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A career Justice Department official decided that one prosecutor should be suspended for 40 days without pay and the second prosecutor should be suspended for 15 days without pay. They can appeal to the independent Merit Systems Protection Board.

The office found no professional misconduct by other prosecutors in the Stevens case.

A jury convicted Stevens on Oct. 27, 2008, of seven felony counts of lying on Senate financial disclosure documents to hide hundreds of thousands of dollars in home renovations and gifts from wealthy friends. Stevens, the longest-serving Republican in the Senate at the time, was defeated eight days later by Democrat Mark Begich.

The judge in the case dismissed Stevens‘ conviction in April 2009 after the Justice Department admitted misconduct. Stevens died in a plane crash on Aug. 9, 2010.

In March, a court-appointed special prosecutor, Henry Schuelke, declined to recommend criminal contempt charges over government misconduct in the case. But, unlike the Justice professional responsibility office, Mr. Schuelke did conclude that the two prosecutors, assistant U.S. attorneys Joseph Bottini and James Goeke, intentionally withheld key information from the defense.

SENATE

Lawmakers act to extend flood insurance program

The Senate has voted to extend the life of the National Flood Insurance Program for two months, giving lawmakers time to work on a long-term extension that would seek to restore fiscal solvency to the debt-ridden program.

The House last week approved a one-month extension of the program, and the two chambers will have to decide on a common approach before the program’s charter expires at the end of the month. The House last year passed a five-year extension that provides flood protection to some 5.6 million policyholders.

That bill, on which the Senate did not act, took steps to restore fiscal integrity to the program, which was hit hard by Hurricane Katrina in 2005 and now owes the Treasury nearly $18 billion.

CAMPAIGN

Search for Romney running mate in audition phase

Mitt Romney’s vice-presidential search has entered a new phase: auditions.

As his campaign evaluates potential running mates, Republicans with a shot at the No. 2 spot are starting to engage in unofficial public tryouts for the traditional vice-presidential role of attack dog.

Such possible contenders as Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie have had scorching words for President Obama.

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