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The Wise Leader: Navigating Ethical Storms

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Former U.S. Attorney contributes to an ongoing series.

As a young man, I had modest dreams. I wanted to go to law school and then practice law in a medium to large law firm in my beautiful home state of New Mexico. I had no inkling of what was to come. I had no political aspirations and had never considered military service. Rather, I was tempted by the siren’s song of 1980s materialism and was more interested in consumerism and social status.

The Lord had other plans for me.

Indeed, these divine plans were “…exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think…” (Eph. 3:20). Before my thirty-year legal career transitioned to higher education, I had been the Republican nominee for state Attorney General, been selected for a White House Fellowship, received a Presidential appointment to become the United States Attorney for New Mexico, and served a total of 30 years of active and reserve duty as a U.S. Navy JAG officer.

If that wasn’t enough, at the end of my Presidential appointment I became embroiled in a national controversy that is considered by some to be the most serious leadership crisis at the U.S. Justice Department since Watergate. Twelve top officials, including the Attorney General, resigned as a result of the scandal.

In 2007, six of us fired United States Attorneys testified before the Senate and House about our inappropriate dismissals. Our independence as prosecutors was wrongly challenged and we were improperly punished for not making criminal charging decisions based on political considerations. Meddling with the federal prosecutor’s independence was anathema to the U.S. Justice Department. Seven different investigations were launched based on our testimony.

How did this happen, and how did I deal with it?

First, during …

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Source: Christianity Today Magazine

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