AG Loretta Lynch’s Surreptitious Meeting With Clinton Violates DOJ Ethics Regs
Category: News & PoliticsVia: sean-treacy • 5 years ago • 23 comments
Any reasonable person would think there is something nefarious about the Attorney General of the United States Loretta Lynch meeting surreptitiously with Hillary Clinton's husband in a private jet on the tarmac. Lynch just happened to be flying into Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport on a private aircraft when former President Clinton who just happened to be visiting the Phoenix area was waiting at that very airport waiting to depart. ABC15 reports that Clinton was notified Lynch would be arriving at the airport soon and waited for her arrival. Lynch was arriving in Phoenix for a planned visit as part of her national tour to promote community policing.
Lynch and Clinton met in Lynch's private jet parked on the airport tarmac for thirty minutes. The meeting happened as Hillary Clinton, the Democrats' presumptive presidential nominee, remains under investigation for her email scandal. Attorney General Lynch was asked about the meeting during her news conference at the Phoenix Police Department:
"Actually, while I was landing at the airport, I did see President Clinton at the Phoenix airport as I was leaving, and he spoke to myself and my husband on the plane," she said. "Our conversation was a great deal about his grandchildren. It was primarily social and about our travels. He mentioned the golf he played in Phoenix, and he mentioned travels he'd had in West Virginia."
"There was no discussion of any matter pending for the department or any matter pending for any other body," Lynch added. "There was no discussion of Benghazi, no discussion of the State Department emails, by way of example."
When Lynch was asked whether there was any "impropriety" to meeting with Clinton while the email investigation is ongoing, she pivoted nicely:
"My agency is involved in a matter looking at State Department policies and issues," she said. "It's being handled by career investigators and career agents. It will always follow the facts and the law and do the same independent and thorough investigation that they've done in all."
Paul Reid, CBS News Justice reporter, was taking none of Lynches baloney and called it "shocking, absolutely shocking":
"The most high-profile national security investigation under the attorney general is the investigation into whether or not classified information was mishandled in connection with Hillary Clinton's server," Reid told CBSN . "Now, President Clinton and his foundation are also tangentially involved in that investigation, so the appearance of impropriety is just stunning."
All lawyers are trained to avoid even the appearance of impropriety. Worse for Lynch, her meeting with Clinton surely violates the Department of Justice ethics regulations. The Department's Ethics Handbook requires the Attorney General to avoid the appearance of impropriety:
This Ethics Handbook for On and Off-Duty Conduct summarizes the principal ethics laws and regulations governing the conduct of Department of Justice employees. The purpose of this handbook is to increase your awareness of the ethics rules and their applications, including when you are not in a duty status or are on leave. We have included citations after each rule and we suggest that you consult the full text of the law or regulation when you have specific questions.
The ethics rules condensed here include the conflict of interest statutes found at 18 USC §§ 202 to 209, Executive Order 12674 on Principles of Ethical Conduct as amended by EO 12731, the Uniform Standards of Ethical Conduct for Employees of the Executive Branch at 5 CFR Part 2635, Department of Justice regulations at 5 CFR Part 3801 that supplement the uniform standards, and additional Department regulations at 28 CFR Part 45, and Executive branch-wide standards of conduct at 5 USC § 735. ...
After that introduction the handbook offers 14 General Principles of Ethical Conduct. The most relevant one to this exploding scandal is number 14.
14. Employees shall endeavor to avoid any actions creating the appearance that they are violating the law or the ethical standards set forth in this part. Whether particular circumstances create an appearance that the law or these standards have been violated shall be determined from the perspective of a reasonable person with knowledge of the relevant facts
5 C.F.R 2635.101 (b)
Appearance of Impropriety
An employee shall endeavor to avoid any actions creating the appearance that the employee is violating the law or the ethical standards set forth in this part.