A senior FBI official lied to the Justice Department inspector general about accepting free tickets from a broadcast journalist for professional sports events, but the official will not be prosecuted.
The official told the inspector general that he had paid for the tickets when they actually were provided for free, which violated federal regulations. The TV reporter’s beat was the FBI and the Justice Department.
The Office of Inspector General Michael Horowitz released the report Tuesday, saying the unnamed senior official had retired.
The no-prosecute decision was met with scorn by conservatives, who have seen two of President Trump’s supporters prosecuted by the Justice Department for lying to the FBI. George Papadopoulos, a Trump campaign volunteer, and retired Army Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn, former White House national security adviser, both pleaded guilty to lying to FBI agents.
“Total hypocrisy,” tweeted Rep. Mark Meadows, North Carolina Republican. “DOJ prosecutes Mike Flynn and George Papadopoulos for lying to the FBI. But a senior FBI official accepted free gifts from a media member, lied to the FBI about it, and faces no prosecution. With the DOJ: ‘Lying to the FBI is a crime for thee — but not for me.’”
The IG report said: “The OIG investigation substantiated, and the senior FBI official acknowledged, that the official accepted two tickets to a professional sports event from the TV correspondent without paying the correspondent for the tickets. The senior FBI official initially maintained to the OIG in an interview under oath that the official had paid for the tickets, but five days later admitted to the OIG that the official did not.”
The new release was a follow-up to a more expansive report released in June that relied on a voluminous number of internal FBI text messages. Some mentioned media contacts and sports tickets.
The June report looked at a number of decisions made by the FBI and Justice Department in the run-up to the 2016 election. It focused on the former FBI Director James B. Comey’s determination not to prosecute Hillary Clinton for mishandling classified material.
The IG said in a February report that former Deputy Director Andrew McCabe lied to investigators during the probe.
In the June report, Mr. Horowitz wrote of extensive unauthorized contacts between FBI agents and the news media.
The report also highlighted fired FBI agent Peter Strzok’s vow in text messages to stop Mr. Trump from becoming president.