New U.S. attorney steps in

National security, violent crimes and child exploitation crimes will continue to be the U.S. attorney’s office priorities in Nevada, the state’s new chief federal prosecutor said Wednesday.

U.S. Sen. John Ensign, R-Nev., who nominated Greg Brower for the job, and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid introduced the former assemblyman during a brief news conference.

Brower, who is settling into his new post this week, expressed confidence that he can handle the workload of a fast-growing state that attracts a spectrum of criminals.

“Las Vegas is a mecca for great people and criminal as well,” Brower said. “I am following a great U.S. attorney and look forward to continuing to lead this office in a successful direction.”

Brower replaces former U.S. Attorney Daniel Bogden, whose firing a year ago triggered a political firestorm in Washington, D.C.

Ensign said Brower has a reputation for working with people. And because he is a Nevada native, he is familiar with the challenges that accompany a fast-growing community, Ensign added.

“We needed someone who could quickly get up to speed,” Ensign said.

Reid said he and Ensign agreed that Brower, who has served as general counsel to the Government Printing Office, was the best choice.

“He has a wonderful reputation,” Reid said.

Bogden was stunned a year ago when he received a phone call from the Department of Justice asking him to step down. He was one of seven U.S. attorneys across the country to be fired.

Bogden was initially told that he was terminated for poor performance, even though he never received a negative review during his five years as the state’s chief federal prosecutor.

Political leaders in Washington said the firings were purely political. Democrats claimed President Bush wanted to replace the attorneys with lawyers with closer ties to the Republican Party.

U.S. Attorney General Alberto Gonzales resigned in September after allegations he perjured himself during congressional hearings on the controversy. Gonzales testified that he only knew that some attorneys were labeled as underperformers. He said he left the attorneys’ fate up to his aides.

It was later revealed he attended a meeting during which he approved the plan to fire the attorneys and even urged the termination of San Diego U.S. Attorney Carol Lam.

Reid and Ensign said they are confident that new Attorney General Michael Mukasey will not allow politics to play a role in his decisions.

“I am impressed with the job he has done; his decision on the CIA tapes is a step forward,” Reid said, referring to Mukasey’s decision to call a full-blown criminal investigation into the destruction of CIA interrogation tapes. The CIA has acknowledged that the tapes showed tough interrogation tactics of al-Qaida suspects.

“He is not going to be a firebrand; he’s focused at the job at hand, and that’s what the job of the Department of Justice should be,” Ensign said.

Bogden complained about a shortage of attorneys in his office. The senators agreed to fight for more attorneys and staff members if Brower believes it to be necessary.

“It’s a tremendous honor to serve in this job in my home state,” Brower said.

Brower was inspector general of the U.S. Government Printing Office in Washington, where since December 2004 he had been responsible for internal audits and investigations.

Previously he was legislative counsel in the Executive Office for U.S. Attorneys within the Justice Department. In that post, he was a liaison between members of Congress and U.S. attorneys around the country.

As an assemblyman, Brower represented District 26, which includes Carson City, Lake Tahoe and Reno, from 1998 until 2002, when he was defeated by fellow Republican Sharron Angle.

Brower was born in Wisconsin but moved to Las Vegas at a young age. He graduated from Bonanza High School in 1982 and received an undergraduate degree in political economy from the University of California, Berkeley in 1986. He earned his law degree in 1992 from George Washington University Law School. Brower also served in the Navy for two years.

Contact reporter Adrienne Packer at or (702) 384-8710.

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