Ethics investigations revealed that Massachusetts U.S. Attorney Rachael Rollins plans to resign Tuesday after being accused of leaking “sensitive DOJ information” to the media in an attempt to influence an electoral outcome in favor of another Democratic colleague.
Rollins announced this week, through her lawyer, that she would be leaving her position. She was nominated in July 2021 by President Biden and confirmed in December.
The Department of Justice Office of the Inspect General and the U.S. Office of Special Counsel released separate reports on Wednesday accusing Rollins of breaking the Hatch Act, a statute that prohibits federal workers in the executive branch from participating in certain political activities.
Henry Kerner, Special Counsel at OSC, wrote that Rollins’ alleged transgressions were “amongst the most egregious violations of the Act” OSC had ever investigated.
The reports accused her of “leaking information that was not public to the U.S. Department of Justice” so that media outlets could report that she had a candidate in opposition facing a possible DOJ investigation.
Rollins, in an attempt to help Ricardo Arroyo win the Democratic primary against Kevin Hayden as Suffolk district attorney candidate, allegedly leaked damaging details about Hayden to The Boston Globe.
The attorney was accused by the media of telling them that the DOJ is investigating Hayden on public corruption charges. Rollins, according to the OIG Report, even pressured her First Assistant U.S. attorney to write a letter that would have given the impression that the DOJ was investigating Hayden.
Rollins, allegedly, disclosed “sensitive DOJ information that was not public to a Herald reporter directly before the primary elections” when her attempt to spread rumors failed. The media outlet, however, declined to publish the article.
According to the OIG’s report, Rollins contacted the Herald reporter again after Arroyo had lost the primary to Hayden to provide additional information that could harm Arroyo’s reputation in the general election.
Rollins was then investigated by the OIG. The report of the department revealed that Rollins “falsely swore” under oath during an OIG interview when she “denied that she was federal law enforcement who provided sensitive DOJ non-public information to the Herald reporter regarding a possible Hayden investigation.”
Rollins finally admitted to being the source when she “produced relevant texts, which definitively proved that Rollins was indeed a source for him and had revealed to him the DOJ internal recusal memo quoted in the article.”
The attorney was accused of giving Arroyo advice on how to deal with sexual assault accusations made against him while he was running for office.
“Rollins gave Arroyo feedback on his draft answers to the Globe reporter’s questions and told Arroyo in a text message: ‘Ask [the reporter] to call me about the sexual assault suspect question. I will answer off the record.’ Arroyo replied to Rollins that he would tell the reporter to contact Rollins, and Rollins then suggested that Arroyo tell the reporter to contact ‘some previous DAs’ as well,” the report stated.
The investigations also found that Rollins had attended a “partisan fundraising event without the required department approval, and in violation of ethics advice she was given.” Rollins was invited to a Democratic Party fundraising event on July 14, 2022. The first lady of the Democratic Party, Jill Biden, also attended.
The OSC said that Rollins’s actions were “an extraordinary abuse” of her authority, and threatened to undermine public confidence.
The OIG reported Rollins’ alleged false statement under oath in December 2022 to the DOJ. The department did inform the OIG, however, in January of its decision not to prosecute Rollins.
Rollins’ lawyer stated that Rollins was “deeply honored” to be appointed as U.S. Attorney but “understands her presence is a distraction.”
Michael Bromwich, her attorney, said that she plans to answer any questions “after all the dust has settled and after she resigns.”
Bromwich said, “The work of this office and of the Department of Justice is far too important for anything else to overshadow them.”