Government Shutdown Would Cripple Kansas U.S. Attorney's Office
Todd Pittenger - Mon 02:58 PM 03/21/2011
Inactivity by Congress in Washington DC, leading to a government shutdown, would have a crippling effect on the U.S. Attorney's Office in Kansas.
U.S. Attorney Barry Grissom tells KSAL News that right now his office is operating under a hiring freeze, and is operating under a continuing resolution. He says that in April, if there is not a budget, he will have to shut the doors. All that would be left would be himself, one person from the criminal division, one from the civil division, and a couple of administrative staff.
Currently, there are 49 Assistant U.S. Attorneys in Kansas, prosecuting cases.
Grissom says that he hopes it doesn't come to a shut-dwon, but is preparing for the possibility.
Grissom, speaking at a Salina Rotary Club luncheon on Monday, says that his office right now is working on multiple cases.
Their top priority is fighting terrorism. Grissom cited two terrorism cases that have connections to Kansas. A man in the United States on a VISA to attend Wichita State University was responsible of a 1993 bombing at the World Trade Center. Timothy McVeigh and Terry Nichols planned their plot to blow up the federal building in Oklahoma City in Kansas. They gathered the materials in Kansas to make the bomb. Grissom called them "two of the most despicable men ever to walk the earth".
The U.S. Attorney's Office handles multiple criminal cases as well. Grissom cited about a half-dozen cases involving Salina that his office has recently prosecuted. They involve everything from gun and drug crimes, to bank robberies. He said that with the intersection of two interstates, Salina is a high-traffic drug area.
Grissom said that his office is aware of the recent case involving the owner of the Grind, a business in Salina that was selling designer drugs. Grissom said that he cannot comment on his office's involvement, if any, in the criminal investigation of the case.
Grissom also touched on white-collar crime. He said that last year $6.3 billion was put back into the U.S. Treasury through the successful prosecution of white-collar crime.