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May 6, 2008

Cooperation discount leads to buzz about DOJ investigating Hill happenings

This item from Politico highlights how a massive criminal justice system that encourages cooperation can get a lot of persons nervous real fast, even on Capitol Hill:

The news was buried deep in a Page Two story in Saturday’s Washington Post, but it’s gotten the city’s lawyers chattering.  The Department of Justice, according to a confidential source in the Post article, is investigating whether members of Congress have been improperly using staff and office resources.

The Justice Department declined to comment, but that hasn’t diminished the buzz on Capitol Hill. “Nobody’s heard anything,” said Andrew Herman, a congressional ethics attorney who by Monday morning had already fielded a number of calls from nervous lawyers.  “There’s just concern that this could become another House banking investigation.”  If Justice is, in fact, looking into the way that members of Congress use taxpayer dollars, Herman said the concern might be justified.  “I’m sure that there are certainly times that staff is used inappropriately. How could there not be?” he said, though he added that he had no specific examples of irregularities.

It’s unclear how serious the investigation is or whether there actually is an investigation. In a story largely devoted to the sentencing of Laura I. Flores, a former staffer for Reps. Jane Harman (D-Calif.) and Neil Abercrombie (D-Hawaii), the Post reported that “prosecutors petitioned to reduce [Flores’] penalty in exchange for help with an inquiry into whether lawmakers used congressional staff members and resources to support their political campaigns, according to a source familiar with the case.” Flores was sentenced on Friday to six months in prison after pleading guilty in January to wire fraud.

May 6, 2008 at 07:06 AM | Permalink

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Comments

"This item from Politico highlights how a massive criminal justice system that has pursued a blatantly political agenda for the last seven years can get a lot of persons nervous real fast, even on Capitol Hill"

Corrected your post.

Posted by: David in NY | May 6, 2008 9:30:55 AM

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