Harry Reid: FBI Director’s ‘Partisan Actions’ May Violate Federal Law
Senate Democratic leader Harry Reid said FBI Director James Comey may have violated a federal law when he disclosed, less than two weeks before the presidential election, that his office was pursuing potential new evidence related to Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server as secretary of state.
Mr. Reid was preparing to send a letter to Mr. Comey on Sunday saying he appears to be aiding one political party over another. He said that may violate the Hatch Act, which bars government officials from using their position to influence an election.
“I am writing to inform you that my office has determined that these actions may violate the Hatch Act,” the Senate minority leader wrote, according to a draft of the letter provided to The Wall Street Journal. “Through your partisan actions, you may have broken the law.”
A spokesman for the Federal Bureau of Investigation didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.
The opinion from Mr. Reid, a supporter of Mrs. Clinton, carries more political weight than legal significance and comes as Democrats aim to circle the wagons around their presidential nominee in the final days of the campaign.
U.S. Rep. Jason Chaffetz, the Republican chairman of House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, disputed that Mr. Comey’s actions were partisan.
“Director Comey is updating his previous testimony, and he should do that,” Mr. Chaffetz said in an interview on Sunday. “Hillary Clinton can only blame herself for this mess. She created this problem, not Director Comey.”