Joe Biden will NOT be naming Tom Perez as Attorney General


Joe Biden will not be naming Democratic National Committee chair Tom Perez as his designee for Attorney General, despite some pressure to do so.

Appearing on MSNBC's Morning Joe this morning, President-elect Biden's most visible legal advisor Bob Bauer checked off a list of internal and external reforms the Biden administration will be pursuing to the Department of Justice in order to protect future DOJs from a Trump-like president. Among the reforms the Biden camp is proposing is disqualifying, by law, anyone who has previously served as:

  • The head of the president's campaign
  • The head of a political party
  • The head of a political committee that supported the president

Although Bauer did not mention Perez by name, it seems obvious that Tom Perez, having served as the Chairman of the Democratic National Committee - the titular head of the Democratic Party - would be disqualified under these rules from serving as Attorney General.

Congress's power to statutorily control the qualifications for heads of executive departments is well established and stems from its Constitutional authority to establish the departments in the first place. Congress has also often exercised those powers, most notably by requiring that the Secretary of Defense, if not separated from uniformed military service by at least seven years, require a Congressional exemption to serve.

From Bob Bauer's comments, it appears that once in office, President-elect Biden will be asking Congress to put into law requirements for the Attorney General outlined above. Given this, Biden also clearly intends to follow these guidelines even if not forced to do so by Congress.

It looks like the AG contest is still between Sen. Doug Jones and Judge Merrick Garland.