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Subseries 4. Nomination and Confirmation Files

Scope and Content Notes:

While serving as Director of the Institute of Politics, John F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University, Thornburgh received a telephone call from A. B. Culvahouse. Jr., counsel to President Reagan, indicating that Reagan was interested in nominating Thornburgh to succeed Edwin Meese as Attorney General of the United States. Thornburgh says in his autobiography that he was "hardly expecting Culvahouse's call" because Thornburgh's recommendation to the President had come from former assistant attorney general William Weld, who was in "disfavor" with the Reagan administration for criticizing Meese ( Evidence, p.199). However, Thornburgh did think himself one of the "logical candidates" for his "law enforcement, political and management record, as well as [his] good relations with the president and vice president" ( Evidence, 199).

But the call did come, and after meeting with President Reagan on July 12, 1988, he received the President's formal request to serve as Attorney General. Over the next month Thornburgh found himself in a whirlwind schedule of meetings, hearings, Washington visits, all of which required the perusal of preparatory research binders provided by the Department of Justice, the completion of forms and questionnaires, and attention to the memoranda and correspondence regarding details of his nomination process.

The largest section of material here concerns the Senate Judiciary Committee Hearing on August 5, 1988, during which Thornburgh was interviewed and questioned regarding his positions on issues and his management of problems while Governor of Pennsylvania. This hearing required extensive research, much of it regarding Department of Justice issues, policies and problems Thornburgh handled during his governorship, as well as background on the members of the committee. In addition to research, there is also correspondence, Thornburgh's annotated notes, mock hearing questions and transcripts of the session (available here online).

The Attorney General nomination and confirmation files are organized into the following five sections: 1)Nomination of Thornburgh as United States Attorney General, July, 1988, including news releases from the White House, statements by President Reagan and Thornburgh, and a published declaration of Thornburgh's nomination in the Congressional Record; 2) Nominee questionnaires and forms, 1988, which include the White House personal data statement, a questionnaire from the Senate Judiciary Committee (with Thornburgh's personal notes and draft responses to questions), financial disclosure forms, and other documents; 3) Research binders prepared for Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on August 5, 1988, which include research on committee members and questions and answers given by previous nominees, and a Thornburgh-annotated and "clean" (un-annotated) copy of a research binder on all Department of Justice components and issues within the DOJ; 4) Senate Judiciary Committee Hearing preparation and transcripts, includes information on Pennsylvania issues while Thornburgh was governor, transcripts of the hearing, and follow-up material, including questions and answers, courtesy calls, personal notes, and news clippings; and 5) Confirmation and swearing-in of Thornburgh as United States Attorney General, August-September, 1988, including a published declaration of Thornburgh's confirmation in the Congressional Record, lists and plans for the swearing-in ceremony on September 12, 1988 and remarks made by President Reagan and Attorney General Thornburgh at the ceremony.

Section: Nomination of Thornburgh as United States Attorney General, July, 1988


Box 754
Folder 1 President Reagan's nomination of Thornburgh as Attorney General: White House news releases and statements by President Reagan and Thornburgh July 12, 1988
Folder 2 Congressional Record, vol. 134, no. 107, nomination received, Dick Thornburgh of Pennsylvania to be Attorney General July 25, 1988

Section: Nominee Questionnaires and Forms, 1988

Folder 3 FBI Data form and Thornburgh notes July, 1988
Folder 4-5 White House Personal Data Statement: Thornburgh notes and drafts and final copy 1988
Folder 6-8 Senate Judiciary Committee questionnaire: Thornburgh notes and draft responses 1988
Folder 9 "Confirmation Process" memorandum regarding process of nomination, confirmation and appointment 1988
Folder 10 Arthur B. Culvahouse, Counsel to the President: memorandum for prospective appointees regarding conflicts of interest for presidential appointees July, 1988
Folder 11 Presidential Appointees Handbook: prepared by National Academy of Public Administration undated
Folder 12 Personal financial disclosure form (SF 278): Thornburgh notes and drafts July, 1988
Folder 13 Personal financial disclosure form (SF 278): correspondence between Office of Government Ethics, Kirkpatrick and Lockhart and U.S. Senate Committee on the Judiciary July-August, 1988
Folder 14 Personal financial disclosure form (SF 278): signed but without Ethics Committee notations July 25, 1988
Folder 15 Personal financial disclosure form (SF 278): final copy with Ethics Committee notations July-August, 1988

Section: Research Binders Prepared for Senate Judiciary Committee Hearing, August 5, 1988

Folder 16 Research on Senate Judiciary Committee members, including bios, transcripts, articles and opinions by members August, 1988
Folder 17 Binder prepared by the Department of Justice (DOJ) containing questions and answers from all DOJ components and background, with Thornburgh annotations August, 1988

Box 755
Folder 1-2 Binder prepared by the Department of Justice (DOJ) containing questions and answers from all DOJ components and background, with Thornburgh annotations August, 1988
Folder 3-5 Binder prepared by the Department of Justice (DOJ) containing questions and answers from all DOJ components and background, unmarked copy August, 1988

Section: Senate Judiciary Committee Hearing Preparation and Transcripts, August 5, 1988

Folder 6 Department of Justice, Office of Legislative Affairs memorandum regarding mock hearing questions August 3, 1988
Folder 7 Hearing background research and preparation on topics including drugs, deportation procedures, judicial appointment of minorities, handguns and other topics July-August, 1988
Folder 8 Hearing background research and preparation on abortion 1981-1988
Folder 9 Hearing background research and preparation on McNally decision on mail fraud 1987-1988
Folder 10 Hearing background research and preparation on Thornburgh's 1966 Campaign for U.S. Congress and news clippings 1966
Folder 11 Hearing background research and preparation on Thornburgh's accomplishments as U.S. Attorney 1969-1977

Box 756
Folder 1 Hearing background research and preparation on Proceedings of Thornburgh's confirmation hearing for Assistant Attorney General, Criminal Division June 12, 1975
Folder 2 Hearing background research and preparation on Criminal Division 1976-1977
Folder 3 Hearing background research and preparation on Supreme Court case, Abney v. United States October, 1976
Folder 4 Hearing background research and preparation on Pennsylvania issues during Thornburgh's term as governor 1985-1986
Folder 5 Negative correspondence to Senate Judiciary Committee regarding Thornburgh's appointment as Attorney General July 20, 1988
Folder 6 Positive correspondence to Senate Judiciary Committee regarding Thornburgh's appointment as Attorney General July-August, 1988
Folder 7 Thornburgh's interview with the Auditor General's Office following Senate Judiciary Committee hearing August 3, 1988
Folder 8 Thornburgh's Washington DC schedule and courtesy calls with senators July 25-28, 1988
Folder 9 Partial Senate Judiciary Committee hearing transcript, with corrections August 5, 1988
Folder 10 Senate Judiciary Committee hearing transcript, morning and afternoon sessions, with Thornburgh's annotations August 5, 1988
Folder 11 Senate Judiciary Committee follow-up questions after hearing and Thornburgh's answers and background material July-September, 1988
Folder 12 Thornburgh's personal notes regarding nomination, hearing and appointment July-August, 1988
Folder 13 News clippings regarding Thornburgh's nomination and confirmation as Attorney General of the United States July-August, 1988
Folder 14 News clippings regarding Thornburgh's nomination and confirmation as Attorney General of the United States July-August, 1988

Section: Confirmation and Swearing-in of Thornburgh as United States Attorney General, August-September, 1988

Folder 15 Congressional Record, vol. 134, no. 120, part 2, Confirmation of Thornburgh as Attorney General August 11, 1988
Folder 16 Swearing-in ceremony: memoranda and notes, lists and plans August 12, 1988
Folder 17 Swearing-in ceremony: remarks by Thornburgh and President Reagan and draft of Thornburgh's speech with annotations August 12, 1988
Folder 18 Swearing-in ceremony: questions and answers following ceremony with Attorney General Thornburgh August 12, 1988