According to a report from the Justice Department’s internal watchdog released on Wednesday, the top federal prosecutor in Massachusetts attempted to use her position to sway the outcome of a race for Boston’s district attorney by disseminating information intended to harm the campaign of her preferred candidate.
The U.S. conducted a separate probe. The Office of Special Counsel discovered multiple infractions by the US. According to attorney Rachael Rollins, government employees’ political engagement is restricted by law.
The results were public a day after Rollins’ attorney informed The Associated Press that she would step down this week because she “understands that her presence has become a distraction.”
Rollins, who was praised by progressives for her approach to law enforcement when she was inaugurated into office in January 2022 after serving as district attorney for Suffolk County, which encompasses Boston, is accused of a wide range of misbehavior, according to the inspector general’s 161-page report.
It described attempts to deceive Justice Department investigators during interviews and was the most blistering public denunciation in recent years of a U.S. attorney, a coveted federal position that occasionally functioned as a stepping stone to higher office.
According to the report, Rollins misled investigators while testifying under oath that she was not the anonymous law enforcement source quoted in the press before later confessing. According to the report, the department was forwarded the claim in December by the inspector general’s office for possible prosecution for making false statements, but officials decided against it.
In contrast, in a letter to President Joe Biden, Special Counsel Henry Kerner stated that Rollins’ Hatch Act offenses were among the “most egregious transgressions” of the law that his office had ever looked into.
In the inspector general’s investigation, Rollins was charged with seeking and receiving 30 complimentary tickets to a Boston Celtics game for young basketball players and accepting payment for travel and lodging from a sports and entertainment firm.
In addition, the report stated that Rollins frequently used her cellphone for business purposes, continued to accept donations to her district attorney campaign account after being appointed U.S. attorney, and went against advice to attend a political fundraiser with Jill Biden without the proper Justice Department approval.
According to the watchdog, Rollins attempted to influence the race for Suffolk County district attorney last year by leaking material to the media that suggested Kevin Hayden, the acting district attorney, was the subject of a federal investigation.
According to the report, the U.S. attorney also assisted Ricardo Arroyo, Hayden’s opponent, by “providing him campaign advice and direction and coordinating with Arroyo on activities to help his campaign.”
After failing to get her top deputy to send a letter suggesting that the department was looking into Hayden, Rollins allegedly disclosed confidential department material to the public to derail his campaign.
According to the story, the Boston Herald received a memo from Rollins detailing her office’s recusal from any potential probe into Hayden after Arroyo lost the primary race.
Rollins contacted her deputy and other staff members after the newspaper published an article about the document she leaked, asking, “Wtf!?!” and “What are they quoting?” based on the report.
Rollins was referred to as Arroyo’s “de facto campaign advisor” in Kerner’s review. In correspondence from August 2022, Arroyo said announcing an investigation into Hayden would be “the best thing I can have to happen at this moment.”
Rollins responded, “Understood. Continue to campaign and fight. I’m putting something together.