Murkowski Urges Justice to Examine Allen Investigation
DOJ says it's listening
Senator Lisa Murkowski has been complaining for months. And now the U.S. Department of Justice says it is listening.
Federal government lawyers will do an internal review of their decision not to prosecute former Veco CEO Bill Allen for alleged sex-related crimes.
Allen, who pleaded guilty to bribing legislators, also was under suspicion of having sex with underage girls.
But Allen has never been charged with a sex crime, and juries in the public corruption trials never were told about the allegations.
Senator Murkowski has been dogging the Justice on the issue.
And now DOJ has agreed to review the handling of Allen to see if there was any misconduct by its attorneys.
Former Assistant District Attorney Hollis French says that's a significant turn of events.
"At this point, they're going to have to have a detailed, fact-based description for their actions. They're going to have to have a detailed, fact-based reason for their actions. That is, they've got a senator who's highly alert, bristling with interest, and they're going to have to satisfy her. And the public, at this point, because they've gone public with it."
Murkowski is getting kudos from the Anchorage Police Department, where officers were frustrated by the lack of prosecution.
"Here we have a senator interceding on behalf of victims here in Alaska with the Department of Justice in Washington. I appreciate that,” said department spokesman Lt. David Parker.
State prosecutors have said they could not proceed against Allen because the girls were at least 16 years old, contrary to some accounts, which would mean they had reached the age of consent in Alaska.
But the Alaska Department of Law did ask DOJ's permission to prosecute a federal crime -- under the Mann act -- because Allen allegedly transported a minor girl from Seattle to Anchorage to have sex.
DOJ said no.
And Cliff Groh, a former prosecutor who has been blogging about the public corruption probe for years, does not believe Allen ever will be charged or that anything will come out of the review by DOJ’s office of professional responsibility.
"It has been traditionally known in Washington, D.C., for a number of years that that particular unit -- which is the internal ethics or watchdog unit of the department of justice -- was frequently known as the graveyard for investigation of department of justice alleged errors, misconduct, malfeasance."
DOJ has opened the door a crack.
But it remains to be seen if Murkowski can force it all the way open.