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U.S. Attorney in Massachusetts leaked information to the press and lied to investigators, DOJ watchdog says

Rachael Rollins, a Biden appointee, will resign on Friday, her lawyer said.
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Rachael Rollins, President Joe Biden’s appointee as U.S. attorney for Massachusetts, will resign her job in the wake of a Justice Department report accusing her of misconduct and lying to investigators, her lawyer says.

In a 155-page report made public Wednesday, the DOJ’s inspector general found that Rollins:

  • used her position to try to help a candidate for district attorney “in an ultimately unsuccessful effort to create the impression publicly, before the primary election, that DOJ was or would be investigating (the candidate’s opponent) for public corruption.” 
  • falsely testified about that episode under oath to federal investigators, acknowledging her role only after being confronted with text messages proving it.
  • violated ethics rules by accepting free tickets to a Boston Celtics game.
  • accepted political contributions to her campaign account after she was sworn in as U.S. attorney, a potential violation of the law prohibiting federal officials from engaging in partisan politics that the IG referred to the Office of Special Counsel.
  • disregarded ethics advice and attended a July 14, 2022, Democratic Party fundraiser featuring first lady Jill Biden.

“We believe that Rollins’s actions fell short of the standards of professionalism, judgment, and impartiality that the Department should expect of a U.S. Attorney,” the report said.

“She will be submitting a letter of resignation to President Biden by close of business on Friday,” her attorney, Michael Bromwich, said in a statement that did not address the inspector general's findings.

The statement added that Rollins “understands that her presence has become a distraction.”

“After the dust settles and she resigns, Rachael will make herself available to answer questions,” Bromwich said.

Also Wednesday, the independent Office of Special Counsel released its own report, concluding that Rollins violated the Hatch Act by leaking DOJ information about the district attorney candidate she opposed and attending the July 22 Democratic National Committee fundraiser in her official capacity.

The Hatch Act bars federal employees from using their official capacities to affect or interfere with elections.

“Ms. Rollins’s conduct in leaking non‐public DOJ information constitutes an extraordinary abuse of her authority and threatens to erode public confidence in the integrity of federal law enforcement actions,” the report said. 

Before becoming the top federal prosecutor in Boston, Rollins was the local district attorney there, where she pursued a policy not to prosecute low-level crimes, including shoplifting.

She was the first Black woman to become U.S. attorney for Massachusetts.

Massachusetts Democratic Sens. Ed Markey and Elizabeth Warren, who had pushed for Rollins to be nominated to the post, said in a joint statement that they will respect her decision to step down.

“Rachael Rollins has for years dedicated herself to the people of Massachusetts and equal justice under the law,” they said.