Senior FBI official took free gifts from media while Trump-Russia probe was underway, watchdog says
The FBI official accepted tickets to black tie events and had numerous communications from media members.
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The Office of Inspector General for the Department of Justice released the findings Tuesday of an investigation that found a former senior FBI official violated agency policy by having numerous unauthorized contacts with the media.
The investigation found that the official, who has not been named and has since retired from the agency, "had numerous contacts with members of the media between January and November 2016 in violation of FBI policy," as well as accepted unauthorized gifts from media members, according to the report.
The senior official had unofficial contact with media officials during the opening months of the Trump-Russia investigation. That investigation by the FBI started in the months leading up to and after the Nov. 2016 presidential election. However, the report does not mention that this official was part of the investigation.
Investigators found that the official had accepted tickets from members of the media for two black-tie dinner events, one costing $225 and the other costing $300.
From 2014 through 2016, the official had more unauthorized contacts with the media, including "substantive communications" with reporters and "unauthorized social engagements outside of FBI Headquarters involving drinks, lunches, and dinners."
The official was contacted by the bureau for an interview during the investigation but denied the request. The inspector general's office has the authority to subpoena FBI employees but not former ones.
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