Embattled Soros-Backed U.S. Attorney Resigns Following DOJ Ethics Investigation

Rachael Rollins will leave her post as the Massachusetts U.S. attorney on Friday

Then-Suffolk County, Mass., DA Rachael Rollins in 2021 / Twitter screenshot
May 17, 2023

An embattled George Soros-backed U.S. attorney announced that she would resign this week, hours before the release of a Department of Justice investigation that concluded she broke campaign finance laws and lied under oath.

Rachael Rollins will leave her post as Massachusetts U.S. attorney on Friday, her attorney said late Tuesday. The Department of Justice's Office of the Inspector General on Wednesday concluded a months-long investigation into whether Rollins violated the Hatch Act after she attended a Democratic National Committee fundraiser featuring first lady Jill Biden in the summer of 2021.

"We found Rollins's conduct described throughout this report violated federal regulations, numerous DOJ policies, her Ethics Agreement, and applicable law, and fell far short of the standards of professionalism and judgment that the Department should expect of any employee, much less a U.S. Attorney," the DOJ said in its report.

The Senate voted in 2021 to confirm Rollins along party lines along a party-line vote. Republicans opposed Rollins's nomination, citing her history of not prosecuting crimes such as theft, drug dealing, and vandalism when she was Suffolk County, Mass., district attorney.

Rollins's resignation is a setback for Soros, who has seen a string of electoral victories in recent years after funding the campaigns for progressive prosecutors around the country. Massachusetts Democratic senators Ed Markey and Elizabeth Warren were Rollins's largest supporters during her Senate confirmation fight. In a Wednesday statement, the two said that "Rachael Rollins has for years dedicated herself to the people of Massachusetts and equal justice under the law."

During her time as a U.S. attorney, the DOJ report states, Rollins leaked sensitive information about then-interim Suffolk County district attorney Kevin Hayden to local reporters. Rollins supported Hayden's opponent in the race for her replacement. When DOJ investigators asked her about this incident, Rollins subsequently offered false testimony under oath.

Although Rollins said she had "approval" to attend the 2021 Jill Biden fundraiser, the DOJ report says she received "contrary" advice from the Office of the Deputy Attorney General. "Rollins should have recognized that going inside a home where a partisan political fundraiser was occurring potentially implicated significant DOJ policies, in addition to the Hatch Act," the report states.

When interviewed by DOJ officials over her attendance at that fundraiser, Rollins faulted her staff. The DOJ said her attempts to blame others within her office were "deeply disturbing."

Rollins, according to the DOJ report, also "solicited 30 free tickets from the Boston Celtics for local youth basketball players to attend a Celtics game, accepted 2 tickets for herself, and used a subordinate employee to help coordinate the event." Rollins's superiors at the DOJ warned her not to accept the tickets.

Sen. Tom Cotton (R., Ark.), who opposed Rollins's appointment by President Joe Biden, on Wednesday criticized Democrats for their 2021 confirmation votes. Democrats, Cotton said, "ignored … red flags" in Rollins's record.

"She thought the rules didn't apply to her enforcement as a weapon against anyone who questioned her, and any criticism of her record was racist," Cotton said.

Rollins came under fire in 2021 after she threatened to issue a traffic citation to a driver she claimed cut her off in traffic. When a reporter asked Rollins about the incident, the prosecutor again threatened legal action.

"I'll call the police on you and make an allegation and we'll see how that works with you," Rollins said.

Update 3:56 p.m.: This piece has been updated with additional information. The date of Markey and Warren's statement has also been corrected.