Rep. Frank Pallone said that he hoped the days of a politicized Department of Justice were over when Alberto Gonzales resigned.
But so far, he has not been pleased with Gonzales’s successor, Michael Mukasey – at least not based on his response to Pallone’s concerns about deferred prosecution agreements, like the one that allowed U.S. Attorney Christopher Christie to give his former boss, former Attorney General John Ashcroft, an oversight contract worth up to $52 million.
Pallone wrote two letters to the Justice Department – one in December and one in January—and has still not received a response to either. He’s already introduced legislation regulating the practice of dolling out deferred prosecution agreements.
“It’s no surprise to me that the Department of Justice is stonewalling,” said Pallone. “Bush has had three Attorney Generals now — all political. I don’t think they uphold the law and they just can’t be trusted to do the right thing.”
Pallone said that he hasn’t given up hope on having a better relationship with the Attorney General, but said “I haven’t seen anything so far to judge that he’s going to be any different.”
Similarly, Rep. Bill Pascrell has not received a response to the letter he signed along with ranking members of the House and Senate Judiciary Committee requesting information on all deferred prosecution agreements dating back to 2003.
The committee gave the Justice Department a deadline of January 25th. As of today, they have not received a response.
“Our staff is following up with the Department of Justice, but neither our office nor the committee office received the information requested in our letter, or even a request for an extension. We are extremely disappointed that the DoJ continues to keep the American people in the dark on the issue of corporate prosecutions,” Pascrell said in a statement.
Paul Bresson, a spokesman for the Justice Department, noted that Mukasey will testify in front of the Judiciary Committee on Wednesday, and said that the department has been reviewing the process by which federal monitors are selected for several months.
“That is something that has been considered and evaluated and is still be considered, and that’s really as much as we can say at this point.”