01.10.08

Leahy Seeks Details Of No-Bid Contracts Directed To Be Awarded By Justice Department Official

WASHINGTON (Thursday, Jan. 10, 2008) – Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) Thursday sent a letter to Attorney General Michael Mukasey asking the Department of Justice to provide the Committee with information regarding no-bid contracts directed to be awarded to firms affiliated with former Justice Department officials.  According to an article in The New York Times, U. S. Attorney Christopher Christie directed the awarding of no-bid contracts to former Attorney General John Ashcroft’s consulting firm, two former U.S. Attorneys and to a former Republican attorney general of New Jersey.

The Judiciary Committee is expected to conduct a Department of Justice Oversight hearing after the Senate reconvenes later this month.

The text of Leahy’s letter to Attorney General Mukasey follows. 

January 10, 2008

The Honorable Michael B. Mukasey

Attorney General

United States Department of Justice

950 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W.

Washington, D.C. 20530

Dear Attorney General Mukasey:

According to a story today in The New York Times, New Jersey U.S. Attorney Christopher Christie directed companies involved in out-of-court settlements of criminal cases with the Department to award no-bid contracts for monitoring compliance with those settlements to former Attorney General John Ashcroft’s consulting firm, to two former U.S. Attorneys, and to a former Republican attorney general of New Jersey.  The 18-month contract awarded without public notice or bidding to the Ashcroft Group is reported to be worth between $28 million and $52 million.

Please provide the Judiciary Committee with a list of all contracts, including dollar amounts, awarded since 2001 to outside lawyers retained by companies for monitoring compliance with out-of-court settlements reached in criminal investigations between companies and the Department.  Please also explain the procedure followed to select the person or firm monitoring compliance. Because it is important that the Committee have this information to prepare for our upcoming oversight hearing with you, please provide it to the Committee by January 23.

I appreciate your prompt attention to this matter so that we can work together to ensure that political considerations do not play a role in the Department’s responsibility to enforce the law.

Sincerely,

PATRICK LEAHY                                                     

Chairman                     

Cc: The Honorable Arlen Specter  

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