Massachusetts US Legal professional resigns over ethics scandal

Rachael Rollins, United States Attorney for the District of Massachusetts.

Jessica Rinaldi | Boston Globe | Getty Images

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

The Department of Justice’s internal regulator last year launched an investigation after US Attorney for Massachusetts Rachael Rollins attended a Democratic fundraiser with First Lady Jill Biden last July, despite warnings it would violate ethics guidelines .

“We have determined that Rollins’ conduct described in this report violates federal regulations, numerous Department of Justice policies, their ethics agreement and applicable law, and falls far short of the standards of professionalism and judgment that the Department should expect of any employee, let alone.” by a U.S. Attorney,” the DOJ’s Office of the Inspector General said in its report.

That 161-page report found that Rollins, who was appointed by President Biden, used her official position to support a Democratic colleague’s election efforts for the position of district attorney in Suffolk County.

Rollins gave journalists non-public, sensitive DOJ information “to create a public impression prior to the primary that the DOJ is or would be investigating (its opponent) for public corruption,” according to the IG office.

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

Rollins only admitted to being the source in later testimony after Rollins provided relevant text messages that definitively showed that Rollins had indeed been a source for the reporter and disclosed to him the internal DOJ rejection memorandum cited in the story had,” the report said.

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The alleged lie to investigators suggests Rollins could face criminal charges.

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

“Finally, we discovered that Rollins continued to accept political contributions to her DA campaign account in Suffolk after she was sworn in as a US Attorney,” the report reads.

“Because the contributions described in this section may be related to the Hatch Act, we have referred to our factual findings [the Office of Special Counsel] for its review and editing,” it added. Hatch law states that employees of the executive branch of the federal government may not solicit or accept political contributions.

A separate but related Office of Special Counsel report on Rollins said her numerous misconducts are “among the most egregious violations” of the Hatch Act ever investigated by the Office. The law prevented federal employees from using their office to influence an election.

“We hereby announce that Rachael Rollins, the US Attorney for the District of Massachusetts, has decided to resign as US Attorney. She will provide President Biden with a letter of resignation by close of business Friday,” Rollins said,” attorney Michael Bromwich said in a statement.

“Rachael has been deeply honored to serve as a U.S. Attorney for the past 16 months, and she is incredibly proud of all that her office has accomplished in this limited time, particularly in the areas of gun violence and civil rights,” said Bromwich.

“Once the dust settles and she resigns, Rachael will make herself available to answer questions. In the meantime, she is reminding the public of the extremely important work of the Office and thanking her colleagues for their service to the Commonwealth and our nation,” said Bromwich.

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 decisive vote by Vice President Kamala Harris.

Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Dick Durbin, D-Ill., said in a statement, “I am deeply concerned by Ms. Rollins’ wrongdoing, as detailed in the Inspector General’s and Special Counsel’s reports, and support her immediate resignation.”

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