May 18, 2023 - Politics

Feds hit U.S. Attorney Rachael Rollins with ethics violations

Rollins arrives at a private Andover home for a Democratic National Committee finance event hosted by First Lady Jill Biden last July. Photo: Stuart Cahill/Boston Herald via Getty Images

The must-read in the Massachusetts political world today is the list of ethics violations U.S. Attorney Rachael Rollins allegedly committed during her 16 months as the region's top federal prosecutor.

Why it matters: Two bombshell reports revealed how Rollins allegedly used her position to influence an election, participate in a Democratic fundraiser and score free Celtics tickets.

  • The scrutiny is leading her to resign.

Driving the news: Rollins leaked information to influence the election of her replacement as Suffolk County D.A. and lied to investigators about it, according to the Department of Justice Inspector General's office.

  • The IG found that Rollins assisted Ricardo Arroyo's campaign to fill her seat, provided positive information about Arroyo to the press and leaked damaging information about his opponent, District Attorney Kevin Hayden.
  • The IG report concluded that Rollins falsely testified under oath when she denied to investigators that she was the leak of some of the information about Hayden.

Zoom in: Rollins is also alleged by the federal Office of Special Counsel to have knowingly attended a partisan political fundraiser with First Lady Jill Biden without approval, a violation of the Hatch Act.

  • Rollins was advised by her office's ethics adviser that she could meet Biden separately, but not to attend the fundraiser, per the IG's report.
  • The IG "found Rollins’s efforts to blame her staff for her own ethics failures deeply disturbing."

The intrigue: A more minor alleged violation is also capturing attention: that Rollins organized free Celtics tickets for a youth group, then accepted two free tickets herself to attend the game and tweet about it.

The other side: Rollins' attorney Michael Bromwich told Axios in a statement most of the allegations "amount to minor process fouls," and suggested the report needs to be seen in the context of an elected prosecutor moving into a highly-regulated federal position.

  • Bromwich said Rollins had no interest in litigating the issues further and decided to step down to end the matter.

What's next: Rollins will send a resignation letter to President Biden by the end of Friday, according to Bromwich.


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