Senator Tom Cotton Puts Merrick Garland, Politicized DOJ on Notice: Sends Letter Telling DOJ Employees They Have a Right to Be Whistleblowers

Attorney General Merrick Garland, who heads the Department of Justice (DOJ), sent a letter to all DOJ employees warning them against speaking to Congress as whistleblowers. Senator Tom Cotton (R-AR), however, responded by urging employees to “blow the whistle on the improper politicization” of the DOJ.

“In light of the confirmation earlier this month of Carlos Uriarte as Assistant Attorney General for the Office of Legislative Affairs (OLA), this is an appropriate time to reaffirm and remind all Department personnel of our existing policies regarding communications between the Justice Department and Congress,” Garland wrote in his letter to the men and women of the DOJ. “These policies, which can be found at Justice Manual 1-8.000, may be supplemented from time to time with more specific directions for particular components.”

The policy in question, Justice Manual 1-8.000, outlines that DOJ employees are not allowed to communicate with Congress: “Communications between the Department and Congress … will be managed or coordinated by OLA (Office of Legislative Affairs.).”

“Except as provided in this chapter, no Department employee may communicate with Senators, Representatives, congressional committees, or congressional staff,” the provision continues, adding that such communication must be authorized with, “advance coordination, consultation, and approval by OLA.”

Garland continued his letter by explaining that potential whistleblowers could lead to partisan influence such as investigations or questions into what the DOJ is doing: “these policies ‘are designed to protect our criminal and civil law enforcement decisions, and our legal judgments, from partisan or other inappropriate influences, whether real or perceived, direct or indirect.'”

“They are also designed to ‘ensure that Congress may carry out its legitimate investigatory and oversight functions,'” the attorney general concluded, per The Daily Wire. The letter will likely demotivate potential whistleblowers from speaking out and going to Congress, which is supposed to provide oversight over the executive branch.


“DOJ employees, take notice: No matter what this memo says,” Sen. Tom Cotton tweeted in response to Garland’s attempts to dissuade whistleblowers, adding, “you are protected by federal law if you contact my office to blow the whistle on the improper politicization of the Department of Justice by Merrick Garland and Joe Biden.”

The Arkansas senator isn’t the first elected official to point out increased politicization at the DOJ and FBI, some with the help of whistleblowers from both organizations.

Last month, Senator Chuck Grassley (R-IA) sent a letter to FBI Director Christopher Wray in which he accused the law enforcement body of politicizing investigations: “Starting on May 31, 2022, I’ve written three letters to you regarding political bias that has infected the FBI’s Washington Field Office.”

“Two of those letters provided specific and credible allegations based on numerous whistleblowers that have approached my office with information that one can only conclude is indicative of a deeply rooted political infection that has spread to investigative activity into former President Trump and Hunter Biden,” Grassley continued, adding a number of questions centered around Hunter Biden.

“How can verified and verifiable information relating to Hunter Biden’s potential criminality be shared with U.S. Attorney Weiss if it is shut down?” the Iowan asked. “How can the Hunter Biden criminal investigation be full and complete if the FBI improperly shut down verified and verifiable information and sourcing relating to potential criminal activity? How can Congress and the American people trust the results?”

The attorney general’s attempts to dissuade whistleblowers from coming forward and providing Congress with the necessary information that can better inform their oversight of one of the most powerful bodies in Washington, D.C. shows that Garland doesn’t want Congress poking around into the affairs of the organization. In order to better understand the political biases of the organization, however, Congress must act, and brave whistleblowers are essential to shining a light on those pushing their political preferences into ongoing investigations.

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Correction: a previous version of this article had incorrectly listed Tom Cotton listed as the Republican Senator from Alaska. This has since been corrected. 

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