DOJ Blocks Corruption Investigation Involving U.S. Senators

By:  Raven Clabough
03/17/2014
       
DOJ Blocks Corruption Investigation Involving U.S. Senators

Prosecutors in Utah are currently working on a corruption investigation involving two U.S. senators.

Unfortunately, the Justice Department has blocked the FBI’s use of federal systems in the probe, prompting the prosecutors to speak out.

The corruption investigation involves Senator Mike Lee (R-Utah) and Senator Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev). The Washington Times writes:

The probe, conducted by one Republican and one Democratic state prosecutor in Utah, has received accusations from an indicted businessman and political donor, interviewed other witnesses and gathered preliminary evidence such as financial records, Congressional Record statements and photographs that corroborate some aspects of the accusations, officials have told the Washington Times and ABC News.

Aspects of the investigation include whether Senators Lee and Reid accepted or pursued monetary or other benefits for political favors, and whether Senator Lee was honest when he purchased and then sold a home in Utah for a significant loss to a campaign contributor and federal contractor.

“There are allegations, but they are very serious allegations and they need to be looked at by somebody,” Sim Gill, a Democrat who is the elected chief prosecutor in Salt Lake County, told the Times. “If true, or even if asserted, they truly should be investigated and put to rest, or be confirmed.”

The investigation has hit a snag, however, as the Justice Department’s public integrity selection, the department that handles corruption cases involving elected officials, has rejected FBI agents’ bid to use a federal grand jury and subpoenas to determine the validity of the accusations.

Because of this, local prosecutors are finding themselves in the difficult position of having to make a case without the use of the federal court system.

Further, the investigation is complicated by Senator Reid’s efforts to confirm Senator Lee’s chief counsel as the U.S. attorney in Salt Lake City. The Washington Times explains, “That action — a Democratic Senate leader letting a Republican be named to a key prosecutor’s position in the Obama administration — raised many eyebrows and angered some Democrats.”

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