Former US Attorney General Ashcroft to visit UMass

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AMHERST, Mass. (AP) -- Former U.S. Attorney General John Ashcroft is scheduled to speak at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, a year after another visiting Republican figure prompted protests at the liberal campus.

Ashcroft is expected to deliver an address on campus on Wednesday.

Ashcroft served as governor of Missouri and in the U.S. Senate before President George W. Bush nominated him as attorney general. He served in that capacity from 2001 until 2005, overseeing enforcement of the USA Patriot Act, criticized by some as an erosion of civil liberties. Ashcroft's Justice Department also ruled that an administration surveillance program was illegal and Ashcroft famously refused to sign an order to reverse that decision when visited by administration officials in his hospital bed.

He is currently chairman of The Ashcroft Group LLC, a Virginia-based consulting firm.

Last April's visit to campus by Republican strategist Karl Rove attracted protesters.

Ashcroft's visit is sponsored by the UMass Republican Club.


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