11.19.08

Leahy Presses Mukasey For Answers To Justice Department Witness Questions Hundreds Of Hearing Questions Remain Unanswered

WASHINGTON (Wednesday, Nov. 19, 2008) – Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) sent a letter Wednesday to Attorney General Michael Mukasey, urging the Justice Department to respond to hundreds of hearing questions that remain unanswered by Department witnesses who have testified before the Committee.  Several questions date back over one year.

 

Witnesses who testify before the Senate panel are often asked written questions by Committee members.  Witness responses to questions submitted for the record are required before official hearing transcripts can be produced and made available to the public.  Mukasey has yet to respond to questions from Committee members in connection with his July 9, 2008, appearance before the Committee.  During that hearing, both Democratic and Republican members of the Judiciary Committee pressed Mukasey to provide timely responses to Committee questions and correspondences.

 

“I trust that you understand how these unanswered questions compromise this Committee’s oversight responsibilities,” Leahy wrote to Mukasey.  “It is my hope that the Department will answer all outstanding questions before the adjournment of the 110th Congress.  You can set an example by promptly returning responsive answers to the questions posed to you in connection with the July 9 oversight hearing, which was more than four months ago.”

 

More than 300 questions sent to Justice Department witnesses who testified at 11 Judiciary Committee hearings remain unanswered.  The full text of Leahy’s letter follows.  A PDF, and listing of unanswered questions, is available online.

 

November 19, 2008

 

The Honorable Michael B. Mukasey

Attorney General

United States Department of Justice

950 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W.

Washington, DC 20530

 

Dear Attorney General Mukasey:

 

Department of Justice witnesses have failed to answer hundreds of written questions submitted by Republican and Democratic Members of the Senate Judiciary Committee.  I am writing to ask you to expeditiously rectify this problem.

 

It is imperative that witnesses provide complete, accurate and timely responses, as provided by law, to questions posed to them by Members of the Committee. The Committee provides a two-week period for witnesses to submit responses to written questions submitted to them following their appearances before the Committee. Witnesses may seek extensions for good cause beyond the two-week period, but the majority of the outstanding questions submitted to Department of Justice witnesses have been pending for many months.  The details of the outstanding questions are set out in the attached chart.  Please let me know by November 26 when the Committee can expect to receive answers to these questions.

 

I trust that you understand how these unanswered questions compromise this Committee’s oversight responsibilities.   It is my hope that the Department will answer all outstanding questions before the adjournment of the 110th Congress.  You can set an example by promptly returning responsive answers to the questions posed to you in connection with the July 9 oversight hearing, which was more than four months ago.

 

Sincerely,

 

PATRICK LEAHY

Chairman 

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