Judicial Watch Obtains Records on Assistant U.S. Attorneys’ Attendance at Clinton Campaign Event
‘I was blown away by your incredible hospitality and can’t thank you enough for allowing us to crash that fabulous party.’
(Washington, DC) – Judicial Watch announced today that it received 7 pages of heavily redacted emails from the Department of Justice relating to Assistant U.S. Attorneys Alana Robinson and Emily W. Allen’s attendance at an August 2015 fundraiser in California for then-presidential candidate Hillary Clinton. The two San Diego-based prosecutors played a leading role in prosecuting former Congressman Duncan D. Hunter (R-CA) and Hunter’s wife on 60 separate criminal charges relating to the misuse of campaign funds. Hunter pled guilty to one count of criminal conspiracy on December 3, 2019, and resigned from Congress on January 7, 2020. He is scheduled to be sentenced on March 17, 2020.
In June 2019, Hunter filed a motion seeking to dismiss the charges against him or, in the alternative, recuse the U.S. Attorney’s Office in San Diego on the grounds that Robinson and Allen had a political conflict of interest due to their attendance at the Clinton fundraiser.
In response, the prosecutors represented to the San Diego federal court where the criminal case is pending that Robinson and Allen were asked to attend the Clinton fundraiser “in the event of a protective security related incident where immediate prosecutorial guidance would be necessary.” The statement did not elaborate on what kind of incident might require prosecutorial guidance. An earlier letter from Executive Office for United States Attorneys General Counsel Jay Macklin represented that the prosecutors were at the event “in their official capacity assisting law enforcement.”
The new records, obtained in response to a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit (Judicial Watch v. U.S. Department of Justice (No. 1:19-cv-03578)), raise serious questions about these responses and whether prosecutors misled the court.
In an email obtained through the lawsuit, sent on the date of the Clinton fundraiser, August 7, 2015, with the subject line “Photo” a U.S. Attorney’s office official, whose name is redacted, sends a note to another U.S. Attorney’s office official, whose name is also redacted saying, “Thank you so much for the invitation to this morning’s event! I was blown away by your incredible hospitality and can’t thank you enough for allowing us to crash that fabulous party. It was a really memorable morning.”
In another email on the same date and with the same subject line, one U.S. Attorney’s office official, whose name is redacted, sends a note to another official, whose name is also redacted saying, “[Y]ou totally downplayed that amazing invitation! I had no idea it would be so spectacular. I didn’t even realize we’d be invited in! I am so grateful for the invitation, thank you.”
Robinson and Allen, both registered Democrats, took photos with Clinton at the fundraiser, held at the home of Qualcomm co-founder Irwin Jacobs and his wife, Joan. Within months of the fundraiser, Hunter became the first sitting member of Congress to publicly endorse Clinton’s opponent in the 2016 presidential campaign, Donald Trump. Robinson became acting U.S. Attorney in January 2017, and her office commenced its investigation of Hunter and his wife the following month.
The Hatch Act generally prohibits federal employees from participating in political activities while on duty, and Department of Justice regulations impose further restrictions on prosecutors. Rules of professional conduct prohibit attorneys from knowingly making false statements of material fact to a tribunal or failing to correct such statements. They also require truthfulness in statements to others.
“These emails are yet more evidence of potential political bias at the Justice Department,” said Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton. “Thorough investigations by the Office of Special Counsel, DOJ Office of Professional Responsibility, and other competent authorities are necessary to get to the bottom of this and the great many other recurring instances of seeming political bias at Justice.”