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Ex-Lobbyist Prime Candidate For Va. U.S. Atty

Neil MacBride/linkedin photo

Neil MacBride/ linkedin photo

President Obama rode into town on an anti-lobby crusade. Will he now appoint a lobbyist for the U.S. Attorney job in Virginia and risk creating controversy?  Then again, the guy is currently employed by the  Justice Department. So how big of a risk is it?

By Jerry Markon and Meg Smith
Washington Post Staff Writers
ALEXANDRIA, Va — A former corporate lobbyist has emerged as a top candidate for U.S. attorney in Alexandria, raising questions about how his appointment would square with the Obama administration’s efforts to change the culture of Washington, according to legal and political sources.

Neil MacBride, 43, lobbied federal officials as recently as mid-2007 on behalf of the Business Software Alliance, which represents Microsoft, IBM and a host of other leading computer companies, U.S. Senate records show. MacBride, a former chief counsel to Vice President Biden, was appointed in January as an associate deputy attorney general.

Justice Department officials and former colleagues described MacBride, who spent four years as a prosecutor, as savvy and highly ethical and said lobbying was a small part of his career. But MacBride would probably have to recuse himself from some cases involving former clients, because the Alexandria prosecutor’s office is one of the nation’s most aggressive in targeting copyright enforcement and cyber security — areas in which he lobbied.

The $149,000-a-year job is among the nation’s most prominent law enforcement posts and has grown increasingly visible in recent years as the U.S. attorney has handled high-profile terrorism and national security cases.

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