House Majority Leader wants hearings on federal monitors

U.S. House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer wants congressional hearings on deferred prosecution agreements, like the one that netted former U.S. Attorney General John Ashcroft a federal monitor agreement worth as much as $52 million over the next eighteen months.

“I think that’s absolutely essential. I think this administration has played fast and loose with the public dollars,” said Hoyer.

At the request of Rep. Bill Pascrell, House Judiciary Committee Chairman John Conyers said earlier this month that he was likely to hold hearings on U.S. Attorney Christopher Christie’s decision to award lucrative no-bid monitor contracts to Ashcroft and others.

Hoyer said he has not yet read legislation Rep. Frank Pallone introduced this week that would “constrain the unfettered jurisdiction” U.S. Attorneys have in appointing monitors.”

Still, he said, if the legislation is introduced by Pallone, it’s probably good.

“Frank and I happen to be very close friends,” said Hoyer. “If he’s introduced legislation – I haven’t focused on it now – but it is certainly worthy of careful consideration, since he’s one of our most substantive members.”

In addition to Ashcroft, Christie has awarded other federal monitor contracts dealing with settlements from other medical supply companies to two former federal prosecutors, David Kelley and Debra Wong Yang, and to former New Jersey Attorney General David Samson, a Republican. In 2005, Kelly, as the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York, prosecuted twenty stockbrokers for insider trading that included Christie’s brother. While fifteen faced criminal prosecution – none were eventually convicted — Todd Christie was only charged in a civil complaint.

Herbert Stern, a former U.S. Attorney and federal Judge from New Jersey, and his law partner, John Inglesino, who was until this month a Republican elected official in Morris County, earned over $8 million as the monitors of a deferred prosecution agreement with the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey.

House Majority Leader wants hearings on federal monitors