Feds reeling in Mollohan's organizations, report says

By Ann Knef | May 18, 2006

Alan Mollohan

Organizations with ties to West Virginia Congressman Alan Mollohan have been subpoenaed by the U.S. Attorney for the District of Columbia.

According to a May 17 report in the Charleston Daily Mail, a West Virginia nonprofit organization has submitted documents related to a 500-page complaint the National Legal and Policy Center filed against Mollohan in February for ethics violations.

Citing an anonymous source, the article states that all together, between 25 and 30 organizations have received subpoenas.

"The source said a rental van with about 160 cartons of documents was sent from the I-79 Technology Park to the U.S. Attorney's office last week and another van full of documents is expected to be sent this week," the article states.

Mollohan, who was the ranking Democrat on the House Ethics Committee, is under investigation for his personal financial situation.

He's in trouble over targeted earmarking of approximately $250 million in pork projects to nonprofit groups he helped establish, as well as the possibility that he hid assets on congressional financial disclosure statements.

"More than two dozen organizations in north central West Virginia with ties to Rep. Alan Mollohan reportedly have been subpoenaed, and one nonprofit has reportedly shipped 160 cartons of documents to the U.S. Attorney," the Daily Mail report stated.

Jim Estep, the head of West Virginia High Technology Consortium, which Mollohan created, and the nonprofit Institute for Scientific Research, which Mollohan "inspired," was interviewed by the newspaper. He said he "welcomed" the investigation because his organizations, which merged this year, have done nothing improper.

Estep, who has hired the law firm Steptoe and Johnson, would neither confirm nor deny that subpoenas had been issued, according to the article.

"I believe that subpoenas are inevitable, and it is my intention to provide anything and everything I can to them to demonstrate fully that the complaint filed by the NLPC is nothing more than a witch hunt," Estep stated in the article.

The National Legal and Policy Center's complaint has not been made public.

Mollohan, a Fairmont Democrat, claims his troubles are the result of a partisan political attack and that he has done nothing improper.

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