The Department of Justice’s Office of the Inspector General (OIG) has produced a report titled “Findings of Misconduct by a Then-Senior FBI Official for Having Numerous Unauthorized Contacts with the Media.” Also, for “Accepting Unauthorized Gifts from Members of the Media,” which shows official FBI misbehavior before the 2016 presidential election.
The OIG investigation into the unnamed senior FBI official was part of several investigations into media leaks emanating from the FBI. The report indicates that numerous FBI employees had improper media contacts that made efforts to track illegal leaks more difficult.
As to the unnamed senior official, the report indicated that “The OIG investigation substantiated the allegation that the Senior FBI Official had numerous unauthorized contacts with the media from 2014 through 2016, in violation of FBI policy.”
The OIG found ethics violations that occurred as a result of FBI contacts with members of the media. “For example, we identified instances where FBI employees received tickets to sporting events from journalists, went on golfing outings with media representatives, we’re treated to drinks and meals after work by reporters, and were the guests of journalists at nonpublic social events,” the report provided.
The report finds that the unnamed senior official accepted unapproved gifts, including tickets for black-tie dinners and luxury transportation.
“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.”
“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 states that the OIG did not interview the unnamed senior FBI official, saying, “The Senior FBI Official retired from the FBI before being contacted by the OIG for an interview. When later contacted by the OIG for a voluntary interview, the Senior FBI Official declined to be interviewed.”
Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH), the House Judiciary Committee, on July 21, wrote to the Justice Department Inspector General asking for an unredacted case file supporting the summary report. Jordan also requested any other evidence his committee might need to ascertain “the extent of this serious misconduct” and “evaluate the FBI’s handling of the matter.” He requested the case file be provided no later than August 4.