Former DOJ official who alleged election fraud violated at least one ethics rule, ethics committee says

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AP Jeffrey Clark

Jeffrey Clark, then-assistant attorney general for the U.S. Department of Justice’s Environment and Natural Resources Division, speaks during a news conference in Washington, D.C., on Sept. 14, 2020. (Photo by Susan Walsh/The Associated Press)

Former U.S. Department of Justice official Jeffrey Clark violated at least one ethics rule in connection with his false claims of election fraud during the 2020 presidential election, according to a preliminary finding announced Thursday by an ethics hearing committee.

The preliminary finding is not binding, according to the three-person committee of the D.C. Bar’s Board on Professional Responsibility. It will prepare a report and recommendation that will be forwarded to the board.

Law360, Reuters and Politico have coverage.

The ethics charges against Clark allege that he tried to engage in conduct involving dishonesty by trying to send a letter to Georgia officials with false statements about election fraud, and that he tried to engage in conduct that would seriously interfere with the administration of justice.

The draft letter claimed that the DOJ had “identified significant concerns that may have impacted the outcome of the election in multiple states, including the state of Georgia.”

Clark, who was the acting chief of the DOJ’s Civil Division, had asked other officials to sign the letter, but they refused.

During an ethics hearing that included six days of testimony, Clark’s lawyer argued that his client was being accused of a “thought crime.” There was an internal debate, and the letter was never sent, said lawyer Harry W. MacDougald.

According to Politico, the preliminary finding “jump-starts a process that could lead to the suspension or even permanent revocation of Clark’s license to practice law, even as he’s considered a candidate for a senior position in a second Trump administration.”

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