The Justice Department pushed for the confirmation of Frank McNamara as U.S. attorney in Boston even after learning he did not file his 1983 and 1984 tax returns until he became a candidate for the job, The Washington Post reported Friday.

Sources told the newspaper that Attorney General Edwin Meese pressed for McNamara's nomination last year, repeatedly asking department officials about the status of the nomination, which was languishing in the Senate Judiciary Committee.Sources who are familiar with McNamara's nomination said he did not owe taxes for those years, and therefore under Justice Department guidelines, he was not subject to civil or criminal penalties for failing to file his returns on time, the Post said.

A former senior official in the Justice Department told the newspaper the tax matter was "not a serious thing in my judgment" because McNamara filed the returns voluntarily before the Internal Revenue Service asked any questions.

In April 1987, McNamara was nominated for the U.S. attorney's job in Boston. His confirmation by the Senate did not come until the following November.