Massachusetts federal prosecutor to resign amid ethics scandal – smashbrothers


Massachusetts federal prosecutor to resign amid ethics scandal – smashbrothers

United States Attorney for the District of Massachusetts Rachael Rollins.

Jessica Rinaldi | Boston Globe | Getty Images

The top federal prosecutor in Massachusetts will submit her resignation by the end of the week to President Joe Biden, her lawyer said Wednesday, after damning official reports found she had committed serious ethical misconduct.

The Department of Justice’s internal watchdog began a probe last year after U.S. Attorney for Massachusetts Rachael Rollins attended a Democratic fundraiser last July featuring first lady Jill Biden, despite advice that this would violate ethics guidelines.

“We found Rollins’s conduct described throughout this report violated federal regulations, numerous DOJ policies, her Ethics Agreement, and applicable law, and fell far short of the standards of professionalism and judgment that the Department should expect of any employee, much less a U.S. Attorney,” the DOJ Inspector General’s Office said in its report.

That 161-page report found Rollins, who was appointed as her state’s top federal prosecutor by President Biden, used her official position to try to help the election effort of a fellow Democrat for the Suffolk County district attorney position.

Rollins gave journalists non-public, sensitive DOJ information “to create the impression publicly, before the primary election, that DOJ was or would be investigating (his opponent) for public corruption,” according to the IG’s office.

The report found that Rollins lied under oath about that effort when asked about it by investigators.

“Rollins only admitted to being the source during subsequent testimony after Rollins produced relevant text messages, which definitively showed that Rollins had indeed been a source for the reporter and had disclosed to him the internal DOJ recusal memorandum quoted in the story, ” the report said.

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The alleged lie to investigators raises the possibility Rollins could be criminally prosecuted.

The report additionally found that Rollins violated ethics guidelines by accepting free tickets to a Boston Celtics basketball game.

“Finally, we found that Rollins continued to accept political contributions to her Suffolk D.A. campaign account after she was sworn in as U.S. Attorney,” the report said.

“Because the contributions described in this section potentially implicate the Hatch Act, we have referred our factual findings to [Office of Special Counsel] for its review and handling,” it added. The Hatch Act says that any employee of the executive branch of the federal government may not solicit or accept political contributions.

A separate but related report into Rollins by the Office of Special Counsel said that her multiple acts of misconduct “are among the most egregious transgressions” of the Hatch Act ever investigated by the office. The act bars covered federal employees from using their official office to affect an election.

“This is to announce that Rachael Rollins, the United States Attorney for the District of Massachusetts, has decided to resign her position as United States Attorney. She will be submitting a letter of resignation to President Biden by close of business on Friday,” Rollins’ lawyer, Michael Bromwich, said in a statement.

“Rachael has been profoundly honored to serve as U.S. Attorney over the past 16 months and is incredibly proud of all her office has accomplished during that limited time, especially in the areas of gun violence and civil rights,” Bromwich said.

“After the dust settles and she resigns, Rachael will make herself available to answer questions.  Until then, she reminds the public of the vitally important work the office does and thanks her colleagues for their service to the Commonwealth and our Nation,” Bromwich said.

Biden nominated Rollins for the role in July 2021. After months of delays, the Senate confirmed her in December of that year thanks to a tie-breaking vote from Vice President Kamala Harris.

Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Dick Durbin, D-Ill., in a statement said, “

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