By Rita Li
A group of New York Republicans is pressing the Department of Justice to investigate state Attorney General Letitia James, whom former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley has accused of leaking a list of donors to her policy advocacy group.
In a Tuesday letter to Attorney General Merrick Garland, firstly obtained by Fox News, Congresswoman Nicole Malliotakis (R-N.Y.), alongside five other House GOPs, expressed their “distinct concern” of the potential “delivery, receipt, and publication” of private donor identities of the conservative not-for-profit group Stand For America(SFA), which could have violated federal law.
“As release of these records creates a dangerous precedent for the political weaponization of NYAGO, the US Department of Justice [DOJ] must investigate the malicious delivery of SFA donor information by NYAGO to an outside politically aligned organization to protect the safety and privacy of all nonprofit donor organizations registered in New York,” the lawmakers said.
A stamp from the New York Attorney General’s charity office appeared on the last page of the leaked filings.
Haley accused James’ office in late August of breaking tax laws over the leakage against her nonprofit, seeing it as an attempt to intimidate conservative donors. The tax filings reveal the group’s funders who made anonymous contributions to the former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, including a wealthy New Jersey family and some major donors of the Republican Party.
“It is imperative that the DOJ evaluate and ascertain whether protections extended to organizations such as SFA were violated with political motivation to mitigate potential erosions of the rights to free speech afforded under the First Amendment,” the six lawmakers wrote in the Oct. 11 letter.
The Republicians also noted that “willful disclosure” of the tax return information and schedule of contributors to any unauthorized persons “is considered a felonious offense punishable by fine, imprisonment,” or a combination of both.
“As the NYAGO would be normally tasked with the investigation of such a matter and the office’s potential involvement in this troubling situation,” wrote the lawmakers, “the DOJ must conduct an immediate investigation to avoid any impartiality and ensure equal justice is afforded to SFA and any other nonprofit organization that maybe impacted by similar matters in the future.”
Joining the Tuesday letter are the state’s GOP Reps. Elise Stefanik, John Katko, Andrew Garbarino, Claudia Tenney, and Chris Jacobs.
The DOJ and James’ office did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Politico ‘Not Authorized’
The Haley team previously attempted to hold back the Politico story, saying the outlet “was not authorized to receive the confidential tax return information, nor is it entitled to print, publish, or even retain it,” according to the August report.
“This disclosure of a confidential tax return was clearly a corrupt violation of state and federal law to try to intimidate conservative donors,” Haley wrote via Twitter following the leakage.
“Liberals have always weaponized government against conservatives, and Republicans have been too nice for too long. We will make sure the buck stops here,” her post reads.