Fani Willis Faces Possible Contempt of Congress Proceedings Over Subpoena Non-Compliance
Fani Willis Faces Possible Contempt of Congress Proceedings Over Subpoena Non-Compliance

By Tom Ozimek

House Republicans have notified Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis that she could face contempt of Congress proceedings for alleged non-compliance with a subpoena to produce records related to her office’s use of federal funds related to her case against former President Donald Trump.

House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) has threatened to initiate contempt of Congress proceedings against Ms. Willis, with the Republican lawmaker accusing the Fulton County DA in a March 14 letter of failing to fully comply with the Feb. 2 subpoena and of smearing a “brave whistleblower” who spoke out about her alleged misuse of federal fund grants.

The subpoena is the result of a Washington Free Beacon report that claimed that the whistleblower—a former employee in Ms. Willis’s office—was demoted after she warned Ms. Willis about her alleged use of federal grant funds that were supposed to be used for the prevention of gang activity but were instead used for trips and laptops.

“Instead of using these federal grant funds for the intended purpose of helping at-risk youths, your office sought to use the grant funds to ‘get Macbooks … swag … and use it for travel,’” Mr. Jordan wrote in a Feb. 2 letter to Ms. Willis. “Moreover, the whistleblower’s direct supervisor stated that these planned expenditures ‘were part of your vision.’”

In that letter, Mr. Jordan said that last summer, the committee asked Ms. Willis to provide documents regarding her use of federal funds but that she had “failed to comply voluntarily” with any of the requests, even after the committee sent her two letters.

Accordingly, Mr. Jordan issued a subpoena to Ms. Willis on Feb. 2 requesting that she produce a series of specific records and documents related to the use of federal funds or allegations regarding their misuse. In his March 14 letter, Mr. Jordan said Ms. Willis only partially complied with that subpoena.

“We appreciate that you have produced a narrow set of documents in response to the subpoena, but your compliance with the subpoena to date is deficient,” Mr. Jordan wrote in the March 14 letter.

He added that if she fails to comply fully, the committee will consider taking further action, “such as the invocation of contempt of Congress proceedings,” and he gave Ms. Willis until March 28 to produce the requested documents.

Ms. Willis’s office didn’t respond to a request for comment, but in a Feb. 23 letter to Mr. Jordan, she called his subpoena “overbroad and unduly burdensome.”

Mr. Jordan also wrote that in her Feb. 23 response letter, Ms. Willis had “smeared” the whistleblower, though he didn’t elaborate, saying only, “We will not dignify your attacks on this brave whistleblower, or your continued attempts to distract from your conduct through misdirection and personal insults.”

Besides possible contempt of Congress proceedings, Ms. Willis is also facing a campaign finance ethics probe and possible disqualification for alleged conflict of interest tied to her romantic relationship with her top prosecutor in the case against President Trump.

Ms. Willis heads the case against President Trump and more than a dozen co-defendants, which the former president has denounced as a politically motivated “witch hunt.”

Fulton County Judge Scott McAfee is expected to rule this week on whether Ms. Willis should be disqualified from the high-profile case.

The Subpoena

The Feb. 2 subpoena that Mr. Jordan sent to Ms. Willis compelled the production of two categories of records. One targeted documents and communications related to her office’s receipt and use of federal funds. The other focused on documents and communications related to allegations of federal fund misuse.

Ms. Willis provided about a dozen award letters from the Department of Justice’s Office of Justice Programs and Office of Violence Against Women and about two dozen screenshots of expense budget summaries that were available to her office.

Mr. Jordan said Ms. Willis failed to produce any documents in several requested categories, including documents and communications relating to allegations of misuse of federal funds and communications among employees of the Fulton County DA’s office regarding the receipt or use of federal grants.

Ms. Willis’s Feb. 23 response letter to the subpoena directed Mr. Jordan’s committee to “engage” with the Department of Justice to obtain the requested documents.

“As a part of our oversight, the Committee has engaged with the Justice Department about its administration of federal grant programs,” Mr. Jordan wrote in the March 14 letter. “The Committee’s separate requests to the Justice Department do not alleviate your legal obligation to comply with the subpoena.”

He also addressed Ms. Willis’s objection to the subpoena as supposedly “overbroad and unduly burdensome,” insisting that the committee has exercised restraint in its request by focusing on a limited time period and prioritizing certain categories of documents.

Earlier, Ms. Willis was accused of engaging in an “improper” relationship with prosecutor Nathan Wade and benefiting from it financially.

Ms. Willis and Mr. Wade have acknowledged their romantic relationship but denied any financial benefit or conflict of interest.

The judge has said that Ms. Willis could be disqualified only if there’s an actual or apparent conflict of interest.

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