Merrick Garland’s Memo on ‘Election 12 months Sensitivity’: Full Transcript

US Legal professional Basic Merrick Garland issued a memo on Could 25 extending a Division of Justice coverage from 2020 that requires investigators to clear any investigations into presidential candidates or their workers with the legal professional basic.

MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow revealed the existence of the memo on her present on Monday. The memo reiterates a coverage launched by former Legal professional Basic William Barr in 2020 throughout former President Donald Trump’s administration.

That coverage requires investigators to acquire written approval from the legal professional basic earlier than opening any investigation into declared candidates for president or vp, a presidential marketing campaign or a senior presidential marketing campaign member or adviser.

Information in regards to the memo comes as Garland has confronted stress to deliver potential fees towards Trump amid the Home of Representatives’ Choose Committee investigation of the January 6, 2021 Capitol riot.

Trump has repeatedly hinted he’ll run for president once more in 2024 however he is made no formal announcement to this point.

Garland’s memo had the topic line “Election 12 months Sensitivity.” Newsweek has requested the Division of Justice for remark. Right here is the total transcript of the memo.


Division of Justice workers are entrusted with the authority to implement the legal guidelines of the US and with the accountability to take action in a impartial and neutral method. That is significantly essential in an election yr. Now that the 2022 election season is upon us, and as in prior election cycles, I’m issuing this memorandum to remind you of the Division’s present insurance policies with respect to political actions.


The Division of Justice has a robust curiosity within the prosecution of election-related crimes, resembling these involving federal and state marketing campaign finance legal guidelines, federal patronage legal guidelines, and corruption of the election course of. As Division workers, nonetheless, we should be significantly delicate to safeguarding the Division’s popularity for equity, neutrality, and non-partisanship.

Merely put, partisan politics should play no function within the choices of federal investigators or prosecutors concerning any investigations or legal fees. Legislation enforcement officers and prosecutors could by no means choose the timing of public statements (attributed or not), investigative steps, legal fees, or some other motion in any matter or case for the aim of affecting any election, or for the aim of giving a bonus or drawback to any candidate or political celebration. Such a function, or the looks of such a function, is inconsistent with the Division’s mission and with the Rules of Federal Prosecution.

For those who face a problem, or the looks of a problem, concerning the timing of statements, investigative steps, fees, or different actions close to the time of a major or basic election, contact the Public Integrity Part of the Felony Division (“PIN” ) for additional steerage. Such session can also be required at varied levels of all legal issues that target violations of federal and state campaign-finance legal guidelines, federal patronage crimes, and corruption of the election course of. Extra detailed steerage is out there in Sections 1-4 and 9-85 of the Justice Handbook at studying room/usam/.

Lastly, Division workers should additionally adhere to the extra necessities issued by the Legal professional Basic on February 5, 2020, governing the opening of legal and counter intelligence investigations by the Division, together with its regulation enforcement businesses, associated to politically delicate people and entities.

See Memorandum of Legal professional Basic William Barr, Further Necessities for the Opening of Sure Delicate Investigations, February 5, 2020 (“February 2020 AG Memorandum”). Any questions concerning the scope or necessities of the February 2020 AG Memorandum needs to be directed to PIN.

Merrick Garland Speaks to Reporters
US Legal professional Basic Merrick Garland speaks to reporters earlier than assembly with members of the workforce that may conduct the essential incident evaluate of the regulation enforcement response to mass taking pictures in Uvalde, Texas, at Justice Division headquarters on June 8, 2022 in Washington, DC. Garland issued a memo on Could 25 extending an election yr coverage launched in 2020.
Chip Somodevilla/Getty Pictures


As you’re conscious, the Hatch Act typically prohibits Division workers from partaking in partisan political exercise whereas on obligation, in a federal facility, or utilizing federal property. Please word that this prohibition contains utilizing the Web at work for any political actions. The Act additionally prohibits us from utilizing our authority for the aim of affecting election outcomes; soliciting (or discouraging) political participation; soliciting, accepting, or receiving political contributions; and usually from working as a candidate in a partisan election.

Along with restrictions on what Division workers could and should not do whereas on obligation, whereas utilizing authorities property, and in off-duty actions, sure workers are additional restricted from partaking in sure political exercise even whereas not on obligation. The diploma to which an worker is restricted in his/her off obligation actions will depend on his/her place, with additional restrictions making use of to members of the profession SES, administrative regulation judges, Felony Investigators and Explosives Enforcement Officers of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms, non-career appointees within the Division, and workers of the Felony Division, Nationwide Safety Division, and the Federal Bureau of Investigation. If you’re unclear on these restrictions or the classification of your place, please seek the advice of together with your part’s designated ethics official in regards to the limits of permissible exercise previous to partaking in any political exercise.

You can too go to the Justice Administration Division’s Ethics web page at for extra detailed info, which incorporates the newest steerage issued by the Assistant Legal professional Basic for Administration and hyperlinks to memoranda issued to each profession workers and non-career appointees dated June 10, 2020.

It’s essential that every of us complies with the Hatch Act and the ideas set out on this memorandum to make sure that the general public retains its confidence that we’re adhering to our accountability to manage justice in a impartial method. The Division’s popularity for equity and impartiality relies upon upon it.


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