Rep. Frank Pallone continued his push for more safeguards against the abuse of deferred prosecution agreements and oversight over the selection of federal monitors following reports that U.S. Attorney Christopher Christie gave a contract worth up to $52 million to former U.S. Attorney General John Ashcroft. The New York Times reported today that the Justice Department is conducting an internal inquiry of the Ashcroft deal, and others.
Today, Pallone asked U.S. Attorney General Michael Mukasey for full disclosure of all information regarding deferred prosecution agreements, and said he is drafting legislation to provide accountability and oversight in the selection of federal monitors.
“While I commend you for initiating an internal inquiry into the actual procedures that are used by your U.S. Attorneys and others in your department, I remain concerned that these secret agreements invite potential favoritism and political interference that can undermine our judicial system,” Pallone wrote in a letter to Mukasey. “I am also troubled by the fact that in many cases the names of the actual corporate monitors are never made public, increasing the impression of backroom gamesmanship.”
The eleven-term New Jersey Democrat wants Mukasey to “immediately disclose each of the federal monitors involved in every one of the deferred prosecution agreements that have been negotiated by either U.S. Attorneys or the Justice Department.”
“In an effort to bring more transparency to these agreements, I also request that you fully disclose all of the terms of these agreements so that both Congress and the public can determine for itself if this is a practice that should continue,” said Pallone.