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Republicans Protest Planned Purchase of Illinois Prison

Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell joined fellow Republicans today in opposing the purchase of an Illinois prison by the Department of Justice.

"The entire Thomson facility will house only [Bureau of Prisons] federal inmates, and will be operated solely by the Bureau. As you know, any transfer of Guantanamo detainees to the United States would be prohibited by statute," Holder wrote. "Thomson represents a solution to the safety needs of the Bureau; it is unrelated to Guantanamo."

Wolf contends the purchase amounts to an earmark because of Durbin's request, even though the funds will be expended by administration directive.

"President Obama's unprecedented directive to Attorney General Holder to circumvent Congress to purchase Thomson prison is deeply troubling," Wolf said. "It directly violates the clear objection of the House Appropriations Committee and goes against the bipartisan objections of members in the House and Senate, who have noted that approving this request would allow Thomson to take precedence over previously funded prisons in Alabama, Mississippi, West Virginia and New Hampshire."

Wolf's Senate counterpart, Sen. Barbara Mikulski (D-Md.), has supported the project.

Holder said the $165 million for the prison facility would come from several Justice Department accounts, with the vast majority from the Asset Forfeiture Fund.

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