Kroger for Top Kop?

Steve Novick

Until recently, I looked forward to supporting Rep. Greg Macpherson for Attorney General (assuming, that is, that Hardy Myers decides to call it quits; I love Hardy and would be happy if he ran again). Greg's a good, smart, nice guy.

But I have to say, I'm excited about the idea that John Kroger might run. Yes, John's a friend of mine - but more importantly, he's the guy who helped take down Gregory Scarpa Jr., a mafia capo who killed over a dozen people, was convicted in a five week trial and sent to solitary confinement in Supermax; Alphonse “Little Allie Boy” Persico, a boss of Colombo Organized Crime Family convicted of racketeering; Juan “The Puma” Rodriguez, a drug kingpin who shipped roughly ten tons of cocaine across the US for over a decade convicted after a four week trial and sentenced to thirty years; and Jeff "Enron" Skilling.

As a former Federal Justice Department lawyer myself, I think that one of the greatest assets John would have is that it would be good for morale and recruitment at the Oregon Justice Department to have a career public servant in charge. When Zoe Baird went down and we got Janet Reno in '93, we were excited. Baird was a corporate lawyer. Janet was one of us - a public servant.

I'm sure Greg would be a good boss as AG. But John has greater obvious potential to be an INSPIRING boss. If I were in the AG's office, on balance I'd rather have a career prosecutor in charge than a corporate lawyer. If I were a young lawyer debating whether to go to the AG's office or do something else, I'd get a charge out of the idea of working for a guy who helped take down people with nicknames like "The Puma."
I'd be happy if Hardy stayed. I'd be happy for Greg if Greg replaced him. But I'd also get a real kick out of John Kroger, Oregon's Top Kop.

  • torridjoe (unverified)

    As much as I'd support him for AG, I would hate to lose Greg as my Rep. He's an ace.

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    I'd get a charge out of the idea of working for a guy who helped take down people with nicknames like "The Puma."

    Even if you were in a job where you weren't allowed to take down Mafiosos?

    I don't know much about this, but I understand that the AG's office doesn't do prosecutions (by law). So, as fun as it would be to have a cool boss with fun war stories -- wouldn't that just be frustrating? And maybe even lead to an exodus of folks to other, cooler jobs - like the one their boss had?

    As for corporate lawyers... isn't the AG fundamentally just a corporate lawyer for the State of Oregon?

  • John Kroger (unverified)

    Hey folks:

    Oregon's Attorney General runs the criminal justice division, which includes an organized crime section whose "purpose is to prevent infiltration of organized crime enterprises into Oregon and and to detect and combat existing organized criminal activities in the state." See The Blue Book, page 25. Last November, Hardy issued a great report noting that organized crime in Oregon is "increasing" and "alarming," noting the presence of Mexican meth cartels, gangs, and organized identity theft rings. So no, it is not just a corporate law job. We have a crime problem!

    I am not a candidate for AG, but I am seriously considering it, because we have serious problems in the state that the AG should help address,using both civil and cirminal tools: massive meth addiction, a real problem with child abuse, a domestic violence crisis, and significant corporate and environmental crime. The AG already posssesses significant powers to fight these problems, as well as a bully pulpit. If addiitonal powers are required, the next AG can seek them from the legislature.

    The AG represents the state and provides legal counsel to the agencies, and that is important, but I think the office can and should do more. Let's not think small -- let's think outside the box.

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    Thanks, John, for that clarification. Much appreciated.

    And welcome to BlueOregon!

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    I'm surprised how little attention Marc Abrams'"comments from the last time this came up have gotten.

    According to Abrams (who's a Senior Assistant AG), prosecutorial experience is not a central qualification for an Oregon AG, because the instances in which he would be authorized to prosecute are very few and far between. District Attorneys are the ones who typically prosecute, and who are granted the authority to do so by the Constitution. Oregon's Constitution apparently does not mention an Attorney General, and the statute that created the office gives the AG very little prosecutorial authority.

    Abrams made a good case for the importance of management abilities to the position.

    Anybody else care to weigh in on what qualifications we SHOULD look for in an AG? For what it's worth, I am not a lawyer or anything close to it.

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    Tried to link Abrams' post, here's another try

  • David (unverified)

    John Kroger's recent post makes some good points. However, representing the state and providing legal counsel to state agencies is not only an "important" function, it is central to the work at DOJ. Making sure those services are provided at a high level is not "thinking small," but, rather, necessary to the day-to-day operations of state government. In my personal view (and having formerly worked as a DOJ attorney), AG Hardy Myers has done an excellent job in that respect, especially with the amount of financial resources available.

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