Veteran Virginia Republican Rep. Frank Wolf's rejection of the Justice Department's latest bid to purchase the unused Thomson prison in western Illinois has drawn the ire of two leading Illinois Democrats, who accused the congressman of sacrificing jobs over politics, reports the Chicago Tribune. Wolf, a powerful lawmaker who chairs the House Appropriations subcommittee that oversees the federal Bureau of Prisons, said he was “unequivocally” rejecting a request to redirect $165 million from other programs to purchase Thomson from the state. He previously rejected a similar effort.
In a letter to Attorney General Eric Holder, Wolf said he didn't trust President Barack Obama's administration when it pledged it would not use the prison to house suspected terrorists from Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. A federal law already prohibits bringing terrorist detainees to U.S. soil. Sen. Dick Durbin, Illinois' senior senator and the second-ranking Democrat in leadership, said Wolf's latest rejection of the downstate Thomson prison purchase “reflects tortured logic and his personal feelings about the president and his attorney general.”