Chuck Grassley slams Justice Department for not prosecuting employees for lying
Grassley listed more than a dozen cases where the United States Attorney's Office declined to prosecute staffers
Ranking Senate Judiciary Committee member Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) slammed the Department of Justice on Monday for "repeated failure to prosecute employees" who were caught lying during internal investigations.
"An unsettling pattern has emerged from the Department of Justice (DOJ) whereby criminal referrals by the Department of Justice, Office of Inspector General (OIG), against DOJ employees for making materially false statements are rarely prosecuted," Grassley wrote in a letter to Attorney General Merrick Garland.
Grassley said the "most shocking example of this pattern" occurred last month after the DOJ declined to bring charges against the former FBI agents who botched the investigation of Dr. Larry Nassar, the former U.S. women's national gymnastics team physician who was sentenced to prison for assaulting gymnasts.
The Iowa Republican listed a dozen other cases in which the United States Attorney's Office declined to prosecute staffers. For example, the OIG substantiated allegations that an employee made inaccurate statements in an investigation report and the staffer even admitted to lying, but the attorney's office decided to not prosecute.
In another case, the OIG supported the claim that an employee received about $350,000 worth of excess worker's compensation disability payments, but the office did not file charges.
"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," Grassley said, adding that "DOJ employees should be held to a higher standard" or else the department risks losing Americans' trust.
Grassley asked how many employees were prosecuted over the last five years. He also wanted to know more about why the department declined to prosecute agents suspected of wrongdoing in the Nassar case.