February 21, 2002
BY CERTIFIED MAIL & FAX
Honorable John Ashcroft Glenn A. Fine
Attorney General of the United States Inspector General
U.S. Department of Justice U.S. Department of Justice
950 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW 950 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Washington, D.C. 20530 Washington, D.C. 20530
H. Marshall Jarrett, Esq. Amy L. Comstock
Office of Professional Responsibility U. S. Office of Government Ethics
U.S. Department of Justice 1201 New York Avenue, NW
950 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW Suite 500
Washington, D.C. 20530 Washington, DC 20005-3917
U.S. Court of Appeals for the
District of Columbia
333 Constitution Avenue, NW
Washington, D.C. 20001-2866
Complaint Requesting An Investigation of Independent Counsel Robert Ray For Political Activity Inconsistent With His Official Duties As A Federal Employee
Dear Ladies and Gentlemen:
Judicial Watch, Inc. (“Judicial Watch”) is a public interest law firm that investigates and prosecutes government corruption and abuse. In the public interest, Judicial Watch files this formal complaint against Independent Counsel Robert Ray and requests that a thorough investigation be conducted concerning Mr. Ray’s recent political activities in connection with a campaign for elected office in the State of New Jersey.
This complaint is based, in part, on a recent press report by Gannett News Service reporter Ledyard King entitled, “Clinton Prosecutor May Run for Senate,” published in the February 18, 2002 edition of USA Today (attached). The article reports that New Jersey state Republican officials confirmed to Mr. King that Independent Counsel Ray had consulted with them to discuss his political campaign for election to the United States Senate.
The article also details how Independent Counsel Ray told a Monmouth County, New Jersey Republican dinner earlier this month that voters "deserve principled, ethical and trustworthy leadership for New Jersey in the United States Senate."
Mr. Ray’s recent meetings with New Jersey Republican Party officials and his appearance at Republican Party fundraising events is, at a minimum, a gross violation of his ethical obligations as Independent Counsel, and quite probably a violation of law (See generally, 5 U.S.C. chapter 73, subchapter III, as amended; 5 C.F.R. Part 734 ; Pub.L. 103-359, § 501(k) (1994) and the U.S. Attorney’s Manual, Section 1-4.00 et seq.) .
Suffice it to say that, in the least, Mr. Ray’s actions have the appearance of inappropriate activity and bring great discredit upon him and the Office of Independent Counsel.
Mr. Ray’s expressions of personal political ambitions are not news. Within 5 months of becoming Independent Counsel, he granted an interview to Melinda Henneberger of The New York Times who wrote a profile of Mr. Ray published on March 25, 2000 (attached) reporting the following:
“In an interview in his office this week, Mr. Ray did not come
off as particularly zealous. ‘Somebody has to do this," he said
when first asked about his job. He also said, "It's time to bring
this to closure.’
At one point he left the impression that he might like to run for
political office himself someday, a rather remarkable suggestion
from someone in his position and surely a hopeful sign for the
Clintons. After Mr. Starr's experience, one would not have to be
a Princeton history major, as Mr. Ray was, to conclude that indicting
Bill Clinton might not be a launching pad to a career in public service.”
* * *
“. . . Mr. Ray was a registered Democrat until recently. Now he
is an independent, he says, because ‘appearances count.’"
* * *
“Mr. Ray speaks with great pride about his grandmother, Rose Ray,
whom he describes as a local Democratic Party leader – ‘kind of
a power broker’ — in Brooklyn in the 30's.
And asked if he saw himself running for office again at some point,
he smiled and did not say no.
‘I think I better stay out of that for now,’ he replied. ‘I thought it was
a great experience.’”
Apparently, Mr. Ray has elected not to follow his own advice. His actions in coordinating his political campaign for a Senate seat, and his speaking engagement before a Republican Party dinner – both while serving actively as an Independent Counsel – represent a conflict of interest.
Based on this conduct, it now appears even more likely – as Judicial Watch predicted – that Mr. Ray’s decisions to not bring prosecutions against Bill and Hillary Clinton were based, in part, on his own political ambitions. Had he done so, and ignored politics, he would have been subjected to fierce criticism from powerful elements of the pro-Clinton media, forfeiting his chances to run successfully for the U.S. Senate.
To maintain the integrity of the Office of Independent Counsel, a swift and full investigation must be conducted.
Thank you for your prompt attention to this serious matter.
JUDICIAL WATCH, INC.
Larry Klayman Thomas Fitton
Chairman and General Counsel President
CC: New Jersey Republican Party
Republican National Committee
Honorable Robert Ray
Office of the Independent Counsel