Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), ranking member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, is demanding answers from Attorney General Merrick Garland on the Department of Justice’s (DOJ) repeated failure to prosecute employees after they are caught making materially false statements during internal investigations. In at least a dozen cases, Grassley lays out instances where the DOJ Office of Inspector General (OIG) made criminal referrals against DOJ employees, but DOJ never took legal action – despite the same charges being frequently prosecuted when they are made against the American public.
One of the cases occurred recently when DOJ refused to prosecute two Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) agents in the Larry Nassar case, after it was discovered that these agents made several false statements.
“The supervisory agent was fired by the FBI for ‘violating the FBI’s policies by making false statements and failing to properly document complaints by the accusers.’ Yet, despite a criminal referral from the OIG, the DOJ refused to prosecute the two agents for the same crime that they routinely prosecute hundreds of American people for each year,” Grassley wrote.
Grassley then dives into 12 cases where DOJ has not held its own employees to the same standard that they would apply to all other Americans. In one case, the OIG substantiated allegations that an employee received $350,000 in excess worker’s compensation payments because they did not accurately report their outside earnings. In another, the OIG substantiated allegations that the employee made false statements during a mortgage fraud investigation. In all cases, the United States Attorney’s Office (USAO) declined to prosecute.
“Laws are meant to deter criminal activity, but when DOJ does not enforce those laws but rather shields their employees from consequences, it has the opposite effect. It creates a sense of entitlement and signals that DOJ employees are beyond reproach. DOJ employees should be held to a higher standard for making materially false statements to the OIG, not a lower one. DOJ must hold itself to the highest possible standard or else it risks losing the credibility and trust of the American people,” Grassley continued.
Grassley concludes by demanding answers to several questions, including a full list of how many DOJ employees have been prosecuted for making false statements in the last five years and how many criminal referrals have been made by the OIG in that time frame. He also asks DOJ for a more detailed explanation behind their decision not to prosecute the FBI agents involved in the Nassar investigation.
The full letter is available HERE.