AG Garland reminds DOJ staffers not to speak with lawmakers

by Chris Lange

Chris Lange, FISM News


Attorney General Merrick Garland on Tuesday issued a memo to remind Department of Justice employees that they are prohibited from speaking to Congress.

The memo follows a series of whistleblower reports of alleged political bias among the Bureau’s highest-ranking members

Garland wrote that he was reminding “all Department personnel of our existing policies regarding communications between the Justice Department and Congress,” citing the central Justice Manual provision (JM 1-8 200.) That provision states: “Communications between the Department and Congress … will be managed or coordinated by OLA (Office of Legislative Affairs.)”

The provision continues, “Except as provided in this chapter, no Department employee may communicate with Senators, Representatives, congressional committees, or congressional staff without advance coordination, consultation, and approval by OLA.”

Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) shot off his own reminder to Justice Department employees countering Garland’s memo.

FISM reported earlier this month that House Judiciary Committee Ranking Member Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) said 14 FBI whistleblowers have come forward with reports of political bias among high-ranking Justice Department officials, supporting accusations from some GOP lawmakers that the DOJ is being weaponized by the Biden administration to go after political opponents, namely former President Donald Trump.

Jordan suggested that some whistleblowers had come forward following the Aug. 8 FBI raid on former President Trump’s Mar-a-Lago residence.

Cotton’s response to the Garland memo seems to suggest that the AG’s directive was an attempt to prevent further leaks that might support Republicans’ claims that the DOJ has become a political arm of the Democratic party. 

Garland’s memo came just days after Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg’s bombshell admission Thursday that Facebook’s decision to suppress information about the Hunter Biden laptop story ahead of the 2020 election was predicated on warnings by FBI agents who approached him with news of purported “Russian disinformation.” The day after Zuckerberg’s Joe Rogan Experience interview, Assistant Special Agent in Charge Timothy Thibault, who had been accused of running interference for President Biden’s son at the height of the campaign season, tendered his resignation from the Bureau.

The Attorney General also issued new guidance concerning employee participation in political activities.

The revised policy bars political appointees at the Justice Department from attending any campaign events or fundraisers. While political appointees were previously allowed to attend partisan events in their personal capacity, the new guidelines state that there will be “no exceptions.”

“As Department employees, we have been entrusted with the authority and responsibility to enforce the laws of the United States in a neutral and impartial manner,” Garland wrote in the memo. “In fulfilling this responsibility, we must do all we can to maintain public trust and ensure that politics ⁠— both in fact and appearance ⁠— does not compromise or affect the integrity of our work.”

This article was partially informed by Reuters, The Daily Wire, and Fox News reports.