Feinstein May Face Ethics Probe Over Leak of Ford Letter

Feinstein Kavanaugh probe ethicsThe investigations into Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh appear to have concluded, but other investigations could open into two members of Congress who sought to block his confirmation.

Eight House Republicans have asked for ethics investigations of Sen. Dianne Feinstein and Rep. Anna Eshoo, as well as the staffs of the two California Democrats. The subject: the leak of the unredacted letter from Christine Blasey Ford accusing Kavanaugh of sexually assaulting her when the two were teenagers.

“It would shock me if this wasn’t an ethics violation,” Rep. Ralph Norman, R-S.C., one of the House members who signed a letter requesting an ethics probe, told The Daily Signal.

“This was a violation against Dr. Ford, who requested the letter be confidential,” Norman said. “Sen. Feinstein ought to be outraged that it leaked.”

Feinstein, the ranking member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, denied in a Monday statement that she or her staff leaked the letter from Ford, 51, a research psychologist and college professor.

“President Trump and Senate Republicans are trying to deflect attention from Brett Kavanaugh’s sexual assault allegations by saying my staff or I leaked the letter from Dr. Christine Blasey Ford—they’re wrong,” Feinstein said in the statement.

Norman said Congress needs answers.

“If Sen. Feinstein didn’t do it, then who did?” Norman asked. “You only have to put people under oath. … This letter didn’t go to 10 people. It went to two people—initially. It should be easy to backtrack from there [to find out] who else gained access to the letter and who leaked it.”

Spokespersons for Feinstein and Eshoo did not respond to phone and email inquiries for this report.

Besides Norman, the seven other House Republicans who sent separate letters to the House and Senate ethics committees are Reps. Andy Biggs of Arizona; Steve King of Iowa; Jeff Duncan of South Carolina; Bob Gibbs of Ohio; Ralph Norman of South Carolina; Rod Blum of Iowa; and Louie Gohmert of Texas.

The letters are almost identical, but the letter to the House committee asks for an investigation of Eshoo and the one to the Senate committee asks for an investigation of Feinstein.

The letters read:

Leaking Dr. Ford’s letter was a cynically political act that is damaging to the credibility of the United States Congress. Deliberately outing Dr. Ford without her consent may have a lasting impact on women’s willingness to report future assaults.

Democratic members of Congress and their staffs placed political expediency above the wishes of Dr. Ford. For these reasons, we are calling for an immediate ethics investigation to identify the individuals who are responsible for this breach and take appropriate action.

Both the House and Senate have rules prohibiting disclosure of confidential information.

Ford has said she first contacted Eshoo in July about the assault, which she first said occurred in the early 1980s before specifying 1982. Eshoo delivered her letter to Feinstein.

Ford’s letter likely qualifies as confidential because she requested confidentiality and Feinstein has said she guaranteed confidentiality to her.

Rule 29(5) of the Standing Rules of the Senate states:

Any Senator, officer, or employee of the Senate who shall disclose the secret or confidential business or proceedings of the Senate, including the business and proceedings of the committees, subcommittees, and offices of the Senate, shall be liable, if a Senator, to suffer expulsion from the body; and if an officer or employee, to dismissal from the service of the Senate, and to punishment for contempt.

An employee’s violation of Rule 29(5) is grounds for termination, according to a Senate source, who said this could be a criminal matter since the leak likely violates a memorandum of understanding about information shared between the executive branch and Congress.

The House ethics rules state:

The ‘Privacy Act’ protects the records maintained by government agencies from disclosure, except for specified purposes or with the permission of the person to whom the record pertains.36 Although the statute does permit disclosure ‘to either House of Congress,’ some agencies require Members to show written consent from their constituents before they will release the constituents’ records to the Members. The Privacy Act does not apply to congressional documents. Historically, however, communications between Members and constituents have been considered confidential and should generally not be made public without the constituent’s consent.

Tom Rust, chief counsel and staff director of the House Ethics Committee, and Amanda Maddox, spokeswoman for the Senate Ethics Committee, both declined to comment to The Daily Signal about matters that may come before the committees.

“This is not a small matter,” Norman said. “What if someone had a national security matter, and felt the need to take it only to Sen. Feinstein? There is a public interest at stake that goes beyond this particular document. If you can’t maintain confidentiality with this, what else could be breached?”

Sen. Tom Cotton, R-Ark., called for an investigation during an appearance Sunday on CBS News’ “Face the Nation.”

The chronology of the Ford letter has been an issue.

Ford testified to the Senate Judiciary Committee that she provided a July 30 letter to Eshoo, who delivered it to Feinstein.

In the letter, Ford asked that she remain anonymous. The next day, Feinstein confirmed that she would not share Ford’s letter without her consent.

During the Kavanaugh confirmation hearings in early September, no Democrat on the Judiciary Committee raised sexual misconduct as an issue.

However, after the hearing concluded, on Sept. 12, The Intercept reported on the existence of the letter, which previously was known only to Ford, Eshoo, Feinstein, and an unknown number of the lawmakers’ staff members.

On Sept. 13, a week before a scheduled committee vote on sending the Kavanaugh nomination to the Senate floor, Feinstein referred the letter to the FBI.

On Sept. 16, The Washington Post named Ford as making the allegation.

The FBI could have looked into the allegation well before the Kavanaugh hearings began.

Feinstein said she didn’t disclose the letter to Judiciary Chairman Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, because Ford had asked for it to remain private.

However, three days after Feinstein referred Ford’s letter to the FBI, CNN published an unredacted version of the letter.

During her Sept. 27 Senate testimony, Ford said under oath that she didn’t consent to any of the disclosures.

Reprinted with permission from - The Daily Signal - by Fred Lucas

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peter einarson
4 years ago

my question is how can these women come out of the woodwork 30 or 40 years back, what ever happened to the statute of limits {7 yrs } I also thought that a person was innocent until proven quilty not having to prove his or her innocence : in the case of feinstein what a great advocate for term limits

4 years ago

I don’t care who “leaked” it. The false accusations have been planned by the DNC for two years, giving Ford time to be given acting lessons so she could get people to sympathize with her story. What should be investigated is why Feinstein waited until the hearings to release it! I think the dimocrats wanted to get rid of her so they can replace her with a further left progressive. They convinced her that she could get back into good graces with the party if she carried the water on this. She’s so senile and stupid she fell for it. If things get too hot they’ll throw her under the bus in seconds.

Timothy Bowling
4 years ago

We need to get rid of these California democrats SOON!

4 years ago

Sen. Feinstein out to be outraged the letter leaked? Dr. Ford requested it be kept confidential? Come on, don’t you realize by now that liberals will stop at nothing? This was all part of their plan all along! Please don’t stop any investigations or inquiries just because Kavanaugh was confirmed. Request more! The only way to get to the truth is to expose that evil lurking in the shadows. And in the end, I’ll bet we uncover the fact that either clinton or obama (or both) came up with the idea and put it into action.

4 years ago

The timing of the leak leaves open the possibility that someone within the FBI leaked the letter. The source of the leak ought to be investigated, but it is not a foregone conclusion that either Senator Feinstein, Representative Eshoo, or any of their staff leaked the letter. It is also possible that either Christine Ford or one of her pro bono lawyers leaked the letter. What is clear is that Senator Feinstein had ample opportunity to request a discreet investigation weeks before the leak that could have preserved Christine Ford’s privacy and failed to do so, and she owes the public an explanation.

Dave Leja
4 years ago

I would have to see it to believe it. So many of the communist in the doj, dnc, fbi, hillart, barack, polosi, feinstien, waters… have broken laws. Nothing has been done. We don’t need to be told they broke the law. We need to hear “they just arrested… “

4 years ago

Di. Fi. And husband have stolen this country blind She should be investigated.

4 years ago

Should be a short investigation since Feinstein has no ethics!

4 years ago

If there is no ethics probe over Feinstein’s behavior, this kind of behavior will not only continue, but will get worse because the Democrats will be emboldened by the lack of being held accountable for their actions!! I would really like to see some actions taken against Maxine Waters and any others who have condoned or encouraged violence of any kind against conservatives. I would also like to see something done concerning age limits for Congressmen and Senators as well as term limits!!

4 years ago

Dianne Feinstein had an awful lot to say, until it came time to explain how the story was leaked. Then suddenly she was astonishingly quiet.

Christopher R. Baker
4 years ago

I believe Feinstein lied about it just like she has so many things. She has been a thorn in the sides of honorable people for far to long and like Schumer and Pelosi and many others of her ilk they all need to be sent packing. Their hypocrisy is astounding.

Irv C
4 years ago

It’s about time some of these left wingnuts get investigated and prosecuted. It’s actually PAST TIME.

4 years ago

We can only hope that the Republicans finally found that backbone for a change!

Phil in TX
4 years ago

Sounds to me like there is a leak at the FBI. What a surprise!

Phil in TX

4 years ago

Anyone complaining about an ethnics probe investigation aren’t viewing the actions done in the proper sense. Those elected officials should be extremely careful as they clearly violated procedures which if they were in a business setting would have be grounds for instant suspension followed by a termination. Ask any HR department.

4 years ago

Someone needs to investigate RI Senator Sheldon Whitehouse about his connection and involvement in this latest lie by Jeffrey Catalan, a RI resident, against Judge Kavanaugh. Catalan accused Kavanaugh of raping a woman on a boat in Newport, RI in 1985. Whitehouse claims that Catalan called him and Whitehouse instructed Catalan to go to the newspapers with this false allegation.

Sometime later when pressured, Catalan admitted he lied and made up the entire story. It appears Senator Grassley is referring Catalan to the DOJ for prosecution. Whitehouse is trying to stop Grassley’s referral.

Knowing of Whitehouse”s misuse of his office in the Senate, for instance when he used his office to call and urge the IRS to harass people he did not like, his connection to Catalan in this case should be investigated to see if he was involved in this disgusting scheme with Jeffery Catalan.

Jim Scofield
4 years ago

I am reminded of the Iran Contra hearings when then Senator Inoway from Hawaii asked Col Oliver North
if he trusted the Senate Col North’s reply was perfect You guys leak like a sieve. We can only hope that a
True investigation will uncover all of the people involved and end up getting a bunch of the Socialist Democrats
kicked out of the Senate and the House.

vernon wederbrook
4 years ago

an investigation into Senator Feinstein? it wont happen, and if it does? nothing will come of it. the republicans as a group are either spineless, or part of the problem, with a few notable exceptions.

Disruptive Element
4 years ago

“May Face” -When they start saying “Is Facing” then we may get somewhere in straightening things out. In addition, where is the investigation into the groups sending out these so called protesters and how much they being payed. Someone needs to expose that.

4 years ago

Good! The bitch deserves time
In the hArd luck pen

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