Rachel Rollins: U.S. attorney in Massachusetts leaked sensitive information and lied under oath, DOJ watchdog report says

(CNN) Rachael Rollins, the U.S. attorney for Massachusetts, leaked sensitive judicial information to a journalist in an attempt to influence a local election, lied to investigators and improperly attended a fundraiser with Jill Biden, according to two critical federal reports released Wednesday.

The reports come a day after Rollins’ lawyer said he plans to resign over the weekend.

DOJ Inspector General’s report outlines the allegations and that Rollins lied during an interview about the information he gave to the reporter. Those false statements sent charges to the Justice Department, which declined to bring charges.

A Separate reportThe special counsel’s office said Rollins violated the Hatch Act — which seeks to prevent the federal government from influencing elections or performing its functions in a discriminatory manner — by participating in fundraisers and leaking DOJ documents. Propaganda.

The violations were “one of the most egregious violations of law the OSC has ever investigated,” the special counsel’s report said.

Rollins’ attorney, Michael Bromwich, said in a statement to CNN on Wednesday that “most of the allegations are minor procedural errors.”

“While Ms. Rollins could have raised many facts and arguments regarding these issues, she had no desire to litigate further,” Bromwich said. “She believed the best course of action was to resign and end the matter before it overwhelmed her office and the DOJ.”

The Justice Department declined to comment.

Rollins will become the first black woman to lead the U.S. Attorney’s office for Massachusetts in January 2022.

Details of the report were leaked to the press

Rollins, according to the IG report, secretly spoke to reporters about interim Suffolk County District Attorney Kevin Hyden — Rollins’ successor. At the time, Hyden was campaigning in the Democratic primary to win the position permanently. Rollins supported Hayden’s opponent in the race, Ricardo Arroyo.

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Rollins, during his time as U.S. attorney, “before (The Boston) Globe published three articles … that Hayden’s handling of a police misconduct case that began during Rollins’ tenure as DA was criticized for being understaffed. The Suffolk DA’s office is responsible for handling police misconduct cases.” is,” the statement said.

In text messages cited in the report, Rollins told the Globe reporter, “We don’t know what we’re talking about,” and told the reporter that if you tell sources close to Rollins’ management, they can use the information he provided. “

After one of the articles was published, Rollins told Arroyo to send it to “everyone who gave your approval.”

In a later article, Rollins offered a Globe reporter “advice on where to look for more information” about Hayden.

After the articles were released, according to the report, Rollins and the assistant US attorney in his office discussed whether the information in the articles warranted the opening of a “public corruption investigation into the quid pro quo involving Hayden.”

In a text exchange, Arroyo asked Rollins about possible hearings, “Are you all announcing a hearing with Hayden?” Arroyo, who reportedly knew at the time that a negative story about him was about to be published, added, “It was the best thing that could have happened to me at this point.”

In response, Rollins told Arroyo to “fight and campaign” and “I’m working on something,” according to the report.

When Arroyo ultimately lost the election, Rollins texted him: “They’re not above the law. He’s going to regret what he did to you. Watch.”

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Although no investigation was initiated, Rollins attempted to recuse himself and the entire United States Attorney’s Office in Massachusetts from investigating the matter due to his previous position as Suffolk County District Attorney. This is reportedly not a common practice.

Rollins later texted a picture of the denial memo on his personal phone to a reporter, who then released it as evidence in an investigation into Hayden, according to the report.

The IG also found that Rollins provided non-public DOJ letters to reporters in two previous cases about ongoing civil rights investigations.

Jill Biden is a fundraiser

The report paints a grim picture of how Rollins appeared at a Democratic fundraiser in July 2022 when she showed up for the first lady. It said Rollins was “driven by a deputy in a state vehicle” from his office to a private home in Andover, Massachusetts, where the event was taking place.

After media reports raised questions about the appearance, Rollins took to Twitter to suggest he had “approval” to be there, saying he did not actually receive the necessary approval to attend the event, according to the report.

“(H)his visit was contrary to ethics advice he received prior to the event, which allowed Rollins to meet and greet Dr. Biden individually, but did not include approval from the Office of the Deputy Attorney General (ODAG) to attend the fundraiser,” the report said.

“In addition to the Hatch Act, Rollins should have recognized that going into a partisan political fundraiser would implicate significant DOJ policies.”

In interviews with the inspector general’s office, Rollins accused his staff of not properly communicating how he could have met with Biden at home without violating DOJ policies, which the report said were “attempts to frame him.” Employees are deeply concerned about his own ethical failings.”

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The report also found that Rollins violated ethical standards by soliciting 30 tickets. Boston Celtics game Accepting two tickets for local youth basketball players and using a DOJ employee’s time to coordinate the event after being instructed not to use office resources.

Campaign Contributions

The 155-page report alleges that even after Rollins was sworn in as U.S. attorney, she continued to receive contributions to a campaign account set up to run for Suffolk County district attorney.

“In total, Rollins received campaign contributions totaling $595.40 from seven different individuals between January 13, 2022 and September 21, 2022,” the report states. “Many of the contributions to Rollins’ account appeared to be automatic, regular monthly contributions to her campaign. Available information indicates that none of the donors had any connection to Rollins’ US Attorney’s office”.

According to the report, Rollins later “returned the contribution, turned off automatic payments to his account, and wrote individual letters to each of the seven donors explaining these actions.”

The inspector general’s office said it recommended a review of its findings regarding the Office of Special Counsel’s contributions because they “have the potential to implicate the Hatch Act.”

However, Rollins’ planned resignation brings an end to the Hatch Act-related disciplinary action.

This story has been updated with additional details.

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