Washington, Feb. 21, 2020—Federal prosecutors should investigate Rudy Giuliani for criminally violating the Hatch Act, according to a complaint filed today by Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) with the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York. Evidence suggests that Giulani, who is President Trump’s personal attorney, manipulated federal funds–specifically aid to Ukraine–for partisan political purposes, which is prohibited by the act.
Giuliani and his potential co-conspirators likely violated the Hatch Act by threatening to withhold congressionally-authorized security assistance to Ukraine to pressure Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to announce investigations that would be politically beneficial to Giuliani’s client, President Trump. The Southern District of New York is reportedly currently conducting a criminal investigation into Giuliani’s activities.
“Rudy Giuliani’s efforts in Ukraine to advance the political interests of President Trump led to the President’s impeachment, but they also violated our country’s criminal laws,” said CREW Executive Director Noah Bookbinder. “Holding up hundreds of millions of dollars in money Congress appropriated to keep America safe in order to advance a partisan political agenda is not only dangerous and anti-democratic, it also violates a key federal law meant to prevent the powers of the federal government from being used for political gain.”
The Hatch Act broadly prohibits the manipulation of federal funds and federal programs to advance a partisan agenda, including prohibiting anyone from causing anyone else to make a contribution of anything of value to a candidate by denying or threatening to deny any federal payment or benefit of a program authorized by Congress. Publicly available information, including testimony in the impeachment inquiry of President Trump, contains significant evidence that Giuliani and others unlawfully threatened President Zelensky with the denial of $391 million in congressionally-authorized security assistance unless Zelensky publicly announced investigations into the dealings of former Vice President Joe Biden and a conspiracy theory about the 2016 U.S. presidential elections. Giuliani and Trump have consistently pushed the debunked theory that it was Ukraine, not Russia, that interfered in the 2016 presidential election.
“The Southern District of New York should conduct a speedy and thorough investigation into any potentially criminal behavior by Rudy Giuliani and his cohorts that may have threatened the democratic foundations and national security interests of the United States,” said Bookbinder.