U.S. Attorney Kevin Techau of the Northern District of Iowa has resigned, one of the 46 U.S. attorneys across the nation who were holdovers from the Obama administration and whose resignations were demanded Friday by the Trump administration.
The U.S. Attorney’s Office in Cedar Rapids on Monday confirmed the resignation of Techau, 58, of Cedar Rapids.
The acting U.S. attorney for Iowa's Southern District, which covers Davenport, was not affected by the order.
Attorney General Jeff Sessions asked Techau, who took office in February 2014, to resign, effective at midnight Friday, along with the 45 other presidentially appointed prosecutors.
Techau, a native of Marion, is a previous commissioner of the Iowa Department of Public Safety in the administration of Democratic Gov. Tom Vilsack. President Barack Obama appointed him to the attorney's post in 2013.
"Iowa has excellent federal, state and local law enforcement officers across the state,” Techau said in a statement Monday. "It has been a fulfilling and rewarding experience to have served in this office for the past three years with those professionals. I am very grateful that I had the opportunity to lead the men and women who work so hard in the United States Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Iowa. They are a top-notch group of public servants and I am very honored to have been their colleague."
First Assistant U.S. Attorney Sean Berry will serve as acting U.S. attorney, pending an interim or permanent appointment by President Donald Trump.
The acting U.S. attorney in Iowa's Southern District, Kevin VanderSchel, was not affected by last week's move.
"Kevin is not presidentially appointed, so he can stay on until the transition happens,” Rachel J. Scherle, an assistant U.S. attorney in the Southern District, said Monday.
VanderSchel has been with the U.S. attorney's office since 1989. He had been the first assistant and stepped into the interim position when Nicholas Klinefeldt resigned as U.S. attorney in 2015 to take a job at a Des Moines law firm. He was appointed by Obama in 2009.
It's not clear when Trump will nominate replacements. Typically, the senior senator of the same party forwards names to the president to fill U.S. attorney posts. In a statement Monday, U.S. Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, said that, knowing a new president was coming into office, he has been preparing for this and "in the coming weeks" will be sending names to the White House.
The administration's demand for resignations last Friday drew criticism in some quarters. Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y, said last week the abrupt departures would be disruptive to cases.
But a Justice Department spokeswoman, Sarah Isgur Flores, said last Friday that, as in prior administrations, many U.S. attorneys nominated by the previous administration had already left and that Sessions asked the remaining 46 to resign to ensure a uniform transition. She said career prosecutors would continue to administer the offices.
In recent years, the administrations of Barack Obama and George W. Bush gradually eased out U.S. attorneys while replacements were sought, according to The Washington Post.
Asked about the move Monday, Grassley, who is chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee, said, "U.S. attorneys serve at the pleasure of the president who has a right to hire or fire a U.S. attorney for almost any reason. When President Clinton came into office, he fired all U.S. attorneys with little or no notice. Every president handles it in his own way."