A recent spate of U.S. Attorney departures has raised eyebrows. As many as seven U.S. attorneys are either stepping down or being pushed out.

A recent spate of U.S. Attorney departures has raised eyebrows. As many as seven U.S. attorneys are either stepping down or being pushed out. 2

Late last week the San Diego Union-Tribune reported that Justice had requested the resignation of Lam, who won the guilty plea in 2005 of former Republican Congressman “Duke” Cunningham. Lam’s office declined to comment on the news.

There’s also Kevin Ryan, whose San Francisco office is investigating numerous stock-options backdating matters. Others include Daniel Bogden of Nevada, David Iglesias of New Mexico, Paul Charlton of Arizona and John McKay of Seattle. (Ms. Lam and Messrs. Ryan and Bogden haven’t officially announced their departures.)

Senators plan to question AG Gonzales about the departures at a Judiciary Committee hearing Thursday. Justice officials say the turnover is normal, but former DOJ officials say it’s unusual for such a large number of U.S. attorneys to leave at one time.

Senate Democrats are also raising concerns that the White House is using a little-noticed clause in the Patriot Act to circumvent Senate confirmation for interim U.S. Attorney replacements. Senators Leahy and Feinstein want to undo the amendment, which gives the attorney general, rather than local federal courts, the power to make interim appointments. The administration said it needed the amendment to ensure continuity in terrorism prosecutions.