The U.S. Attorneys firing scandal has claimed its first victim (other than the fired U.S. Attorneys): D. Kyle Sampson
Sampson, who served as chief of staff to Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, tendered his resignation on Monday. It was reported that Sampson failed to keep AG Gonzales and other top Justice Department officials in the loop about his discussions with former White House Counsel Harriet Miers concerning possible U.S. Attorney firings.
An interesting profile of Sampson, written by Eric Lipton, appeared in yesterday’s New York Times. It includes good detail about Sampson’s meteoric rise through conservative legal circles, as well as some backstory about Sampson’s own desire to serve as U.S. Attorney for Utah.
It’s a serious and sober portrait. If you’re in the mood for something on the lighter side, replete with discussion of Sampson’s skills on the basketball court, check out what we received from a helpful tipster. It appears after the jump.
Here’s what our source, who has known Kyle Sampson through church and legal circles, had to say about him:
I’ve played basketball with Kyle Sampson several times, and he’s annoyingly uber-competitive, even giving my teammate a bloody lip in a church league basketball game. Did I mention it was a Mormon church basketball game?
So it seems like Kyle doesn’t just make the U.S. Attorneys an outlet… He even brings some of his pent-up stress and frustration to the church basketball court.
He’s really a good three-point shooter, and is really streaky. I’ve played against him where he’s hit 5 or 6 threes in a row, then misses quite a few.
It seems, though, that Sampson’s three-point shot may be better than his upstream communication skills.
Our tipster also had some off-the-court interactions with Sampson:
I attended [a conference] in [D.C. in 2006] where Kyle Sampson was a panelist. As one who was getting ready to go to law school in the fall…, I thought I’d ask him a few questions while he was a panelist about whether he had ever faced the dilemma of personal religious ethics saying one thing and the enforcement of a public policy choice saying another.
He didn’t take to the question, and responded quite gruffly (or he was glib in the vernacular of Mr. Cruise) by naming all the wonderful initiatives DOJ has pursued the last few years against child predators and whatnot, and that was in line with his personal ethics. He also pulled out his Blackberry every few minutes to mention that the AG was trying to contact him.
I’ve never been much of a fan, though I must say my first thought went to his family when I heard of his resignation. My second thought went to the growing ranks of Bush scapegoats…
An addendum from our correspondent:
The BYU Alumni Association’s web page had a spotlight on him that had been up for a few years, but looks like it was recently removed.
That seems to be correct. But the Sampson puff piece is still available here, via Archive.org.
This excerpt from the alumni association bio now seems unfortunate, in hindsight:
Although [Sampson] may consider his role [in the Administration] to be of small importance, some BYU graduates may not agree. Taylor Oldroyd, a friend of Sampson and member of the Bush Administration, feels he has been instrumental in assisting the Church. “Kyle has played a key role in many of the Administration’s personnel decisions and is the reason so many BYU alumni, including myself, have positions in the Bush Administration.”
“A key role in many of the Administration’s personnel decisions.” Indeed. So when is Taylor Oldroyd getting a U.S. Attorney gig?
Fast-Riser’s High Hopes and Sudden Fall [New York Times]
BYU Alumni Spotlight: Kyle Sampson [BYU Alumni Association via Archive.org]