Photo: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg News
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: October 31, 2016
Contact: Daniel Stevens, firstname.lastname@example.org, 202.780.5750
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Following FBI Director Jim Comey’s unprecedented decision to inform Congress that the FBI was re-opening the investigation into former State Department Secretary and presidential candidate Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server, Campaign for Accountability (CfA) filed a complaint with the FBI’s Office of Professional Responsibility (OPR). OPR is responsible for investigating allegations of misconduct within the Bureau.
CfA Executive Director Anne Weismann stated, “Director Comey has violated longstanding Justice Department policy and inserted himself directly into a hotly contested presidential election. OPR should investigate to determine if Comey – and FBI agents who have been leaking information to the press—are deliberately attempting to sway the outcome of the election.”
Director Comey informed Congress that the FBI is taking “investigative steps designed to allow investigators to review” apparently newly discovered emails that “appear to be pertinent” to the FBI’s investigation of former Secretary Clinton’s personal email server. Director Comey apparently sent the letter despite having been warned by senior DOJ officials that doing so would violate the Department’s longstanding policy of refraining from such actions so close to an election.
There have also been myriad leaks about other probes the FBI has undertaken that may have some connection to Secretary Clinton. Agents apparently disagree about the strength of the evidence the FBI has collected on the Clinton Foundation, which it purportedly is investigating for financial crimes or influence-peddling. Separately, it also has been reported that the FBI is investigating a matter involving Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe. Reports indicate the FBI field offices have pressed ahead despite prosecutors’ warnings that the cases are weak.
A 2012 memo from former Attorney General Eric Holder highlights the need to be “particularly sensitive to safeguarding the Department’s reputation for fairness, neutrality, and nonpartisanship” and warns against timing an investigation to affect any election. A number of former top DOJ officials on both sides of the aisle, including former Bush administration Attorney General Alberto Gonzales and Deputy Attorney General Larry Thompson, have reiterated this policy and condemned Director Comey’s actions.
Ms. Weismann continued, “the FBI consistently refuses to publicly confirm the existence of any investigation. The fact that this case involves a presidential candidate requires greater, not less discretion. The timing of Director Comey’s letter and the endless leaks undermine public confidence in the integrity of the FBI. OPR should immediately investigate.
CfA is nonprofit watchdog organization that uses research, litigation, and aggressive communications to expose misconduct and malfeasance in public life and hold those who act at the expense of the public good accountable for their actions.