Wednesday, July 23, 2008
AG Mukasey spoke to the United States House of Representatives Committee on the Judiciary Concerning "Oversight of the U.S. Department of Justice." The written statement is 37 pages, and it includes the following concerning public corruption:
"The investigation and prosecution of public corruption is among the highest obligations of law enforcement, and I consider it to be one of the top priorities of the Department of Justice. The Department’s career prosecutors and criminal investigators are engaged in a renewed effort to pursue corruption at all levels and in all branches of government. The Department’s achievements during the past year in this area show a steady commitment to fighting public corruption wherever it is found and on a non-partisan basis.
"The Department’s recent public corruption investigations have resulted in convictions of federal officials in all branches of government, as well as numerous state and local officials. At the federal level, in February, defense contractor Brent Wilkes was sentenced to 12 years in prison for his involvement in what the Washington Post called "the most brazen bribery conspiracy in modern congressional history." Wilkes funneled cash, mortgage payments, cars, meals, luxury travel, and prostitutes to former Congressman Randall "Duke" Cunningham in return for the Congressman’s assistance in steering contracts to Wilkes’s company.
"In March 2008, the Department obtained the seventh criminal conviction arising out of an ongoing investigation into public corruption among state officials in Alaska. The convictions have included three former elected members of the Alaska State House of Representatives (including a former speaker of the house), a chief of staff to a former governor, and three high-ranking executives with a major Alaska oil-services company. The convicted individuals made or received thousands of dollars in corrupt payments as well as offers of employment in return for official actions—including votes in the legislature—that would benefit the company.
"The Department, through its National Procurement Fraud Task Force, continues to devote significant attention to procurement and other corruption within the Iraq and Afghanistan war theaters and related support efforts. For example, in April 2008, an indictment by a federal grand jury in San Francisco was unsealed against a Canadian night vision goggles manufacturing firm and two of its executives for their participation in a scheme to defraud the U.S. military in the supply of equipment for the Iraqi army. In June 2008, a U.S. Army officer and his wife pleaded guilty for their participation in a conspiracy, bribery, and money laundering scheme involving contracts awarded in support of the Iraq war. Additionally, a retired U.S. Army colonel pleaded guilty in June for her role in a scheme designed to secure a U.S. Department of Defense contract at Camp Victory, Iraq, in 2004 and 2005. Also in June 2008, a defense contractor, Raman International, pleaded guilty for its role in a bribery scheme designed to influence the award of U.S. Department of Defense contracts at Camp Victory, Iraq. "