5 takeaways from U.S. Attorney Rollins investigations

U.S. Attorney Rachael Rollins for Massachusetts at the Moakley Federal Courthouse in May 2022 in Boston. (Charles Krupa/AP)
U.S. Attorney Rachael Rollins for Massachusetts at the Moakley Federal Courthouse in May 2022 in Boston. (Charles Krupa/AP)

In a pair of reports released Wednesday, federal investigators detailed in some 250 pages withering accounts of ethical lapses and possible federal crimes allegedly committed by U.S. Attorney for Massachusetts Rachael Rollins. She announced Tuesday, ahead of the reports being released, that she plans to resign by Friday.

Below are five key takeaways from the federal probes of Rollins.

1. ‘Abuse of authority’

The U.S. Office of Special Counsel accused Rollins of “an extraordinary abuse of her authority” in leaking Department of Justice information to the press; allegedly attempting to sabotage the campaign of Kevin Hayden for Suffolk County District Attorney; and attending a political fundraiser to meet First Lady Jill Biden.

The Special Counsel investigates violations of the Hatch Act, which restricts federal employees from engaging in partisan political activities. Special Counsel Henry Kerner called Rollins’ alleged activities “among the most egregious transgressions of the Act that OSC has ever investigated.”

2. ‘Most concerning’

The Department of Justice's Office of the Inspector General alleged that Rollins disclosed sensitive information to news outlets about a potential DOJ investigation of Kevin Hayden. The report alleged that she may have done this to “ensure that her desired candidate, Ricardo Arroyo, defeated Hayden in the primary.”

Arroyo ultimately lost. But in the last two months of his campaign, he allegedly exchanged 380 texts and encrypted messages with Rollins. In most, she was encouraging him, with messages like: “Outstanding job. Fantastic. Keep it up,” and, “No mercy. Finish him.”

3. Celtics tickets

The DOJ report alleged that Rollins solicited 30 free tickets for youth basketball teams in connection with a Boston Safe Neighborhoods event in February 2022. She allegedly also accepted two tickets for herself and improperly had a subordinate staffer coordinate the event, despite being informed she could not use office resources for the activity.

4. First Lady meetup

The Office of Special Counsel report said Rollins violated the Hatch Act by attending the fundraiser to meet First Lady Jill Biden — and she did so even after being specifically warned not to enter the event or appear in a partisan venue. Rollins allegedly misled investigators when they asked about the event, claiming she had not attended it.

5. Will Rollins face charges?

In interviews, some prosecutors said Rollins’ alleged actions could warrant criminal charges, but the investigative reports don't cite any specific repercussions.

In his letter to President Joe Biden, Special Counsel Henry Kerner said that if Rollins resigns by Friday as she says she will, that “would foreclose the possibility of disciplinary action.”

A footnote in the inspector general’s report said the office referred its false statements allegation against Rollins to the DOJ for a decision on whether to prosecute. On Jan. 6, the DOJ informed the inspector general that it “declined prosecution.”

She could still face disbarment.



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