The Blog

Report: Holder Tells DEA Chief to Get in Line

10:00 AM, May 16, 2014 • By MICHAEL WARREN
Widget tooltip
Single Page Print Larger Text Smaller Text Alerts

The head of the federal Drug Enforcement Administration was called in to speak with Attorney General Eric Holder and told to get in line with the Obama administration's policy on lessening sentencing for drug offenders, according to a report from the Huffington Post.

DEA chief Michele Leonhart has taken public stands in recent months against the administration's rhetoric on marijuana legalization as well as efforts by the White House and the Justice Department to ease punshiments for those covicted of federal drug crimes. HuffPo's Ryan Reilly and Ryan Grim report that Leonhart was "called in" by Holder for a "one [on] one chat about her recent insubordination." Leonhart seems to have gotten the message. Here more from their story:

Leonhart was responding to Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), who asked about the importance of mandatory minimums. Some law enforcement groups oppose the Smarter Sentencing Act, a bipartisan bill that would roll back the length of certain mandatory minimum prison terms. Leonhart emphasized the importance of mandatory minimums, leaving the impression she opposed changes to the current sentencing structure, which gives federal prosecutors huge leverage over defendants.

Justice Department concerns about Leonhart were heightened when, after her testimony, a DEA spokeswoman would not say whether Leonhart endorsed changes mandatory minimums, telling The Huffington Post that the DEA administrator's testimony would "have to speak for itself."

The concerns led to a conversation between Holder and Leonhart, according to a person familiar with the discussion. Leonhart told her boss there had been a misunderstanding.

The DEA sent The Huffington Post a follow-up statement a week after the first, expressing Leonhart's public support for reforms made by Holder that rolled back the deployment of harsh mandatory minimum sentences against certain drug offenders.

Read the whole thing here.

Recent Blog Posts

The Weekly Standard Archives

Browse 18 Years of the Weekly Standard

Old covers