A U.S. attorney lied about helping a Democrat candidate in a contested primary, a watchdog reported in a new report.
U.S. Attorney for the District of Massachusetts Rachael Rollins, a Biden appointee, helped Ricardo Arroyo win the 2022 Democrat primary for Suffolk County district attorney, the Office of Inspector General for the U.S. Department of Justice said in the May 17 report.
Rollins, who was district attorney before becoming a U.S. attorney, provided Arroyo with “campaign advice and direction” in addition to coordinating with him on activities to help his campaign, investigators found.
That included providing the Boston Globe with negative information about interim District Attorney Kevin Hayden, Arroyo’s Democrat opponent, and cited the Globe articles in internal discussions about possibly launching an investigation into Hayden. Rollins also indicated to a reporter that her office might be opening an investigation into the interim district attorney over potential misconduct and urged the reporter to “KEEP DIGGING.” She messaged Arroyo regarding a potential probe, telling him that “I’m working on something.”
Rollins exchanged more than 380 messages with Arroyo leading up to the primary, including some in which she criticized Hayden.
In others, Rollins gave campaign advice.
“DO not let him slide on this,” she said in one message after the Boston Globe reported that black people were pulled over at a higher rate than white people in Boston. “He need[s] to be asked at the next forum, did you read the report yet? What are you doing about it?” She also offered to speak to a reporter after a story outlined allegations of sexual assault against Arroyo.
Rollins also suggested Arroyo respond to the story, after it came out, by claiming that Hayden was likely being investigated by federal authorities.
“I am confident that the voters will see his attempted smear campaign as exactly what it is—a desperate attempt by a man about to lose his job,” one part of the proposed statement said.
Rollins told investigators that Arroyo is her friend and that she “just didn’t know Kevin Hayden.” She claimed she did not give him campaign advice.
Investigators also found Rollins disclosed non-public Department of Justice information to two reporters, asked for and received free tickets to a Boston Celtics game, two of which she used with a friend; and received non-federal payment for travel expenses on two separate occasions.
Rollins lied multiple times to investigators, including falsely stating she was not a source for a Boston Herald story, the Office of Inspector General said. The lies violated federal law that prohibits people from making “any materially false, fictitious, or fraudulent statement or representation” in matters within the jurisdiction of the U.S. government. Violators can receive up to eight years in prison.
Rollins also violated the Hatch Act, which limits the political activities of federal officials, the watchdog said.
The White House referred a request for comment to the Department of Justice (DOJ). The DOJ and a lawyer representing Rollins did not return inquiries.
The watchdog interviewed 18 Department of Justice employees, including Rollins, and several other people. Investigators also reviewed documents, emails, phone records, texts, and encrypted messages. They asked to image Rollins’ personal cell phone, which she used to conduct official business, but Rollins declined. She instead provided certain communications from the phone.
The U.S. Office of Special Counsel is investigating Rollins over the Hatch Act. The office will report its findings at a later date.
Rollins is going to resign, Michael Bromwich, her lawyer, told news outlets before the report was published.
“She is optimistic that the important work she started will continue but understands that her presence has become a distraction,” Bromwich, a former DOJ inspector general, said. “The work of the office and the Department of Justice is far too important to be overshadowed by anything else.”
Rollins emerged from a tough confirmation battle during which critics noted that she didn’t prosecute a number of offenses while Suffolk County district attorney. In one memorandum shortly after taking office, Rollins directed staff on a list of 15 offenses that she said, “should be declined or dismissed pre-arraignment without conditions.”
Vice President Kamala Harris was forced to break a tie in Rollins’ Senate confirmation vote. All Democrats voted for Rollins and all Republicans voted against her.
Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.), one of the critics, said in a statement: “I warned Democratic senators that Rachael Rollins wasn’t only a pro-criminal ideologue, but also had a history of poor judgment and ethical lapses. Now that she has resigned in disgrace, the Senate should turn its attention to the corrupt, pro-criminal ideologues at the highest ranks of the Department of Justice.”
Sens. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) and Edward Markey (D-Mass.), who both supported Rollins, said in a joint statement: “Rachael Rollins has for years dedicated herself to the people of Massachusetts and equal justice under the law. We will respect her decision.”
From The Epoch Times