Former FBI Director James Comey admitted he was listening to former Attorney General Loretta Lynch’s directive to call the FBI investigation into Hillary Clinton’s government-related emails a “matter” rather than an investigation — following the Clinton campaign’s messaging on the scandal.
Red Alert Politics Editor Ron Meyer joined Fox News, saying that this would be a violation of both the Hatch Act and FEC regulations.
“It’s against the Hatch Act and it’s against the FEC regulations prohibiting government collusion with a campaign. There is no coordination allowed. If fact, message coordination, which is what happened here — saying we’re going to use campaign language, putting the word ‘matter’ into the FBI press conference — that is actually considered an in-kind donation,” Meyer said.
“An in-kind donation from the FBI and the Attorney General to the Clinton campaign. That is obviously illegal.”
The Hatch Act forbids all federal workers, except the president and vice president, from engaging in campaign activity or coordinating messages with campaigns. The Department of Justice website says, “Further restricted employees may not campaign for or against candidates or otherwise engage in political activity in concert with a political party, a candidate for partisan political office, or a partisan political group.”
The FEC’s website says, “If a communication is coordinated it is considered an in-kind contribution subject to the Act’s contribution limits and source prohibitions. Therefore, only permissible sources (such as individuals and political committees) may make coordinated communications. 11 CFR 109.22. Those persons prohibited from making contributions or expenditures in connection with federal elections (such as corporations, labor organizations, and individuals or businesses with federal government contracts) are similarly prohibited from making coordinated communications.”
Comey’s testimony under oath was clear. He said, “At one point, the attorney general had directed me not to call it an investigation, but instead to call it a matter, which confused me and concerned me… I wanted to know, was she going to authorize us to confirm we had an investigation, and she said, ‘Yes, but don’t call it that, call it a matter.'”
Comey said the order gave him a “queasy feeling” but he did it anyway.
“That language tracked the way that the campaign was talking about the FBI’s work, and that’s concerning,” Comey said. “I don’t know whether it was intentional or not, but it gave the impression that the attorney general was looking to align the way we talked about our work with the way a political campaign was describing the same activity, which was inaccurate. We had a criminal investigation open, and so that gave me a queasy feeling.”
Here’s the full segment on Fox News:
Comey and Lynch broke multiple laws by coordinating messages with the Clinton campaign. pic.twitter.com/keT3dC7xM3— Red Alert Politics (@RedAlert) June 12, 2017