Six Democratic congressmen have asked the U.S. attorney general to review the contract that would place the New Jersey Lottery in private hands.

The lawmakers want to know if a $120 million payment violates a 2008 Justice Department opinion which said a state should not receive any upfront payments to prevent corruption or the appearance of corruption.

The state Treasury Department last week announced it intended to award a 15-year sales and marketing contract to a joint venture to run the nation's eighth largest state lottery.

Northstar New Jersey Lottery Group agreed to pay $120 million upon signing.

The Treasury Department told The Record newspaper in a statement that the state attorney general's office and outside legal specialists reviewed the deal. The department believes it is valid.

Copyright 2013 The Associated Press.