House hearing criticizes DOJ over alleged "quid pro quo" declination of HUD case

by Ben Vernia | May 7th, 2013

On May 7, the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform held a contentious hearing on allegations that DOJ Civil Rights Division Assistant Attorney General and Labor Secretary nominee Thomas Perez had brokered a “quid pro quo” under which the Civil Division would decline to intervene in two qui tam cases involving the city of St. Paul, Minnesota’s compliance with Section 3 grant requirements of HUD, and in exchange the city would dismiss a civil rights case then pending before the U.S. Supreme Court.

Testifying before the Committee were Senators Charles Grassley (IA) and Jonny Isakson (GA), on of the case’s whistleblower, Fredrick Newell, and False Claims Act practitioner Shelley Slade.

Ben Vernia of The Vernia Law Firm, NYU Professor and legal ethics expert Stephen Gillers, and Gary Azorsky and Jeanne Markey, at Cohen Milstein Sellers & Toll, PLLC provided letters in support of the propriety of the Department of Justice’s decision-making process in the case.

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