A George W. Bush U.S. Attorney who is the Republican nominee for a House seat in northeast Pennsylvania said he didn’t know about an internal Justice Department probe into his decision to be a business reference for a man under investigation by federal prosecutors, The Scranton Times-Tribune reported Tuesday.
Former U.S. Attorney Tom Marino of the Middle District of Pennsylvania told the newspaper’s editorial board that he “would certainly be one of the first ones to know” if he was under investigation by the DOJ Office of Professional Responsibility for serving as a business reference for Louis DeNaples, who sought a casino license. Marino resigned during the 2007 DOJ probe, according to the Allentown Morning Call, which first reported the investigation.
Marino told a radio station in April that the DOJ permitted him to be a reference for DeNaples. But he later said he did not obtain written permission from the DOJ to serve as a reference.
Rep. Chris Carney (D-Pa.), who is running against Marino, has made the former U.S. Attorney’s business reference a major campaign issue. The House member has questioned Marino’s honesty in campaign ads.
The former U.S. Attorney refused to go into detail about himself and DeNaples, who hired Marino as a lawyer for DeNaples Management following his resignation, according to The Scranton Times-Tribune. Marino told the newspaper that allegations swirling around the business reference are “a pack of lies.”
“I’m a decorated U.S. Attorney,” Marino said, according to The Scranton Times-Tribune. “I left that office with distinction. There was nothing unethical or illegal. I was asked to stay. I prosecuted cases myself, and we did a great job. We were rated as one of the best offices around. So I’m not chasing lies.”