DOJ's Inspector General Faces Criticism for Allegedly 'Targeting Political Opponents'

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The Justice Department's Office of Inspector General (OIG) is coming under fire after reports that some of its staff have a clear political bias against the objectives of their investigations.

The OIG says its mission is to “detect and deter fraud, waste, abuse, and misconduct by providing objective, independent, and impactful oversight of the Department, its programs, and the conduct of its personnel.”

OIG personnel are non-political employees and do not change with changes in the executive branch. Inspector General Michael Horowitz was confirmed by the Senate in 2012.

However, recent reports and documents reviewed by Fox News Digital indicate that some OIG employees, including those responsible for overseeing investigations into political appointees in the Trump administration, appear to have partisan bias.

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Justice Department Inspector General Michael Horowitz speaks during a Senate Judiciary hearing on Capitol Hill on September 15, 2021 in Washington, DC (Photo by Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images)

America First Legal (AFL) sent a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request to the DOJ on Wednesday to investigate the “existence of politically motivated employees in positions requiring impartiality.”

“The Department's Office of the Inspector General itself describes that.”[i]In light of the current widespread lack of trust and negative views of government, an important facet of the Department's challenge to strengthen public trust is to ensure that DOJ personnel fulfill their duties without any actual or alleged political influence or partisan consideration.'' states request.

“Despite this unequivocal obligation to avoid the appearance of political or partisan considerations, there is evidence that the Office of the Inspector General is deeply infested with partisan actors,” the report says.

According to documents reviewed by Fox News Digital, an OIG attorney, Deborah Falk Zerwitz, has donated to Democrats or Democratic-affiliated entities 35 times since 2007, totaling $6,466.

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The Justice Department's Office of Inspector General is coming under fire after reports that some of its employees have deep political biases. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

Zerwitz is currently overseeing OIG's investigation into the department's 2020 investigation into state nursing home deaths in New York, New Jersey, Michigan and Pennsylvania.

On her ', and one accusing Barr of promoting a “myth of an unaccountable career prosecutor.”

Another post she seemed to “like” read: “We need to wrap up Donald Trump, but we can't stop there. We must remove his Republican enablers from office – at every level of government.”

She also “found” posts that referenced “Trump and his racist homophobic cult members,” and a post that read “Attention QANON, MAGAT Fascists,” ending with “SO F— OFF.” She also liked a post accusing Sen. Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., of “eroding our democracy.”

Jennifer Ramella, another OIG attorney investigating the DOJ nursing home death investigation, donated to the Democratic PAC ActBlue 33 times between 2020 and 2022, totaling more than $300.

Another is Christina Monta, a former OIG attorney who led the investigation into the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Middle District of Pennsylvania's investigation into reports of possible problems with some ballots at the Luzerne County Board of Elections in 2020.

According to FEC records, Monta made several contributions to the Senate campaign of ActBlue and Senator Elizabeth Warren between 2019 and 2020, totaling $1,014.50.

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Attorney General Merrick Garland (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

Monta was counsel in one of the first cases DOJ litigated in 2015 seeking to allow biological males into women's restrooms. Around the same time, she also joined the DOJ's fight against Texas' voter ID law.

“It is imperative that Americans learn whether these views persist within the Department of Justice, and certainly meet the Department's standard that it is a 'matter of widespread and exceptional media interest where there are potential questions about the integrity of government that erodes public trust,' especially as we approach a presidential election,” AFL's FOIA request states.

“It is vital to our democracy and our trust in government that those in government who have duties to be impartial do not exercise their power by targeting political opponents,” they said.

An OIG spokesperson told Fox News Digital: “Consistent with the First Amendment, Citizens United, and federal law, the OIG respects the constitutional rights of its employees and all citizens.”

“The OIG's work is evidence-based and objective, as evidenced by our reports on FISA abuse, Operation Fast and Furious, and decades of other oversight. Our continued work adheres to the same standards,” the spokesperson said.

In 2019, the OIG released a report on FISA abuse in the FBI's Crossfire Hurricane investigation and outlined their investigative process:

“As part of standard practice in our reviews, we have provided a draft copy of this report to the Department and the FBI to conduct a review of its factual accuracy. Also in line with our standard practice, we have contacted individuals who were interviewed as part of the assessment and whose conduct is discussed in this report, and certain other witnesses, to offer them the opportunity to review portions of the report relating to their testimony before the OIG. With limited exceptions, these witnesses have taken advantage of this opportunity, and we have provided those who conducted such review, with the opportunity to provide oral or written comments directly to the OIG on the portions they reviewed, in accordance with the rules to protect secret information.

The Civil Service Reform Act also prohibits OIG from discriminating against employees based on their political affiliations.

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AFL Executive Director Gene Hamilton said in a statement that “if the 'watchdog' is just a partisan bulldog, it doesn't deserve to exist.”

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