John Timothy Griffin (born August 21, 1968) is the U.S. Representative for Arkansas's 2nd congressional district. He is a member of the Republican Party. He was a United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Arkansas from December 2006 to June 2007, appointed by Attorney General Alberto Gonzales.
Early life and education
Griffin was born in Charlotte, North Carolina, and was raised in Magnolia, Arkansas. He graduated from Hendrix College in 1990, and then spent a year in graduate studies at Pembroke College at Oxford, England. He graduated from law school of Tulane University in 1994.
Pre-congressional political career
Griffin worked from September 1995 to January 1997 with Special Prosecutor David Barrett and his investigation of former Secretary of HUD, Henry Cisneros. see Bush v. Gore). From March 2001 through June 2002 he was Special Assistant to the Assistant Attorney General Michael Chertoff.
For two years after that he was Senior Investigative Counsel for the House Committee on Government Reform. In September 1999 he became Deputy Research Director for the Republican National Committee (for George W. Bush's election campaign); while in that position, he was a legal advisor for the "Bush-Cheney 2000 Florida Recount Team" (
From June 2002 to December 2004, Griffin was Research Director and Deputy Communications Director for Bush's 2004 reelection campaign.
In October 2004, journalist and author Greg Palast alleged that Griffin was involved in an effort to target 70,000 voters - students, deployed military personnel and homeless people in predominantly African American and Democratic areas — for vote caging during the 2004 election. Monica Goodling said in her oral and written testimony to the U.S. House Committee on the Judiciary on May 23, 2007, that Griffin's alleged vote caging activities were desirable for Deputy Attorney General Paul McNulty to be informed of, in relation to Griffin's potential Senate confirmation as a U.S. attorney. In July 2007 it was reported that "Internal city memos show the issue of Republican 'vote caging' efforts in Jacksonville's African-American neighborhoods was discussed in the weeks before the 2004 election, contradicting recent claims by former Duval County Republican leader Mike Hightower - the Bush-Cheney campaign's local chairman at the time."
In April 2005, Griffin began working at the White House as Karl Rove's aide, with the title of Special Assistant to the President and Deputy Director in the Office of Political Affairs.
E-mails released in 2009 from the Department of Justice show that Griffin was so loyal to his White House boss, Karl Rove, he joked with him about naming his first child "Karl".
In September 2006, after ending a one-year military mobilization assignment, Griffin began working as a special assistant to Bud Cummins, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Arkansas,. On December 15, 2006, the Justice Department announced that Griffin would be appointed interim U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Arkansas, effective December 20, 2006, the date when the resignation of Cummins took effect. On August 11, 2009, the New York Times reported that previously classified White House emails, showed Karl Rove had lobbied for Griffin to be appointed Cummins's successor. Before a March 2006 revision to the PATRIOT Act, interim U.S. Attorneys had a 120-day term limit, pending confirmation by the Senate of a Presidential nominee. The Attorney General makes interim appointments; after the revision, the Attorney General's interim appointees had no term limit, effectively bypassing the Senate confirmation process if the President declined to put forward a nomination. Griffin was among the first group of interim attorneys appointed by the Attorney General without a term limit. Gonzales' decision to bypass confirmation for Griffin particularly angered Arkansas' two U.S. Senators, Blanche Lincoln and Mark Pryor. Both Lincoln and Pryor stated that Gonzales promised them Griffin would go before the Senate for confirmation. Gonzales' decision not to do so prompted Lincoln and Pryor to join many of their Democratic colleagues in demanding Gonzales' resignation or firing. Documents released by a subsequent Congressional investigation showed that, in the summer of 2006, White House officials wanted a vacant slot in Little Rock, Arkansas, so Griffin could fill it. Prior to this he was a top Republican researcher and aide to Rove. On February 16, 2007, 10 days after McNulty testified that Cummins was dismissed in order to make a vacancy for Griffin to be appointed to, Griffin announced that he would not seek the presidential nomination to be U.S. attorney in Little Rock. On March 14, 2007 the Arkansas Leader wrote about Griffin his "resignation or dismissal ought to be imminent". Gonzales testified in his January 18, 2007 appearance before the Senate Judiciary Committee: "I am fully committed, as the administration's fully committed, to ensure that, with respect to every United States attorney position in this country, we will have a presidentially appointed, Senate confirmed United States attorney." On May 30, 2007, Griffin resigned from his position effective June 1, 2007 with a tearful speech declaring that public service "not worth it. I'm married now and have a kid. I'm sorry I put my wife through this and I'm trying to move on." In September 2008, the Office of the Inspector General in the Department of Justice issued a report concluding that Cummins had not been removed for any reasons related to his performance, but rather to make a place for Griffin.
U.S. House of Representatives
On September 21, 2009, Griffin announced that he was running for Congress, to replace Democrat Vic Snyder who is stepping down after 14 years in Congress. He defeated the Democratic nominee Joyce Elliott, Majority Leader of the Arkansas Senate. Elliott's campaign highlighted Griffin's past controversies such as the Bush campaign's voter caging efforts and his being named one of the "Crooked Candidates of 2010" by the Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, though the accuracy and truthfulness of one of Elliott's commercials on this theme was criticized by the San Francisco Chronicle and Factcheck.org. Griffin won with 57.9% of the vote. Griffin is only the second Republican in modern times to represent the 2nd District.
Griffin was selected by House Republicans to serve on the Judiciary Committee, which had investigated the circumstances of his appointment as interim U.S. Attorney.
August 30th, 2011