Former AG Dennis Vacco likely to be appointed US Attorney

Rumors are emerging that former New York State Attorney General Dennis Vacco is likely to be appointed United States Attorney for the Western District of New York, says a source with knowledge of President-elect Donald Trump’s transition team. Vacco served as Attorney General from January 1, 1995 to December 31, 1998.  

If appointed, he will succeed James P. Kennedy, who has been serving on an interim basis since the abrupt resignation of William C. Hochul, the husband of the Lt. Governor, early last month.

While Attorney General, Vacco brought national attention through a series of prosecutions brought against internet service providers for distributing child pornography; played a prominent role in New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani’s attempt to require Time Warner Cable to carry the Fox News Channel, threatening anti-trust charges; and argued the landmark assisted suicide case Vacco v. Quill before the United States Supreme Court, successfully defending the state’s ban on the practice, by a 9–0 vote.

Attorney General Dennis Vacco with Mayor Rudy Giuliani.
Attorney General Dennis Vacco with Mayor Rudy Giuliani.

After leaving office, following a narrow loss to Elliot Spitzer, Vacco joined multinational conglomerate Waste Management as vice president for government affairs. He managed the firm’s government relations in New York, New England, and Canada.

“I joined Waste Management because of the company’s commitment to sound business practices and to being a good corporate citizen,” he said at the time.

In April 2006, after a six-month investigation, Vacco was cleared of allegations that he violated lobbying regulations relating to a contingency-fee contract with a Rochester businessman who was looking to build a casino with an Oklahoma tribe. Some alleged that the allegations against Vacco were politically motivated.

Vacco is currently a partner at the Buffalo, New York law firm of Lippes Mathias Wexler Friedman, LLP.

The US Attorney is appointed by the President of the United States for a term of four years, with appointments subject to Senate confirmation.  A US Attorney shall continue in office, beyond the appointed term, until a successor is appointed and qualified.


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