John Giordano, a Philadelphia lawyer who worked on President Trump's campaign and transition, is a contender to be the next U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania.
David Urban, a lobbyist who served as senior adviser to the Trump campaign in Pennsylvania in 2016, describes Giordano as a "workhorse" for the presidential campaign and a "credible guy" for the job of top federal prosecutor in Philadelphia.
"Listen, he put a lot of work in for the president," Urban said. "I believe him to be in the mix and a serious candidate."
Giordano, in a brief interview, said he "would be honored to be considered and prepared to serve my country and support the president's agenda, whether that's in the public or private sector."
Giordano's resumé includes government jobs in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and Washington, D.C., but the 42-year-old graduate of Villanova University's School of Law is not admitted to practice law in Pennsylvania or New Jersey. He declined to comment when asked if he had ever taken or passed the bar examination in those states.
Giordano is an active member of the District of Columbia Bar, having been admitted there in 2004. That appears to be enough for him to qualify for the job, if Trump nominates him and the Senate confirms his selection.
Peter Vaira, who served as U.S. attorney for the Eastern District during President Jimmy Carter's administration, said he had only once seen a U.S. attorney appointed without being admitted by that state's bar to practice law.
"That was in Florida," Vaira said. "They gave the guy some time to get on, but he had to pass the bar down there."
Sen. Pat Toomey, a Republican who won a second term in November, is setting up a panel to interview candidates for the post, said Vaira, who cautioned against giving that panel's deliberations too much weight. Sometimes politics plays more of a role than the panel, he said.
"It's sometimes just for show," Vaira said. "I pay very little attention to what they say about panels."
Michael Stiles, who served as U.S. attorney during President Bill Clinton's administration, had a different experience. He said a panel of lawyers and non-lawyers interviewed 15 to 20 candidates and narrowed the field to three or four finalists, who then were interviewed by then-Sen. Harris Wofford. With Wofford's recommendation, Stiles then met with Attorney General Janet Reno.
The Eastern District, based in Philadelphia, also includes the counties of Berks, Bucks, Chester, Delaware, Lancaster, Lehigh, Montgomery, and Northampton.
The office employs about 130 assistant U.S. attorneys and 105 other staffers, according to the Department of Justice.
Urban, who said he was not part of the White House discussions on filling the post, said Giordano had a "great deal of experience in a wide range of legal jobs."
Giordano served during President George W. Bush's administration in the Department of Justice's Environment and Natural Resources Division and as special assistant U.S. attorney in the Eastern District of Virginia.
He later was deputy secretary for administration at the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources under Gov. Tom Corbett and then an assistant commissioner in the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection under Gov. Christie.
Giordano worked as an attorney for Trump's campaign and served on a "landing team" for the transition at the Department of Energy.
Giordano, who ran briefly in 2011 as a Republican for a Philadelphia City Council at-large seat, is employed at the law firm Archer & Greiner in Philadelphia.
He has worked in New Jersey for the transportation and equipment leasing company run by his father, Frank, a former president of the Union League and current president of the Philly Pops, who has a record of making campaign contributions to Democrats and Republicans in Pennsylvania and New Jersey.
A source familiar with the selection process being run by Toomey described Giordano as a "loyal supporter" of the president who is "thought highly of" among the people who ran Trump's campaign.
Toomey on Tuesday declined to say whether Giordano was being considered for the post, saying he and Sen. Bob Casey, a Democrat, have always agreed to keep their deliberations private.
Asked whether he would consider someone who had not passed the bar in Pennsylvania, Toomey demurred, citing the privacy of the process.
"I don't want to get into this at all," Toomey said. "That's all I can say."