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Potential conflict of interest for acting FBI chief?

Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley is asking the Justice Department to address more revelations of potential conflicts in the FBI’s handling of recent politically charged investigations.

Grassley’s request follows new reports that the acting director engaged in a political campaign and is the subject of an ongoing sex discrimination complaint supported by former Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn.  In a letter to Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, Grassley outlined the various investigations into acting FBI Director Andrew McCabe and any potential conflicts of interest resulting from his role in the FBI probes.

According to recent media reports, the Office of Special Counsel is reviewing whether McCabe inappropriately engaged in political campaign activity during his wife’s bid to be a Virginia state senator.  Last fall news reports revealed that McCabe’s wife’s campaign received nearly $700,000 from close allies of Hillary Clinton at the same time that McCabe was working the FBI’s investigation into Clinton’s mishandling of classified information and use of a private email server for State Department business.

McCabe is also reportedly the subject of an open Equal Employment Opportunity complaint for alleged gender discrimination dating back to 2014. In that case, Flynn reportedly submitted a letter of support on behalf of a female FBI agent who reported the discrimination. Despite Flynn’s role in the open complaint against McCabe, McCabe still worked on the FBI’s investigation into Flynn’s communications with Russian officials.

Under Justice Department protocol, employees are advised to recuse from investigations if their involvement would create even the appearance of conflict. The Justice Department Inspector General is reviewing actions by the FBI and Justice Department in the lead up to the 2016 election, including whether McCabe should have been recused from participating in certain investigative matters.

Today’s letter follows concerns raised by Grassley in May regarding McCabe’s ability to be independent and the FBI’s failure to respond to related questions by the Committee.

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