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CREW goes after Sessions

Add another name to the list of Texas Congressfolk who may find themselves in trouble with the Justice Department: Rep. Pete Sessions. The Lone Star Project has the details.

As the Lone Star Project predicted in January, questionable official actions by Congressman Pete Sessions are now the subject of a formal request for investigation by the U.S. Justice

Department. Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW), a highly respected nonpartisan ethics watchdog organization, has filed a request for a formal investigation with Attorney General Alberto Gonzales that details official actions taken by Pete Sessions that appear to be in exchange for contributions to his congressional reelection campaign account and his leadership PAC. In its letter to the Attorney General, CREW states, “Rep. Sessions’ contacts with entities tied to convicted lobbyist Jack Abramoff and official actions he has taken on behalf of those entities raise serious issues of potential criminal activity and undermine the credibility of Rep. Sessions’ office and the U.S. House of Representatives.” (read the CREW Press Release)

After disclosing Sessions’ activities to assist the Malaysian government and lobbyists affiliated with convicted felon Jack Abramoff, the Lone Star Project predicted earlier this year that Sessions’ actions would be called into question. The Lone Star Project report led to several major press stories about the growing scandal. The principle concerns of the Lone Star Project were included in the CREW complaint. (Read the Original LSP Report)

New Evidence Shows More Improper Relationships

The CREW complaint includes a newer and perhaps more damaging complaint involving Sessions promoting a multimillion dollar appropriation for a California defense contractor, Promia Inc., in exchange for tens of thousands of dollars of donations to his reelection campaign and leadership PAC. Sessions actions on behalf of Promia Inc. and the corporation’s assistance to Sessions bear all the markings of an illegal “quid pro quo.”

Sessions Assistance to California Defense Contractor Arranged by a Former Staffer and Convicted Felon

Sessions contact with Promia Inc. was arranged by former Sessions’ staffer Adrian Plesha. The CREW complaint reveals that Plesha is a convicted felon who most recently pled guilty to felony perjury charges. Detailing the contributions Sessions received in exchange for his official actions, the CREW complaint states:

Rep. Sessions has advocated publicly for Promia and the nearly $800,000 Navy research and development contract the company was awarded in May 2000… Rep. Sessions received contributions of $1,000 each — the maximum allowed by law — from eight Promia executives for his re-election campaign. Promia executives contributed more to Rep. Sessions’ campaign than to any other candidate in that election cycle… In total, Promia and its executives have contributed nearly $55,000 to Rep. Sessions and his PAC since 2000 — by far the largest contribution Promia has made to any Member of Congress.”

Read the CREW letter to Alberto Gonzalez

Read the CREW press release

See the CREW complaint exhibits

Read the original Lone Star Project Report

As Raw Story notes, unlike other CREW actions, this one went to the Justice Department instead of merely being a public announcement made in lieu of the ability to file an actual ethics complaint in Congress. We’ll see if Justice picks up the ball and runs with it.

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