A former senior FBI official had unauthorized contacts with media sources and accepted unauthorized gifts from members of the media in the run up to the 2016 presidential election, according to The Department of Justice (DOJ) Office of the Inspector General (OIG).
The OIG released a report Tuesday detailing how an unnamed then-senior FBI employee had “unauthorized contacts” and “received items of value” from members of the media between January and November of 2016 in violation of bureau policy.
New OIG report about DOJ: Findings of Misconduct by a Then- Senior FBI Official for Having Numerous Unauthorized Contacts with the Media, and for Accepting Unauthorized Gifts from Members of the Media https://t.co/l9t0AvOyfJ
— Oversight.gov (@OversightGov) July 20, 2021
“In addition to substantive communications with reporters, this media contact included unauthorized social engagements outside of FBI Headquarters involving drinks, lunches, and dinners,” the report alleged.
“The OIG also found that the Senior FBI Official violated federal regulations and FBI policy when the Senior FBI Official accepted tickets from members of the media to two black tie dinner events, one valued at $225 and the other valued at $300, and received transportation to one event from a reporter, all without prior authorization.”
“The Senior FBI Official retired from the FBI prior to being contacted by the OIG for an interview,” the report went on to say. “When later contacted by the OIG for a voluntary interview, the Senior FBI Official declined to be interviewed. The OIG has the authority to compel testimony from current Department employees upon informing them that their statements will not be used to incriminate them in a criminal proceeding.”
“The OIG does not have the authority to compel or subpoena testimony from former Department employees, including those who retire or resign during the course of an OIG investigation,” the report concluded.
The Daily Caller News Foundation also reported in 2019 that an FBI senior official named Michael Kortan accepted two tickets to Washington Nationals games from a CNN reporter during the 2016 election.
The FBI came under heavy scrutiny for how it handled the investigations into Hillary Clinton’s private email server and investigations it conducted into members of former President Donald Trump’s 2016 campaign that the bureau alleged were agents of Russia.
Chief among those criticisms was how the FBI relied heavily on media reporting, often based on leaks, to justify taking additional steps in the Russia investigation, which was codenamed Crossfire Hurricane. (RELATED: FBI Allegedly Played ‘Larger Role’ In Whitmer Kidnapping Plot Than Previously Known, According To Report)