Murkowski Still Waiting on Full Bill Allen Explanation
Department of Justice Responds to Senator's Demands, but Questions Remain
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Senator Lisa Murkowski received a response to her November 2011 demand that a Department of Justice Office of Professional Responsibility (OPR) independent investigation be done regarding the decision not to prosecute Bill Allen over allegations he transported underage women across state lines for immoral and exploitive purposes – but is still waiting for a better explanation. The Department of Justice decided against pursuing Mann Act charges against Allen, while also directing the Alaska Department of Law to not proceed further with its case.
“I asked for an objective, thorough and independent investigation. I’m willing to give OPR the benefit of the doubt that I got an objective and independent look at this issue, but this is not the thorough evaluation that Alaskans deserve,” said Murkowski.
In the response (attached) from the Department of Justice’s Office of Professional Responsibility (OPR), the Assistant Attorney General informed Senator Murkowski the officials involved “are vested with wide discretion in deciding whether to pursue criminal charges in a particular matter. Accordingly, OPR does not investigate the legitimate exercise of prosecutorial discretion by Department attorneys unless there is evidence that the deciding official’s discretion was exercised corruptly or based upon improper considerations.”
After reading the letter, Senator Murkowski noted “if this discretion and decision-making was not based upon ‘improper considerations,’ then I want to know what the proper considerations were. There are many legitimate reasons that a case can be discontinued, but the more the Justice Department refuses to communicate their reasoning, the more they allow Alaskans to think the worst. There remains a shadow over the Department of Justice’s operations in Alaska and nationwide – and only full transparency can begin to restore faith in the judicial system.”
Senator Murkowski has inquired with the Department of Justice whether a comprehensive report or a closing memo is available for evaluation, but neither exists. She intends to pursue other avenues with Senate colleagues to push for more information, including the Senate Judiciary Committee’s June 6th hearing surrounding the entirety of the Ted Stevens investigation.