DOJ antitrust division criticized

The full text of a proposed rider to a Justice Department appropriations bill that criticizes the agency's antitrust division.

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The following is a proposed rider to a Justice Department appropriations bill that criticizes the agency's antitrust division. The rider will be marked up on June 23 before the Subcommittee on Commerce, Justice, State, and Judiciary Appropriations.

The Committee is concerned that the Antitrust Division is expending funds for improper public relations activities in connection with its investigation of the software industry. The Committee notes that the Department of Justice Manual specifically directs that "out-of-court statements regarding investigations, indictments, ongoing litigation, and other activities should be minimal...." Furthermore,"because charges that result in indictment or a civil action should be argued and proved in court, and not in a newspaper or broadcast, public comment on such charges should be limited out of fairness to the rights of individuals and corporations and to minimize the possibility of prejudicial pre-trial publicity." The Committee urges the Antitrust Division to conduct its business on all matters, whether pertinent to an investigation or a trial, in a manner consistent with its own manual. Specifically, the Committee urges the Antitrust Division to take special care to not make public statements or release any evidence in its possession, as these practices have the explicit effect of creating "prejudical pre-trial publicity."

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