Ohio Sen. JD Vance holding up installation of US Attorney nominee April Perry in Chicago

ByChuck Goudie and Barb Markoff, Christine Tressel and Tom Jones WLS logo
Thursday, April 4, 2024
Ohio Sen. JD Vance holding up installation of US Attorney nominee in Chicago
Ohio Sen. JD Vance is blocking April Perry, President Joe Biden's nominee for US Attorney in Chicago, as retribution for Donald Trump's legal troubles

CHICAGO (WLS) -- The U.S. Capitol and Chicago's downtown federal building are 702 miles apart. But when there is a political blockage in place, the two may as well be worlds apart. The city and the northern district are into their second year with an interim top federal law enforcement official. The United States Attorney position is gummed up by a partisan fight that has President's Biden's Chicago nominee blocked by a single U.S. senator seeking retribution for the legal troubles of former President Trump.

Trapped in the blockage is U.S. Attorney nominee April Perry. It takes just one senator to block a nomination. And for Perry that senator is venture capitalist and book author-turned-politician J.D. Vance of Ohio.

"One Senator J.D. Vance of Ohio has decided to stop all U.S. attorneys. I said, why are you doing this? Under the Trump administration, we approved every single one of Trump's U.S. attorneys with a voice vote. Now you're stopping under the Biden administration, all U.S. attorneys. Why are you doing this? He said, I want to grind the Department of Justice to a halt," Illinois Senator Dick Durbin told the I-Team during a recent interview.

Durbin offered up Perry to the White House and she was nominated by President Biden last summer. Soon it will be a year that her nomination has been stalled.

"It makes it difficult to get big picture work done. Big priorities, important hires. Very difficult to do that without a confirmed U.S. attorney at the top," said former Chicago federal prosecutor and chief ABC7 legal analyst Gil Soffer. He says there is an unofficial clock running on April Perry's nomination. "It all depends on who wins in November. If Biden wins re-election then she's in a good position and in time she will be appointed. But if Trump wins, it's almost a certainty that that administration would not select her and she's not likely to be confirmed in the meantime, and then she'd be out of luck."

Durbin seems incensed by Vance's tactic. "What a ridiculous thing to do. These people are men and women who are responsible for law enforcement at the highest levels to keep us safe from drugs and all the dangers of federal criminals. And here he is, stopping the appointment of these individuals. We're stuck."

We asked Sen. Vance to do an interview for this report and never received a reply.

April Perry was formerly an assistant U.S. attorney here, and chief deputy Cook County state's attorney. More recently she has been working as a corporate attorney in Chicago. In an e-mail to the I-Team, Perry says she has no comment about the situation.