Congressman asks DOJ to investigate former Gov. Phil Bryant

Published 10:00 am Monday, July 18, 2022

(AP) — Mississippi Congressman Bennie Thompson asked the Department of Justice on Friday to investigate former Gov. Phil Bryant in connection with a welfare fraud case.

A defendant in the case said in a court document, filed earlier this week, that she directed $1.1 million in welfare money to former NFL star Brett Favre at the direction of Bryant. The former governor has denied the accusations.

“The people of Mississippi deserve answers, and accountability for breaking the law must be upheld for all who were involved: especially for Governor Bryant,” U.S. Rep. Thompson wrote in a letter to the Department of Justice, which was obtained by WJTV.

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Earlier this week, Mississippi news outlets reported that the accusation is in a filing on behalf of defendant Nancy New, who, with her son, once ran a nonprofit group and an education company in Mississippi.

After pleading guilty in April to criminal charges, Nancy New, 69, and her son Zachary New, 39, agreed to testify against others in what the state auditor has called Mississippi’s largest public corruption case in the past two decades.

In the 29-page court filing, which was dated Monday, New’s attorneys say she was acting at the direction of Mississippi Department of Human Services officials in the awarding of various contracts and allocation of funds. New specifically mentions Bryant regarding $1.1 million in money paid to Favre “in consideration for Favre speaking at events, keynote speaking, radio and promotional events, and business partner development.”

A spokesperson for the former governor released a statement denying the accusations, according to WAPT-TV.

“These allegations made against Gov. Bryant are false. Every claim against these individuals was discovered and prosecuted as a result of an investigation Gov. Bryant requested of the state auditor,” the statement said.

The state auditor has demanded repayment of $77 million of misspent welfare funds, including the $1.1 million paid to the retired NFL quarterback.

Favre has not been charged with any criminal wrongdoing and has repaid the money. He has said that he didn’t know the money he received came from welfare funds, and has denied the auditor’s allegations that he was paid for events he didn’t attend. Favre also said his charity had provided millions of dollars to poor children in Mississippi, where he lives, and Wisconsin, where he was a star with the Green Bay Packers.