POGO Sends Letters to Sessions and Town Calling for Recusal

POGO Asks Attorney General Sessions and Just-Confirmed US Attorney Town to Recuse Themselves from Major Alabama Bribery Scandal

Jeff Sessions

(Photo: Gage Skidmore / Flickr)

(Washington, D.C.)—Today, POGO Executive Director Danielle Brian sent letters to Attorney General Jeff Sessions and US Attorney Jay Town calling on them to recuse themselves from any and all involvement in the ongoing investigation related to the public corruption case involving a Birmingham Superfund site.

Last week, the Project On Government Oversight (POGO) released a report that raises questions about connections of Attorney General Jeff Sessions, Senator Luther Strange (R-AL) and other officials in Alabama to parties involved in a major bribery scandal, part of an alleged scheme to block the expansion of a heavily polluted Birmingham Superfund site.

The report found that both Sessions and Strange, who was appointed to fill Sessions’ Senate seat, have deep connections to Alabama coal giant, Drummond Co., and its law firm, Balch & Bingham. According to the Justice Department, employees for the two entities were responsible for $360,000 in bribes to an Alabama state lawmaker.

Last night, President Trump tweeted his support for Senator Strange who is facing a tough primary election next week. Opponents in the Republican primary have linked Senator Strange to the public corruption investigation.

The investigation into public corruption is ongoing, and the office conducting the investigation is now led by the new US Attorney for the Northern District of Alabama Jay Town.

Town was confirmed by the Senate last week without any public hearings. His nomination as US Attorney Town was strongly supported by three key officials--Attorney General Jeff Sessions, Senator Luther Strange, and Senator Richard Shelby--all of whom have deep professional and political ties to Drummond and Balch.

According to Justice Department regulations, “...no employee shall participate in a criminal investigation or prosecution if he has a personal or political relationship with…Any person or organization substantially involved in the conduct that is the subject of the investigation or prosecution.”

“Taken together, the tangle of financial and political ties involving Sessions, Strange, and Town on one side, and the firms and individuals reportedly under investigation in the bribery scandal on the other, create a rat’s nest of conflicted interests,” POGO’s report says.

Read the letter to Attorney General Jeff Sessions

Read the letter to US Attorney Jay Town

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Founded in 1981, the Project On Government Oversight (POGO) is a nonpartisan independent watchdog that champions good government reforms. POGO’s investigations into corruption, misconduct, and conflicts of interest achieve a more effective, accountable, open, and ethical federal government.

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