EXCLUSIVE: The U.S. Office of Special Counsel decided a former FBI official violated the Hatch Act in his political posts on social media — the identical official whistleblowers claimed had proven a “pattern of active public partisanship” which “likely affected” investigations involving former President Trump and Hunter Biden.
Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, had referred former Washington, D.C., Field Office FBI assistant particular agent in cost Timothy Thibault amid allegations that he engaged in prohibited political exercise on social media for investigation.
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Grassley’s requires investigation got here after whistleblowers approached his workplace alleging Thibault was instrumental within the opening of the elector investigation into the Trump marketing campaign and its associates based mostly, partly, on info from a left-aligned group.
The whistleblowers alleged that Thibault did so by “circumventing normal process and procedure to open full field investigations.”
Grassley had discovered via whistleblowers that Thibault’s opening memo calling for a full investigation, which was in the end permitted by FBI Director Chris Wray and Attorney General Merrick Garland, allegedly “scrubbed and diluted” particulars of the sources’ political bias.
Fox News Digital additionally had beforehand reported that Thibault “ordered closed” an avenue of “derogatory Hunter Biden reporting” in October 2020.” At the time, Grassley and Sen. Ron Johnson were investigating Hunter Biden’s business dealings. Hunter Biden also was under federal investigation at the time–an investigation beginning in 2018.
The FBI ultimately removed Thibault from his post as an assistant special agent in charge. He later resigned.
Fox News Digital exclusively obtained a letter the Office of Special Counsel sent to Grassley this week.
“This letter responds to your request that the U.S. Department of Justice, Office of the Inspector General, and Federal Bureau of Investigation examine former FBI Assistant Special Agent in Charge Timothy Thibault and allegations that he engaged in prohibited political exercise on social media,” the letter states, noting that the Office of Special Counsel has “unique jurisdiction over civil Hatch Act issues,” and that Grassley’s investigative referral was passed on to its office.
“Although Mr. Thibault has left authorities service, we accomplished our investigation and concluded that he violated the Hatch Act,” the OSC wrote.
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The Hatch Act governs the political activity of all federal civilian executive branch employees and prohibits them from using their official authority or or influence for the purpose of interfering with or affecting the result of an election; knowingly soliciting, accepting, or receiving political contributions from any person; being candidates for public office in partisan elections; and knowingly soliciting or discouraging the political activity of any individual with business before their employing office.
The Hatch Act also prohibits employees from engaging in political activity while on duty, in a federal room or building, wearing an official uniform or insignia, or using a government vehicle.
The OSC explained that employees in agencies like the FBI are “additional restricted” and “prohibited” from participating in partisan political management and campaigning by engaging in activity that is “in live performance” with a political party, partisan political group or candidate for partisan political office.
OSC explained that when applied to social media, employees are restricted from sharing or retweeting messages from partisan political groups because “like conventional leafletting, social media communications additionally promote the group’s message.”
With regard to Thibault’s social media activity, the OSC reviewed his posts on Twitter, now X, and LinkedIn.
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One post was from July 2020, in which Thibault retweeted a post from the Lincoln Project. OSC described the group as a “hybrid political motion committee, which is taken into account a partisan political group.”
“The Lincoln Project’s tweet included an article from The Atlantic entitled, ‘Donald Trump is a Broken Man,’” the OSC states.
“By retweeting the Lincoln Project’s message, Mr. Thibault engaged in modern-day leafletting on social media,” the OSC determined, while noting that even though Thibault was “on go away” at the time he retweeted the post, the Hatch Act prohibits all employees, “even when they’re off responsibility and away from work.”
“Accordingly, as a result of Mr. Thibault shared a message from a partisan political group on Twitter, OSC has conduced that he acted in live performance with a partisan political group, in violation of the Hatch Act,” OSC determined.
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“Mr. Thibault has been warned that if sooner or later he engaged in exercise prohibited by the Hatch Act whereas employed in a Hatch Act-covered place, OSC would think about such exercise to be a willful and realizing violation of the regulation that might end in disciplinary motion,” OSC wrote.
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The letter was signed by Ana Galindo-Marrone, the chief of the Hatch Act Unit in the U.S. Office of Special Counsel.
Grassley told Fox News Digital that the American people “need to have faith that the officers entrusted to steer the highest echelon of our federal regulation enforcement companies should not letting political bias infect their work.”
“These federal workers shouldn’t blur their official enterprise with their political viewpoints,” Grassley stressed, telling Fox News Digital that OSC confirmed that Thibault “failed to satisfy that normal.”
“I’ve warned that this kind of political bias will erode public confidence within the FBI,” Grassley told Fox News Digital. “It’s as much as the bureau to revive that belief via transparency and cooperation with congressional oversight.”