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Two federal investigations released Wednesday found progressive Massachusetts-based U.S. attorney Rachael Rollins violated federal law by attending a Democratic event with First Lady Jill Biden and provided dirt on a candidate in a local election to the Boston Globe, one day after the Biden appointee resigned from her position.
A report released by the U.S. Office of Special Counsel found Rollins committed “among the most egregious transgressions” of the federal Hatch Act—which governs federal employees’ political activities—the office “has ever investigated,” including violations that threaten to “erode public confidence in the integrity of federal law enforcement actions.”
Rollins—who announced plans Tuesday to resign by the end of the week—allegedly violated the act by leaking sensitive DOJ material to the Globe about a potential federal investigation into then-interim Suffolk County District Attorney Kevin Hayden over “potential misconduct,” as Hayden was campaigning in the 2022 DA race—Rollins supported Hayden’s opponent Ricardo Arroyo, according to the report.
A separate report by the Department of Justice Office of the Inspector General found Rollins texted a Globe reporter saying her office did not know she was speaking with the outlet, and to attribute her comments as “sources close to the Rollins Administration.”
The OSC report alleges Rollins also violated the Hatch Act by attending a Democratic fundraiser in July 2022 with Jill Biden at a private home in the suburban town of Andover, Massachusetts, and later claimed on Twitter she had “approval” to attend, even though she never received it.
Rollins also received automatic monthly campaign contributions from her Suffolk County DA race, even after she was sworn in as a federal attorney, collecting nearly $600 from seven donors between January 2022 and September 2022, according to the report.
In a statement, Rollins’ attorney Michael Bromwich told Forbes both reports “need to be put in context,” and that most of the allegations against her “amount to minor process fouls,” adding even though she could have challenged the allegations, she decided the “better course” of action would be to step down “before it overwhelmed her office and DOJ.”
President Joe Biden nominated Rollins in July 2021, after she served as the first Black female district attorney in Suffolk County, which includes Boston and several other nearby cities. Rollins was narrowly confirmed five months later in a split Senate vote that came down to a tie-breaker by Vice President Kamala Harris. She has been heavily scrutinized by Senate Republicans during her time as the top federal prosecutor in Massachusetts, leading to demands led by Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) for a DOJ investigation into potential violations of the Hatch Act, including by attending a Democratic fundraiser and using a government vehicle to travel to the event.
Among Senate Republicans’ concerns was her previous pledge as the Suffolk County DA not to prosecute 15 crimes including shoplifting, resisting arrest and drug possession. Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) labeled her “radical” and urged senators not to confirm “prosecutors who endanger the very communities they’re supposed to serve.”
US attorney in Massachusetts leaked sensitive information to journalist to influence political campaign and lied under oath, federal reports say (CNN)