Massachusetts U.S. Attorney Rachael Rollins is reportedly resigning this week after the release of a monthslong DOJ ethics investigation into her appearance at a Biden fundraiser last summer and other issues.
Rollins’ attorney, former Justice Department Inspector General Michael Bromwich, told The Associated Press his client would be stepping down by Friday.
“Rachael has been profoundly honored to serve as U.S. Attorney over the past 16 months and is incredibly proud of all her office has accomplished during that limited time, especially in the areas of gun violence and civil rights,” Bromwich said.
“She is optimistic that the important work she started will continue but understands that her presence has become a distraction. The work of the office and the Department of Justice is far too important to be overshadowed by anything else.”
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Rollins was sworn in as Massachusetts’ top federal law enforcement officer in January 2022, after serving as the district attorney for Boston and surrounding communities.
The inspector general’s office opened an investigation into Rollins last November, over her appearance at a Democratic National Committee fundraiser featuring first lady Jill Biden.
People familiar with the investigation said the probe had expanded into other areas, including Rollins’ use of her personal cellphone to conduct Justice Department business and a trip she took to California that was paid for by an outside group.
In a July tweet, Rollins said she “had approval” to meet the first lady and left the event early to speak at two community events.
One person familiar with discussions before that event told the AP that Rollins was only given limited permission to meet Jill Biden outside the home.
Rollins acknowledged the investigation during a December meeting with reporters, saying she doesn’t want her office to be “distracted” by the probe.
“I certainly think any time there’s an investigation into anyone — and I’ve been the chief law enforcement officer in two different roles — it impacts you for sure,” Rollins said.
The U.S. Office of Special Counsel, another federal watchdog agency, has also been investigating whether Rollins’ attendance at the fundraiser violated the Hatch Act, a law that limits political activity by government workers. The status of that investigation is unclear.
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In addition to probing the fundraiser appearance, the inspector general’s office copied the phone contents of some employees in Rollins’ office as part of their probe into her possible use of her personal phone for Justice Department business.
After being her nomination in January 2021, Rollins faced fierce pushback from Republicans, who painted her as a radical. As district attorney for Suffolk County, which includes Boston, Rollins declined to prosecute low-level offenses such as shoplifting, trespassing, and drug possession.
Once confirmed, a video resurfaced of Rollins rebuking reporters for attempting to interview her outside of work.
In the video, Rollins accused journalists of risking the lives of her children after a reporter requested an interview near her home, the video showed.
The film crew, who worked for Fox-affiliate Boston 25 News, asked Rollins if she would be willing to answer questions. Rollins, becoming visibly upset, demanded to know how the reporters knew where she lived, to which they informed her it is a matter of public record.
Fox News’ Timothy Nerozzi and The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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