AP

Watchdog probing Massachusetts US attorney’s fundraiser trip

Aug 31, 2022, 9:48 AM | Updated: 1:08 pm

BOSTON (AP) — A watchdog agency is investigating whether Massachusetts’ top federal prosecutor violated a law that limits political activity by government workers for attending a political fundraiser that featured First Lady Jill Biden, according to an email reviewed by The Associated Press.

The U.S. Office of Special Counsel said in the email last week that it has opened an investigation into a potential violation of the law known as the Hatch Act after Republican Sen. Tom Cotton raised concerns over U.S. Attorney Rachael Rollins’ attendance at a July Democratic National Committee fundraiser in Andover.

A spokesperson for Rollins declined to comment on Wednesday. The Massachusetts U.S. attorney wrote on Twitter after the Boston Herald reported that she attended the July fundraiser in Andover that she “had approval to meet Dr. Biden” and left early to speak at two community events.

The investigation was first reported by Reuters.

Cotton, a fierce critic of Rollins who had sought to block her confirmation, wrote a letter to the inspector general of the Department of Justice in July asking for an investigation into whether the U.S. attorney’s actions violated the law.

The Hatch Act aims to curb the influence of partisan politics in the operation of government agencies regardless of which party is in office, although an Office of Special Counsel report last year said that Trump administration officials repeatedly violated the law without consequence.

In the case of Senate-confirmed presidential appointees — like U.S. attorneys — the watchdog submits a report to the president and it’s up to the president to discipline them if there was a violation.

On Tuesday, Attorney General Merrick Garland said in a memo to employees that the Justice Department will no longer allow political appointees to go to fundraisers and other campaign events.

Previous longstanding policy had allowed them to attend political events “in their personal capacities if they participated passively and obtained prior approval,” the memo said.

Garland said the restrictions are to ensure that politics “both in fact and appearance” won’t affect the way the law is enforced or how inquiries are carried out.

Rollins, the first Black woman to serve as U.S. attorney in Massachusetts, previously served as the top prosecutor for Suffolk County, which includes Boston.

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

AP

deadly heat wave last summer...

Associated Press

After a deadly heat wave last summer, metro Phoenix is changing tactics

Fresh memories of the deadly heat wave last summer have led Arizona authorities to launch new tactics ahead of summer 2024.

2 days ago

A Yuma man has been arrested for allegedly starting a wildfire in a national wildlife preserve near...

Associated Press

Man accused of starting wildfire in national wildlife preserve in Yuma

A Yuma man has been arrested for allegedly starting a wildfire in a national wildlife preserve near the California border.

3 days ago

Colorado River settlement center of new Navajo Nation push...

Associated Press

Tribes say their future is at stake as they push for Congress to consider Colorado River settlement

Navajo officials are celebrating the signing of legislation outlining a proposed Colorado River settlement that would ensure water rights.

5 days ago

Arizona doctors California abortions...

Associated Press

Arizona doctors can come to California to perform abortions under new law signed by Gov. Newsom

Arizona doctors can temporarily come to California to perform abortions for their patients under a new law signed by Gov. Gavin Newsom.

6 days ago

Father convicted of first-degree murder in northern Arizona...

Associated Press

Arizona man convicted of first-degree murder in starvation death of 6-year-old son

A northern Arizona father was convicted of first-degree murder Thursday in the 2020 starvation death of his 6-year-old son.

6 days ago

Former President Donald Trump sits in a courtroom next to his lawyer Todd Blanche before the start ...

Associated Press

Trump hush money trial enters new phase after defense rests without testimony from former president

Donald Trump's hush money trial is now closer to the moment when the jury will begin deciding the former president's fate.

8 days ago

Sponsored Articles

...

Sanderson Ford

3 new rides for 3 new road trips in Arizona

It's time for the Sanderson Ford Memorial Day sale with the Mighty Fine 69 Anniversary, as Sanderson Ford turned 69 years old in May.

...

Day & Night Air Conditioning, Heating and Plumbing

Beat the heat, ensure your AC unit is summer-ready

With temperatures starting to rise across the Valley, now is a great time to be sure your AC unit is ready to withstand the sweltering summer heat.

...

Condor Airlines

Condor Airlines can get you smoothly from Phoenix to Frankfurt on new A330-900neo airplane

Adventure Awaits! And there's no better way to experience the vacation of your dreams than traveling with Condor Airlines.

Watchdog probing Massachusetts US attorney’s fundraiser trip