Grassley warns DOJ against interfering with whistleblowers
'I remain concerned about the chilling effect it may have on whistleblowers who wish to approach Congress'
Iowa Republican Sen. Charles Grassley excoriated the Biden Department of Justice and Attorney General Merrick Garland over a memo sent to DOJ employees warning them to go through an internal office when dealing with Congress.
Garland issued the memo on Aug. 30 reminding personnel of longstanding DOJ policy that communications with Congress go through the Office of Legislative Affairs.
"[N]o department employee may communicate with Senators, Representatives, congressional committees, or congressional staff without advance coordination, consultation, and approval by OLA [Office of Legislative Affairs]," the memo read.
The Attorney General insisted the memo was not intended to discourage whistleblowers from reporting issues to Congress, but it came amid a string of whistleblower allegations from within the FBI both before and after the bureau raided former President Donald Trump's estate.
“I write this letter to make clear to you that whistleblowers are the most patriotic people I know and they play an integral part in ensuring that inappropriate influences, political influence, and improper conduct within the Department and its components, such as the FBI, are exposed," Grassley wrote. "Under your leadership, the Department and FBI have failed to be responsive to congressional oversight requests. Accordingly, it is often only because of whistleblowers that Congress and the American people are apprised of the type of wrongdoing that your memo seeks to protect against."
“Even with your whistleblower caveats, and due to the timing of your memo, I remain concerned about the chilling effect it may have on whistleblowers who wish to approach Congress with information relating to fraud, waste, abuse, and gross mismanagement," he concluded.