This afternoon, Special Prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald announced the indictment of I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby, Vice President Dick Cheney's top aide. Fitzgerald also serves as a U.S. attorney based in Chicago, and his office is prosecuting the former governor of Illinois. Does Patrick Fitzgerald get two salaries?
No. In December of 2003, the U.S. Attorney General's Office appointed Fitzgerald to be the special prosecutor for the CIA leak case that led to today's indictment, but that doesn't mean he left his job as U.S. attorney. Since he was already on the government payroll—making $140,300 a year—he wasn't eligible to receive any more money for the additional work. To handle both jobs, Fitzgerald—or "Fitzie," as he's known to friends—shuttles to Washington, D.C., from the Windy City, where he spends most of his time.
He's not the only special prosecutor to hold down his original job. Kenneth Starr continued to work in private practice after he was appointed to investigate President Clinton. (He reportedly earned more than a million dollars representing tobacco companies, among other clients.) And James McKay, who served as an independent counsel investigating Edwin Meese in the late 1980s, did some private lawyering during his tenure as well. Since these prosecutors were not already working for the government, they would have been entitled to an additional salary from the Department of Justice.
Other special prosecutors decided to work the gig full-time. Archibald Cox left a position at Harvard Law School to investigate the Nixon administration. When Nixon fired him a few months later, the new special prosecutor, Leon Jaworski, took some time off from his law firm in Texas. (Cox's dismissal—by the subject of his investigation, Richard Nixon—eventually led Congress to pass the independent counsel law in 1978.)
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Explainer thanks Ken Gormley of Duquesne University, Katy Harriger of Wake Forest University, and Randall Samborn of the United States Attorney's Office of the Northern District of Illinois.