‘that Mr. Talley’s wife, Ann Donaldson, is the chief of staff to the White House counsel.’
‘She was sitting behind Mr. Talley at his nominations hearing,’ Foy continued. ‘Anyone who had any concerns about his wife’s occupation could have raised them at the hearing.’
The spokesman added, ‘Any insinuation that there’s any conflict with the special counsel’s investigation is absurd, as charges are being filed in the District of Columbia, not the Middle District of Alabama, where Talley is nominated to be a judge.’
The Judiciary panel approved Talley on a party-line vote last week despite his having received a rare ‘unqualified’ rating by the American Bar Association.
The 36-year-old Harvard Law School graduate has never tried a case, only clerked for judges.
A full Senate vote is expected shortly.