- The Washington Times - Monday, November 13, 2017

The top Democrat on the Senate Judiciary Committee said Monday one of President Trump’s district court nominees failed to disclose his wife works as one of the president’s lawyers, presenting a potential conflict of interest.

Brett Talley, Mr. Trump’s nominee for the Middle District of Alabama, didn’t notify the Senate Judiciary Committee during his confirmation hearing about his wife’s position in the White House counsel’s office. Ranking Democrat Sen. Dianne Feinstein of California said he must answer questions about the “glaring omission” before the full Senate takes up his confirmation vote.

“Judicial nominees are required to disclose potential conflicts of interest‎,” she said.

But Taylor Foy, a spokesman for Judiciary Committee Chairman Charles E. Grassley, Iowa Republican, said nominees aren’t required to fill out a spouse’s occupation on their questionnaire and Mr. Talley made clear he would consider recusing himself if any potential conflict were to arise.

“It’s no secret that Mr. Talley’s wife, Ann Donaldson, is the Chief of Staff to the White House Counsel. She was sitting behind Mr. Talley at his nominations hearing,” said Mr. Foy. “Anyone who had any concerns about his wife’s occupation could have raised them at the hearing.”

Last week, Mr. Talley cleared the committee by a 11-9 party-line vote, with Democrats opposing him because the American Bar Association rated him “not qualified.” They said he had too little experience.

“When you get to the bench of a federal trial court, it would be helpful to try a case before. Instead, Mr. Talley has made a career in blogging,” Ms. Feinstein said during the committee vote.

Democrats also had concerns about Mr. Talley having blogged about the Second Amendment after the mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary in 2012, suggesting it would come under attack by former President Obama and Democrats calling for gun control.

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