FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
August 20, 2015
LINCOLN, Neb – The ACLU of Nebraska sent a letter to US Attorney Deborah Gilg asking her to open an investigation into Nebraska’s “ongoing efforts to obtain lethal injection drugs from a foreign source.” The letter, from ACLU of Nebraska Legal Director Amy Miller, lists multiple communications between state officials and federal authorities. The information comes from documents uncovered through a series of ACLU open records requests initiated between May and August 2015. According to the documents, federal authorities clearly informed Nebraska officials that federal law prohibits import of the drugs. The records include correspondence from the Food & Drug Administration and the Drug Enforcement Agency warning that lethal injection drugs paid for by the State of Nebraska cannot enter the country.
In May, the ACLU reported that Nebraska officials paid over $50,000 of taxpayer funds to India-based Harris Pharma for the drugs that have yet to be produced and are now months past initial assurances of their delivery date.
“The ACLU is committed to holding state officials accountable for their ongoing efforts to secure lethal injection drugs in violation of federal rules,” said ACLU of Nebraska Executive Director Danielle Conrad. “The documents provided by the State of Nebraska clearly show that state officials have been told repeatedly by federal authorities that there is no legal way to import the drugs yet they continue to repeat a suspect claim in various recent media reports that they are 'working with federal officials to secure the drugs'. The facts don't add up. Nebraska taxpayers deserve a straight answer. Additionally, these records show that despite clear warnings from federal officials state officials continue to work behind the scenes with the same sketchy foreign source that has failed to supply viable lethal injection drugs to Nebraska numerous times in the past. It is time to end this charade. Nebraska officials should request an immediate refund of over $50,000 of taxpayer funds they committed to this sketchy foreign source without doing any due diligence and should cease and desist from all future attempts to skirt federal rules. We are a nation of laws not men and there is no fixing our broken death penalty."