senator leahy seeks details of DoJ’s mandate that john ashcroft get a no-bid supervisory gig in a criminal matter. . .

while i do not necessarily
believe this particular no-bid
contract per force evinces any wrong-
doing, it does seem that the NJ USA
was excessively controlling here — in
my experience, the naming of a particular
party, or entity to conduct oversight is
rather unusual. more typically, in a cor-
porate criminal case, counsel for the DoJ
will simply agree to some independent, competent
and respected overseer that the company — in
good faith, through its counsel — provides.
so, on that score, if on no other, the
nyt story seems unusual — not necessarily
corrupt; just out of the main. but we’ll see.

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,

chairman conyers has sent a similar letter.

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