Murkowski Calls for Investigation of Stevens Prosecutors’ Obstruction, Tax Dollars Spent

Senator Requires Study of $1.8 Million Spent Defending Misconduct in FY 2013 Appropriations Bill

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Senator Murkowski secured language as part of the FY2013 Commerce, Justice and Science (CJS) appropriations bill to require a Government Accounting Office report looking into the taxpayer dollars spent by the Department of Justice to defend federal prosecutors accused of misconduct in the trial of Senator Ted Stevens.

(Senator Murkowski makes recent remarks in Anchorage regarding the Stevens trial)

The language that was approved by the Appropriations Committee today reads:

The Department of Justice has expended more than $1.8 million in the defense of prosecutors who were under investigation for possible contempt of court charges arising from the conduct of the trial of the late Senator Ted Stevens. Some of these funds may have been expended after the decision was made not to charge the prosecutors with contempt in an attempt to argue that the report of the Special Counsel empanelled to investigate the allegations be kept secret.

Additionally some of these funds may have been expended on behalf of a deceased employee. The Committee directs the GAO to submit to the Committee a report reviewing the policy and practices of the DOJ in paying or reimbursing the attorneys fees and costs of departmental employees in actions relating to this case, and allegations of contempt of court or prosecutorial misconduct, including an accounting of funds paid for Calendar Years 1997-2012. The report shall also evaluate the Department’s performance in disciplining prosecutors who are found to have engaged in prosecutorial misconduct or contempt of court.

While the Committee understands that the Department wants the report of the Office of Professional Responsibility before taking action, the Committee questions the judgment of the Department in placing the same prosecutors in leadership roles in high profile cases after the allegations were made public. Therefore, the Committee directs the GAO to report also on all cases these prosecutors were involved in, their role in the cases and the outcome.