Democrat-Darling Rachael Rollins Disbarred After Justice Refuses To Prosecute One Of Its Own

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by Tyler Durden
Saturday, Mar 16, 2024 - 12:20 AM

Authored by Jonathan Turley,

We previously discussed the controversy surrounding Rachael Rollins, the former U.S. Attorney for Massachusetts nominated by President Biden who was implicated in alleged criminal and unethical conduct. The case presented a glaring contrast to how the Justice Department treats its own officials accused of crimes in comparison to less favored individuals. Now, Rollins has been stripped of her bar license based on the same conduct.

Rollins was a figure lionized by the media and many Democrats in Congress. Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D., Mass.) heralded Rollins as the ideal U.S. Attorney. Despite her position in Massachusetts, Los Angeles Times’ editorial board dedicated a long editorial to proclaiming Rollins as

“among President Biden’s smartest appointments, and if her nomination is finally approved in the Senate she would become the top federal prosecutor in Massachusetts, handling cases involving national security, white-collar crime, public corruption, cybercrime, gang violence and civil rights violations. Biden’s nomination of Rollins, while hardly radical, represents a threat to the Republican narrative about Democrats and crime, as do Boston’s enviable crime stats … The point is that when GOP senators claim that Rollins’ policies increase crime, they’re just making things up to justify blocking one of the nation’s most successful criminal justice leaders.”

Rollins later resigned from office after investigators uncovered evidence that she had lied to them, a federal crime commonly charged against others.

The OIG released detailed findings against Rollins for allegedly seeking to influence a Suffolk County, Mass., district attorney election last year. She also was accused by the OIG of lying under oath during an investigation into the matter. The report states that “on December 16, 2022, pursuant to the Inspector General Act, 5 U.S.C. § 404(d), the OIG referred the false statements allegation to the Department for a prosecutive decision. On January 6, 2023, the Department informed the OIG that it declined prosecution.”

According to the OIG, Rollins sought to help Boston City Councilman Ricardo Arroyo in the Democratic primary for Suffolk’s district attorney by providing derogatory information to the Boston Globe and Boston Herald regarding his opponent, then-interim D.A. Kevin Hayden. The OIG said the information included “non-public, sensitive” DOJ material that Rollins acquired as a result of her federal position. The material suggested that Hayden was being investigated for public corruption.

The OIG further found that Rollins leaked more material after Arroyo lost to Hayden.

The OIG accused Rollins of violating a host of Standards of Ethical Conduct for Employees of the Executive Branch, including Section 2635.702 (the use “of public office for private gain”) and Section 2635.703 (the use “of nonpublic information”).

The most serious charge was that Rollins “falsely testified under oath … when she denied” providing the non-public information to the Herald reporter.

The investigation also found an array of other violations, including disregarding ethical warnings on political activities and soliciting expensive sports tickets.

What is most striking about the OIG report is that Rollins took some of these steps after barely being confirmed by the U.S. Senate because questions were raised over her judgment and partisanship.

Rollins was confirmed in 2021 after Vice President Kamala Harris cast a tie-breaking vote due to all 50 Republican senators opposing her nomination. 

Every Democratic senator voted for her despite the concerns, including a video from January 2021 in which she threatened the arrest of reporters.

The DOJ’s declination of charges follows a similar pattern that suggests a higher threshold standard applied by prosecutors in charging one of their own.

Conversely, this is the same department that pursued figures like Trump national security adviser Michael Flynn for false or misleading comments made to agents about a meeting with Russian diplomats. The media heralded that case, and legal experts clamored for prosecution.

With Rollins, after an investigation found that she lied to investigators, the DOJ refused to file any charges at all. It is unclear what the DOJ felt was lacking in those findings or the underlying evidence. However, as shown by prior declinations — in cases like the contempt referral against former Attorney General Eric Holder, or the determination that former FBI Director James Comey removed FBI material and, through a friend, leaked it to the media — the Justice Department often seems to find insurmountable problems when asked to charge a fellow prosecutor or investigator

The Rollins case showed a sense of total license to ignore criminal and ethical rules. She even was accused of giving Arroyo advice on how to handle the sexual assault allegations brought against him during his campaign and also provided media outlets with “negative information” about his challenger, Kevin Hayden.  She was overtly political and used her office to advance favored candidates.

If the past is any indication, most of the media would not delve too deeply into such contradictions if Trump is charged. And selective prosecution complaints are notoriously difficult to litigate. Even if the Justice Department did not secure a favorable judge for such a case, most judges are leery of adjudicating claims of motivation and bias.

With the recent pass given President Joe Biden on his serial violation of mishandling classified material, the Rollins case reinforces the view of many that the Justice Department continues to apply our laws in strikingly different ways for similarly situated defendants. Ironically, the sense of license displayed by Rollins proved correct. When it comes to favored individuals, the blindfolds appear off at Justice.