Senator Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) recently sent a letter to Attorney General Merrick Garland warning his Department of Justice (DOJ) to not interfere with the efforts of whistleblowers to go to Congress to report corruption within the department.
Just The News reports that Garland issued a memo on August 30th, ordering any potential whistleblowers to keep any such complaints internal, and that attempts to communicate with Congress must first go through the DOJ’s 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 reads in part.
Garland’s threats were issued in response to an alleged series of whistleblowers going to Grassley and other Republican members of Congress, including Congressman Jim Jordan (R-Ohio), to report how they witnessed corruption and political bias at their respective agencies, including, most prominently, the FBI. Jordan has claimed to have spoken with over a dozen such whistleblowers, especially after the highly politicized and widely condemned FBI raid on President Donald Trump’s private residence in Florida.
“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 in his letter back to Garland in response to the memo. “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,” Grassley continued, “who wish to approach Congress with information relating to fraud, waste, abuse, and gross mismanagement.”