WASHINGTON — Assistant Atty. Gen. Lanny A. Breuer, who boosted white-collar prosecutions and oversaw the investigation into the 2010 Gulf Coast oil spill, announced that he would resign as one of the longest-serving chiefs of the Justice Department's Criminal Division.
Breuer, whose resignation is effective March 1, had been expected to leave after President Obama's first term.
Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Vista), chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, noted that Breuer was the third top Justice Department official to depart after the department's inspector general reviewed Fast and Furious, the program that allowed illegal gun sales along the Arizona-Mexico border in an effort to trace them to drug cartels.
Atty. Gen. Eric H. Holder Jr., who had formally admonished Breuer over Fast and Furious, strongly praised him Wednesday. Holder noted that the Criminal Division won record penalties in corruption cases, dismantled major organized crime outfits and took on healthcare and mortgage fraud.
"Lanny has demonstrated an unwavering commitment to the mission of this department," Holder said.
But Issa criticized Breuer as having been "at the heart of several critical failures" in Fast and Furious and for failing to alert his superiors about the operation.