House Republicans Probe DC Attorney General's 'Politically Motivated' Scrutiny of Conservative Group

James Comer, Jim Jordan, Paul Gosar (Kevin Dietsch/Getty Images)
October 30, 2023

House Republicans launched an investigation into the Office of the Attorney General of the District of Columbia over its "politically motivated" scrutiny of a conservative nonprofit network, members announced Monday.

The House Committees on the Judiciary and Oversight and Accountability sent a letter to D.C. attorney general Brian Schwalb (D.) demanding his office hand over "all documents and communications" related to its probe of conservative activist Leonard Leo and his nonprofit network. Schwalb's office opened its investigation in response to a complaint from a progressive group with close ties to the left-wing dark money behemoth Arabella Advisors.

In their letter, House Judiciary Committee chairman Jim Jordan (R., Ohio) and Oversight Committee chairman James Comer (R., Ky.) express concerns that Schwalb's investigation is "improper and politically motivated." The chairmen further worry that the investigation could "infringe upon the fundamental rights of donor privacy and free association."

Schwalb is investigating whether Leo's affiliates are violating nonprofit laws by doling out $73 million to Leo's for-profit consultancy, CRC Advisors. Leo's attorney, David Rivkin, panned Schwalb's investigation as "sloppy, deceptive and legally flawed." Rivkin has objected to the investigation on the grounds that none of the groups in Leo's activist network is incorporated in Washington, D.C., a jurisdictional problem that Jordan and Comer cite in their letter.

Schwalb will face no such problem in his investigation into Arabella Advisors, which is incorporated in Washington, D.C., along with each of the funds it manages. Schwalb's office opened an investigation into Arabella Advisors earlier this month following a series of reports from the Washington Free Beacon on the firm's murky financial practices.

Comer and Jordan note that Schwalb's investigation followed an IRS complaint from the left-wing Campaign for Accountability, which claimed without evidence that Leo's groups paid its allies above-market rates for their services. Campaign for Accountability was once a part of the Arabella Advisors network, which has received $230 million in consulting fees from its affiliated funds.

Jordan and Comer suggest in their letter that Schwalb ought to devote his office's "substantial resources" to solving the more urgent problems facing the nation's capital.

"There are serious problems occurring in Washington, D.C. that merit your attention, including the 27 percent increase in crime across all crime categories since last year," the Republicans wrote, noting in particular "the alarming rise in crime committed by juvenile offenders."