The man who spent two and half years as the ethics lawyer to President George W. Bush has filed a Hatch Act complaint against FBI Director James Comey.
Richard W. Painter wrote in a New York Times an op-ed:
The F.B.I.’s job is to investigate, not to influence the outcome of an election.
Such acts could also be prohibited under the Hatch Act, which bars the use of an official position to influence an election. That is why the F.B.I. presumably would keep those aspects of an investigation confidential until after the election. The usual penalty for a violation is termination of federal employment.
And that is why, on Saturday, I filed a complaint against the F.B.I. with the Office of Special Counsel, which investigates Hatch Act violations, and with the Office of Government Ethics. I have spent much of my career working on government ethics and lawyers’ ethics, including two and a half years as the chief White House ethics lawyer for President George W. Bush, and I never thought that the F.B.I. could be dragged into a political circus surrounding one of its investigations. Until this week.
This is the second complaint to be filed against FBI Director Comey. The Democratic Coalition Against Trump has also filed a complaint against Comey for interfering in a presidential election as a federal employee.
Suspicion around Comey’s actions has grown as the FBI Director is not expected to make any additional statements on this matter before the presidential election. Director Comey appears to have set himself for problems after the election as Senate Democrats are making it known that they are open to holding hearings to investigate the FBI investigation if they win back the Senate majority.
Unless Trump wins and Republicans take control of Congress, Director Comey is going to have to answer for his decisions.
As the complaints pile up, it looks like Congressional testimony may be the least of James Comey’s future problems.