The office of another Villanueva critic, Los Angeles District Attorney George Gascón, released a statement Wednesday evening distancing itself from the search warrant, saying “we have no intention of defending it. if it is challenged in court”.
Attempts to reach Washington for comment at the Denver airport, which he now runs, were unsuccessful. The FAA referred questions to the White House, which did not respond to a request for comment.
Senator from Mississippi. Roger Osiertop Republican on the Senate Commerce Committee, called on Wednesday for scrutiny of Washington’s nomination in light of the investigation. Wicker said he was “deeply disturbed to learn that the candidate has been named in a search warrant that links him to corruption allegations at LA Metro.”
“I anticipate that the credibility of this nominee will also be a key focus of the committee,” Wicker said in a statement. A spokesperson for Wicker’s personal office and the committee did not respond to further requests for comment.
Washington is waiting for a markup in the committee from Biden appointed him in July.
Among other things, the warrant alleges, based on anonymous witnesses, that Washington was directly involved in awarding a sole-source contract in 2017 to the nonprofit organization Peace Over Violence, an agreement that a witness says he pushed to stay in Kuehl’s “good graces”. He also alleges that Washington charged for the contract from a fund normally used for office supplies, which reduce expenditure control.
Kuehl denied wrongdoing and suggested the investigation was politically motivated and that the witness who aired the allegations implicating Washington is a disgruntled former employee.
In its statement Wednesday, the prosecutor’s office said it had reviewed and dismissed Villanueva’s office’s allegation in 2021 because “the state of the evidence at the time did not prove criminal conduct beyond any reasonable doubt”. The district attorney’s office further said it had no knowledge of the warrant because it had not reviewed the document.
Alex Nieves contributed to this report.