US attorney for Mass to step down following alleged misconduct involving 2022 DA race, press leaks, other allegations involving the Celtics, DNC fundraiser
Throughout her career as a prosecutor, Rachael Rollins has made many headlines.
Some of them were due to major cases she tried and criminals she put behind bars.
Others have been rather unfortunate, even racist and misogynistic attacks on the former Suffolk County district attorney, many taking aim at her progressive priorities in that role and refusal to prosecute for certain low-level crimes.
But as we now know from “An Investigation of Alleged Misconduct by United States Attorney Rachael Rollins” released today by the Department of Justice Office of the Inspector General—her employer since leaving her elected Suffolk County job to be sworn in as the US attorney for Massachusetts in January 2022—it turns out that Rollins was apparently behind lots of headlines as well. Here’s an excerpt from the report:
The OIG received information that Rollins may have used her position as U.S. Attorney to disclose non-public, sensitive DOJ information to a Herald reporter about a potential DOJ investigation of then Interim Suffolk County District Attorney (Suffolk D.A.) Kevin Hayden before the September 6, 2022 Democratic primary election for Suffolk D.A., in which Hayden was a candidate, and that Rollins may have done so to ensure that her desired candidate, Ricardo Arroyo, defeated Hayden in the primary.
That’s hardly the only accusation that pushed Rollins to announce her planned resignation last night after news of the DOJ’s monthslong investigation broke. From the sound of things, DigBoston was among the few outlets she wasn’t feeding:
In addition, we received information that in May 2022, Rollins secretly disclosed a non-public DOJ letter about an ongoing DOJ civil rights matter to the same Herald reporter noted above and, in June 2022, secretly disclosed another non-public DOJ letter about a different ongoing civil rights matter to a Boston Globe Associate Editor.
And what kind of scandal would it be if there wasn’t a pop-culture hook? In this case, the news coincides with the NBA Playoffs. It’s a real Scott’s Tots type of scenario, described in excruciating detail in the report’s sections about “how Rollins, during her attendance at a Project Safe Neighborhoods event in which MA USAO participated, promised a youth basketball group tickets to a Boston Celtics game and how Rollins contacted the Celtics to acquire those tickets.” They “also describe how Rollins attended the game with a friend after accepting two tickets from the Celtics,” and “how Rollins utilized a MA USAO subordinate employee to help organize the event.”
And then there’s the potential Hatch Act violation that started it all, this one related to revelations in a Herald article that Rollins presumably didn’t seed:
Department of Justice (Department or DOJ) Office of the Inspector General (OIG) that began with allegations concerning the presence of U.S. Attorney for the District of Massachusetts Rachael Rollins at a Democratic Party fundraiser featuring First Lady Dr. Jill Biden on July 14, 2022. Available information indicated that Rollins arrived at a private home in Andover, Massachusetts, where the fundraiser was being held, driven in a government vehicle by a subordinate employee of the Massachusetts U.S. Attorney’s Office (MA USAO).
This is probably the biggest story of the year and it involves the region’s two newspapers of record, both of which seem to have been involved in even sleazier shit-tossing than most members of the public even think goes on behind the scenes—for example, the Globe communicating with Rollins on background for politically motivated stories and then asking her office for a comment on the record (which the MA USAO did not give), and the press-assisted unearthing of purported past transgressions on the eve of an election, not for the benefit of victims or the community but rather to fan flames. Frankly, it’s all quite stunning. The whole report is mandatory reading, but we’ll leave you with this taste:
We describe Rollins’s internal discussions within the MA USAO, following publication of the Globe’s August 6 article, about whether the office should open a criminal investigation into Hayden and his First Assistant D.A. for possible public corruption in their handling of the police misconduct case and a separate civil rights investigation into the underlying transit police misconduct allegations. We also describe how information in the three Globe articles led to Rollins contacting EOUSA’s General Counsel on August 10 and 11 regarding her potential conflict of interest in any future MA USAO federal criminal investigation into Hayden.
A Queens, NY native who came to New England in 2004 to earn his MA in journalism at Boston University, Chris Faraone is the editor and co-publisher of DigBoston and a co-founder of the Boston Institute for Nonprofit Journalism. He has published several books including 99 Nights with the 99 Percent, and has written liner notes for hip-hop gods including Cypress Hill, Pete Rock, Nas, and various members of the Wu-Tang Clan.