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House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jim Jordan seems to enjoy launching investigations into investigations, but the Ohio Republican’s efforts don’t always go especially well, especially when his targets effectively tell him to go away.
After Donald Trump’s first indictment, for example, Jordan demanded information from Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg about the ongoing case. The prosecutor reminded the congressman he doesn’t have jurisdiction to insert itself into criminal prosecutions at the local level.
Similarly, after the former president’s indictment in Georgia, Jordan demanded information from Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis, who ended up not only rejecting the Republican’s outreach, but also explaining to Jordan why he’s either “ignorant” or he’s abusing his authority as part of an “attempt to obstruct and interfere” with a criminal prosecution.
This week, a similar dynamic has unfolded. Politico reported:
D.C. Attorney General Brian Schwalb won’t share with Congress information about his investigation into whether judicial activist Leonard Leo abused nonprofit tax laws, according to a letter released on Monday.
For those who might benefit from a refresher, let’s revisit our recent coverage and review how we arrived at this point.
In March, Politico reported that the D.C. attorney general had received a complaint alleging that Leo, a prominent conservative activist who helped create the Federalist Society, might’ve used one of his non-profit organizations to help one of his for-profit ventures. Roughly five months later, the outlet advanced the story, reporting that Brian Schwalb, the attorney general in Washington, D.C., had opened an investigation to scrutinize the claims.
This, evidently, didn’t sit well with congressional Republicans. Two weeks ago, Jordan and House Oversight Committee Chairman James Comer decided to scrutinize the scrutiny and demanded answers from Schwalb.
They gave him a deadline of Nov. 13 to “schedule a briefing on the status and scope of your investigation.” The D.C. attorney general responded that there will be no briefing. From the Politico article:
Jordan and Comer had claimed it appears Schwalb does not have jurisdiction to investigate nonprofits and other entities that were incorporated outside of Washington, D.C. “I am concerned that your letter may misapprehend jurisdiction over nonprofit organizations operating in the District,” Schwalb said. “No corporation, whether for-profit or not-for-profit, is exempt from the laws of a jurisdiction in which it chooses to be present and do business.”
As for the Republicans’ suggestion that the probe might be politically motivated, the prosecutor added that his office “is committed to the impartial pursuit of justice, without regard to political affiliation or motivation and without fear or favor.”
If recent history is any guide, Jordan and Comer will be reluctant to take “no” for an answer, which will lead to a lengthy volley of correspondence in which the GOP committee chairmen end up with nothing. Watch this space.
This post updates our related earlier coverage.
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