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The Spokesman-Review Newspaper
Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

U.S. attorney cleared in RPS case

Federal office determines McDevitt acted properly

The office that investigates possible misconduct by U.S. attorneys has cleared Eastern Washington’s federal prosecutor of allegations leveled against him last year surrounding River Park Square.

H. Marshall Jarrett, head of the Justice Department’s Office of Professional Responsibility, said U.S. Attorney James McDevitt disclosed “all relevant information” regarding his former firm’s connection to the mall project. There is no evidence that McDevitt interfered with any possible investigation into the mall’s financing, he added.

“We are taking no further action in this matter, which we consider to be closed,” Jarrett wrote to former City Councilwoman Cherie Rodgers and to Tim Connor, a former staff member of Camas Magazine, a Web site that features stories about the mall controversy.

Jarrett’s determination that McDevitt properly disclosed his connection to a firm involved in the mall’s litigation and did not block any potential criminal investigation was echoed last week by federal attorneys from Western Washington, who separately looked at allegations surrounding River Park Square raised by Rodgers, Connor and others.

McDevitt declined Wednesday to comment on the decision, other than to say “I think OPR speaks for itself.”

Connor said Wednesday he was continuing to pursue aspects of the complaint by filing a request under the federal Freedom of Information Act for the documents McDevitt supplied the Justice Department before his confirmation.

“I still don’t know what they knew, and I still don’t know what he disclosed,” Connor said. “I’d like to know who knew what when.”

The decision closing the inquiry by the Office of Professional Responsibility was reached in July, but sent only to McDevitt, Rodgers and Connor. McDevitt released a copy this week after receiving a request from The Spokesman-Review.

Connor reported in Camas Magazine in December that he and Rodgers had contacted the Office of Professional Responsibility about their belief McDevitt did not disclose his connections to the mall. As of Wednesday afternoon, however, the Web site had not reported that the Office of Public Responsibility dismissed the complaint.

Among the hundreds of pages of River Park Square documents on the Web site is a seven-page letter Connor and Rodgers wrote to McDevitt, and also sent to then-U.S. Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, in August 2007; it did not have a copy of the one-page letter clearing the federal prosecutor of their allegations.

Connor said he is no longer on staff at Camas and didn’t provide publisher Larry Shook with a copy because “it wasn’t any of Camas’ business.”

“The process is confidential, and the public doesn’t have a right to know,” Connor said.