Sullivan Wins Amendment to Let States Prosecute Mann Act

Sen. Dan Sullivan added an amendment to the human trafficking bill the U.S. Senate passed today. Sullivan says it addresses a problem he faced as Alaska’s Attorney General.

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“The key goal of this amendment is to enable the resources and cooperation between state and federal prosecutors to ensure all cases of human trafficking are pursued and victims have justice,” he said on the Senate floor.

In 2010, the U.S. Justice Department decided it would not pursue charges against Veco founder Bill Allen for allegedly having sex with underage girls. Sullivan says the feds also refused his request to let state prosecutors press charges under the federal Mann Act, which makes it a crime to transport people across state lines for illicit sex.  The amendment Sullivan added to the Senate bill today says the U.S. Attorney General has to grant requests to cross-designate state prosecutors to handle Mann Act charges, or to explain why that would undermine the administration of justice.

Bill Allen, once a big contributor to primarily Republican candidates in Alaska, was the government’s key witness in the prosecution of Sen. Ted Stevens on corruption charges. Allen served nearly two years behind bars for bribery and other crimes. He finished his probation last year. It’s unclear whether Allen could still face charges under the Mann Act.

Sullivan’s amendment was passed by voice vote. The human trafficking bill passed 99 to 0.