Monday, January 29, 2007

AP: State Justice Department Hiding Millions in Government Contracts

By Chris Thompson
Mon, Jan 29, 2007 at 3:27 PM

The Associated Press has uncovered evidence that millions of dollars in contracts with the California Justice Department were improperly kept hidden from the public. These contracts include a $489,000 deal with a Washington lobbyist who worked for Congressman Vic Fazio, a longtime friend of former attorney general and old Hayward pol Bill Lockyer. In addition, the law firm Cotkin, Collins, and Ginsberg, which has donated money to Lockyer's political committees, received a $2 million contract, the details of which were illegally concealed from the public. The story reports that Lockyer's Justice Department has declared more than 1,700 contracts confidential since 2003, and the money involved exceeds $100 million. When challenged by the Associated Press, department officials reviewed 131 of these contracts, and were forced to admit that only twelve met the legal requirements to be hidden from public view. The report does not say if the remaining contracts will be reviewed; that's apparently up to new Attorney General Jerry Brown.

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