DOJ election crimes chief who resigned was connected to 2010 IRS targeting scandal

The Jus­tice Depart­men­t’s top elec­tion offi­cial who resigned Mon­day after Attor­ney Gen­er­al William Barr autho­rized inves­ti­ga­tions into poten­tial elec­tion fraud was pre­vi­ous­ly involved in a 2010 Inter­nal Rev­enue Ser­vice con­tro­ver­sy relat­ed to the tar­get­ing of cer­tain non­prof­it orga­ni­za­tions for increased scrutiny.

Barr on Mon­day autho­rized pros­e­cu­tors to “pur­sue sub­stan­tial alle­ga­tions of vot­ing and vote tab­u­la­tion irreg­u­lar­i­ties … in cer­tain cas­es,” accord­ing to the memo. “Such inquiries and reviews may be con­duct­ed if there are clear and appar­ent­ly-cred­i­ble alle­ga­tions of irreg­u­lar­i­ties that, if true, could poten­tial­ly impact the out­come of a fed­er­al elec­tion in an indi­vid­ual State.”

“Noth­ing here should be tak­en as any indi­ca­tion that the Depart­ment has con­clud­ed that vot­ing irreg­u­lar­i­ties have impact­ed the out­come of any elec­tion,” Barr added.

Richard Pil­ger, the direc­tor of the elec­tion crimes branch in the DOJ, sent an email noti­fy­ing his intent to resign just hours after Bar­r’s announce­ment, say­ing that the autho­riza­tion “abrogat[ed] the 40-year-old Non-Inter­fer­ence Pol­i­cy for bal­lot fraud inves­ti­ga­tion in the peri­od pri­or to elec­tions becom­ing cer­ti­fied and uncontested.”

Hav­ing famil­iar­ized myself with the new pol­i­cy and its ram­i­fi­ca­tions, and in accord with the best tra­di­tion of the John C. Keeney Award For Excep­tion­al Integri­ty and Pro­fes­sion­al­ism … I must regret­ful­ly resign from my role as Direc­tor of the Elec­tion Crimes Branch,” Pil­ger wrote to his col­leagues. “I have enjoyed very much work­ing with you for over a decade to aggres­sive­ly and dili­gent­ly enforce fed­er­al crim­i­nal elec­tion law, pol­i­cy, and prac­tice with­out par­ti­san fear or favor. I thank you for your sup­port in that effort.”

Pil­ger is not leav­ing the DOJ, just step­ping down from his cur­rent posi­tion, accord­ing to for­mer DOJ Civ­il Rights Divi­sion Chief Vani­ta Gup­ta, who is now the CEO and pres­i­dent of the Lead­er­ship Con­fer­ence on Civ­il and Human Rights.


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