Nathan wants judge to review disputed documents
The D.C. attorney general wants a federal judge to decide whether federal prosecutors can examine documents relating to a $7.5 million settlement between the District and its former Medicaid contractor.
Thursday’s offer from Attorney General Irvin B. Nathan came a day after U.S. Attorney Ronald C. Machen Jr. took the rare step of publicly criticizing Mr. Nathan for refusing to turn over the documents.
Mr. Nathan claims they are protected by attorney-client privilege and that they contain nothing incriminating.
Federal prosecutors are looking into the settlement as part of their wide-ranging investigation of corruption in city politics.
The District’s former Medicaid contractor, Jeffrey E. Thompson, is the subject of a grand jury investigation, according to court documents.
Mr. Thompson, who has not been charged with a crime, is suspected of funneling $653,000 in illicit funds into Mayor Vincent C. Gray’s 2010 campaign.
While he is not named in court documents as the suspected source of the funds, he has been identified in open court and by attorneys for his associates. Several of his associates have pleaded guilty to felonies — some for their involvement in what prosecutors called the “shadow campaign” for Mr. Gray, others for making straw contributions on Mr. Thompson’s behalf to candidates for local and federal office.
In April 2011, less than four months after Mr. Gray took office, Mr. Thompson informed the city’s Department of Health Care Finance that his firm had not been adequately reimbursed for the rates it was paying to children’s dental providers.
The department reviewed the claim and determined that the rates were too high, director Wayne Turnage said. Mr. Thompson agreed to settle for $7.5 million and drop a pending lawsuit.
Mr. Nathan, who was appointed by Mr. Gray, said in a letter to Mr. Machen that his office has already produced nearly 20,000 documents related to the federal investigation of Mr. Gray’s 2010 campaign.
He said that there was no wrongdoing in the settlement with Mr. Thompson’s now-defunct D.C. Chartered Health Plan, and that the documents Mr. Machen is seeking are routine communications that are protected by attorney-client and other legal privileges.
Mr. Nathan said he would voluntarily release the documents if prosecutors can “show or describe … a single scintilla of evidence that any person in the District government committed or facilitated an arguably illegal act in connection with the district’s 2011 settlement with Chartered.”
Mr. Nathan offered to turn over the disputed documents to the chief judge of the city’s U.S. District Court, who would review them to determine whether attorney-client privilege applies. He said it was his third offer to resolve the dispute over the documents.
Mr. Machen’s office did not immediately respond to the proposal.
D.C. Attorney General Irvin B. Nathan says documents relating to a $7.5 million settlement between the District and its Medicaid contractor are protected by attorney-client privilege.