Disciplinary Panel Finds Former DOJ Official Jeff Clark Violated Bar Rules

Disciplinary Panel Finds Former DOJ Official Jeff Clark Violated Bar Rules
Former U.S. Assistant Attorney General Jeffrey Clark at the District of Columbia Court of Appeals in Washington on April 3, 2024. (Madalina Vasiliu/The Epoch Times)

WASHINGTON—A disciplinary panel on April 4 found that former Department of Justice (DOJ) official Jeff Clark violated bar rules in his actions to contest the 2020 election results.

After six days of testimony, the three-member panel found that Mr. Clark had violated at least one of the disciplinary rules he was charged with. The decision, the panel emphasized, was made on a preliminary and “non-binding basis.”

Mr. Clark was charged by D.C. bar authorities with violating two professional rules: attempting to engage in dishonest conduct and attempting to interfere with the administration of justice. The disciplinary charges stem from a letter Mr. Clark had written contesting the election results in Georgia.

He faces sanctions and possible disbarment. In Georgia, Mr. Clark is also defending against criminal racketeering charges in connection with the 2020 election brought by Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis.

Disciplinary counsel Hamilton Fox III accused Mr. Clark of “asserting facts for which there is no basis,” in a draft letter he wrote following the 2020 presidential election. The letter, marked “proof-of-concept,” called on Georgia’s election officials to convene a special session to deal with alleged fraud and irregularities following the 2020 election.

The letter also said the Department of Justice was investigating claims of election “irregularities,” a point of confusion and dispute that repeatedly arose during the hearing.

Witnesses testified that Attorney General William Barr had said the DOJ had no federal role in investigating the elections but sent out a guidance memo the same day to U.S. state attorneys telling them to look into any allegations.

Former Deputy Attorney General Richard Donoghue said the DOJ had examined allegations of election fraud but that they were either false or so minor as to have no impact on the final results. He also made a distinction between fraud—criminal activity—and mere “irregularities,” which he said were outside the DOJ’s purview. When asked, Mr. Donoghue said he had no intention of pursuing claims of non-criminal, or non-civil rights irregularities, “regardless of what quantity.”

Mr. Fox also accused Mr. Clark of “usurping” and “misusing” the authority of the Department of Justice, when then-acting Attorney General Jeffrey Rosen refused to send the letter. Mr. Clark had confronted Mr. Rosen and his deputy Mr. Donoghue, saying that President Donald Trump had offered Mr. Clark the attorney general role, but that he would turn it down if they agreed to send the letter. They refused.

After Mr. Clark informed them he had accepted the position, Mr. Rosen, Mr. Donoghue, and several other high-ranking members of the DOJ met with President Trump and Mr. Clark in a hotly-contested discussion at the Oval Office on Jan. 3, 2021. The DOJ officials threatened to resign unless the president reversed course. President Trump backed down, Mr. Rosen remained acting attorney general, and the letter remained unsent. It was later leaked to The New York Times.

Harry MacDougal, Mr. Clark’s attorney, pointed out that if he had truly wanted to usurp Mr. Rosen’s authority, he could have ordered the letter to be sent during the few hours that he was acting Attorney General. He also drew attention to Mr. Clark’s submission to President Trump’s decision, and his silence on the letter following the Jan. 3 meeting.

The panel has yet to make a final decision on the charges and sanctions, a process that could take as long as six months. The panel will then submit a report and recommendations, which can be appealed to the D.C. Court of Appeals. Mr. Clark’s attorney said they would appeal the decision.

From The Epoch Times

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