WASHINGTON - January 13 - Public Interest Groups to Call for Special Prosecutor to Launch Criminal Investigation of Attorney General John Ashcroft and His Political Committees in Campaign Finance Case
-- Groups Will Release Joint Letter to Justice Department
A coalition of public interest organizations will issue a letter to the U.S. Department of Justice on Thursday calling for the appointment of a special prosecutor to investigate potential criminal actions involving United States Attorney General John D. Ashcroft, his 2000 Senate campaign committee, and his leadership PAC.
The letter, based on newly released documents from the Federal Election Commission, will outline evidence that Attorney General Ashcroft knowingly accepted, during his 2000 Senate re-election campaign, a fundraising mailing list that was developed at a cost of $1.7 million. The letter will assert that this action constituted receipt of an illegal, excessive contribution of at least $255,000, in direct violation of federal campaign finance law. The letter will also charge that Ashcroft and his political committees engaged in a criminal conspiracy to cover up the illegal contribution.
According to FEC documents, Ashcroft claims that he -- and not his leadership PAC -- owns the fundraising list. The public interest groups' letter will argue that, if Ashcroft's claims are true, then Ashcroft has violated federal law by failing to disclose the fundraising list as an asset on his U.S. Senate financial disclosure forms and that there is probable cause to suspect that Ashcroft may have engaged in tax evasion, by failing to report the asset on his income tax filings before the Internal Revenue Service.
WHAT: News conference issuing the call for a special prosecutor
WHEN: Thursday, Jan. 15, 10 a.m.
WHERE: National Press Club, 529 14th Street, NW (Lisagor Room), Washington, D.C.
-- John Bonifaz, executive director, National Voting Rights Institute
-- Melanie Sloan, executive director, Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington
-- Nick Nyhart, executive director, Public Campaign Action Fund
-- Craig Holman, legislative representative, Public Citizen