Attorney General Merrick Garland issued a memo to Justice Department employees reiterating the department’s policy of not communicating with members of Congress. Garland stated that the Office of Legislative Affairs must handle all communications with Congress (OLA). “No department employee may communicate with Senators, Representatives, congressional committees, or congressional staff without prior coordination, consultation, and approval by OLA,” according to DOJ policy.
As Fox News reports:
“All congressional inquiries and correspondence from Members, committees, and staff should be immediately directed to OLA upon receipt,” says Justice Manual 1-8.000.
Garland said these policies were designed to protect the DOJ’s “criminal and civil law enforcement decisions, and its legal judgments, from partisan or other inappropriate influences, whether real or perceived, direct or indict.”
They are also designed, Garland said, “to ensure that Congress may carry out its legislative investigatory and oversight functions.”
Garland insisted that such policies were not “intended to conflict with or limit whistleblower protections.”
The memorandum follows a turbulent few months for the DOJ and the FBI. Tim Thibault, an assistant special agent-in-charge in the District of Columbia, retired over the weekend amid allegations that he interfered with the investigation into Hunter Biden’s laptop.