US attorney Rachael Rollins faces ethics investigation by DOJ watchdog, AP reports


The inspector general’s investigation would focus on his appearance at the event as well as Rollins’ use of a personal cell phone for official purposes, according to the AP. The news agency also reported that the bureau was reviewing a trip Rollins took to California that was paid for by an outside group.

Christina DiIorio-Sterling, a spokeswoman for Rollins, said she was cooperating with investigators.

“The U.S. Attorney is fully cooperating with the OIG investigation. We have no further comment,” DiIorio-Sterling wrote in an email late Monday.

A spokesman for the inspector general, Michael Horowitz, told the AP that it was the “general practice of the office not to confirm or deny the existence of an ongoing investigation.” Chief Justice Department spokesman Anthony Coley declined to comment and referred questions to the inspector general’s office, according to the AP.

Investigators copied information from the phones of employees in Rollins’ office as part of their review of his use of a private cell phone for official purposes, according to the AP.

The news agency also reported that investigators are scrutinizing a trip Rollins took to California in June to speak at CAA Amplify, an annual gathering of entertainment, business and political figures hosted by the Creative Artists. Agency, one of the best talent agencies in Hollywood. .

The July 14 fundraiser for the DNC took place at a home in Andover, where Rollins arrived in a government-issued car, driven by a government employee. Jill Biden spoke at the event on the first day of a three-day trip to Massachusetts. It’s unclear how long Rollins stayed at the fundraiser.

The following day, Rollins defended herself on Twitter in response to a Boston Herald article that questioned the ethics of her attendance at the event. Rollins tweeted, “I had approval to meet Dr. Biden and left early” to speak at two community events.

Details of the investigation by the U.S. Office of Special Counsel first surfaced in August when Attorney General Merrick Garland issued a new policy barring political appointees from attending fundraisers and d other political events in any capacity, and established new restrictions beyond the Hatch Act.

“As employees of the Department, we have been entrusted with the authority and responsibility to enforce the laws of the United States in a neutral and impartial manner,” Garland wrote at the time. “In carrying out this responsibility, we must do everything possible to maintain public trust and ensure that politics – both in fact and in appearance – does not compromise or affect the integrity of our work.

The Office of Special Counsel launched its investigation after Sen. Tom Cotton, an outspoken Republican from Arkansas, accused Rollins of violating the Hatch Act. In July, Cotton sent a letter urging US Inspector General Michael Horowitz to investigate Rollins’ “apparent flagrant violation” of the law for participating in “high-value political fundraising” in his official capacity as a American lawyer.

During Rollins’ confirmation hearings last year, Cotton emerged as one of her strongest critics and accused her of being soft on crime. His confirmation passed by the narrowest possible margin following a contentious, partisan battle in the Senate that ended with Vice President Kamala Harris’s deciding vote in a 51-50 decision.

Rollins, who was the Suffolk District Attorney when President Joe Biden appointed her U.S. Attorney in July 2021, is the first black woman to serve as U.S. Attorney for Massachusetts.

Globe staff’s Shelley Murphy contributed to this report.

Nick Stoico can be contacted at Follow him on Twitter @NickStoico.


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