Republican Senator Chuck Grassley of Iowa reported that at least 665 FBI employees who were under investigation for sexual misconduct (primarily against female employees) left the agency from 2004 to 2020 without ever facing disciplinary action.
This figure includes 45 Senior Executive Service (SES) employees who, although they retired or resigned following an FBI or DOJ Office of Inspector General (OIG) investigation of alleged misconduct, did so prior to the Office of Professional Responsibility's (OPR) issuance of a final disciplinary letter. The information was included in the Department of Justice's Office of Disciplinary Appeals' report titled "Recalls and Resignations During Adjudications of Unwanted Sexual Conduct."
A subsequent DOJ report titled "Inconsistent Adjudication of Non-Consensual Sexual Misconduct" analyzed the implementation of a "zero tolerance policy" by FBI Director Christopher Wray in December 2020, which sought to address sexual misconduct at the FBI.
Grassley's office said that "recent sexual misconduct cases appear to show that OPR's application of this directive generated seemingly random sanctions and disparate treatment, potentially compromising the consistency, fairness, and due process of the FBI's disciplinary system."
Failure to protect against harassment
In a letter sent Wednesday to Attorney General Merrick Garland, Grassley noted that the documents would be exposing the "failure of the Department of Justice and the FBI to protect female employees from sexual harassment and sexual misconduct in the workplace as well as the failure to sufficiently punish employees for that same misconduct."
Grassley said that female FBI employees "should not have to suffer daily abuse and misconduct by their colleagues and supervisors," adding:
Congress has an obligation to perform an objective and independent review of the Justice Department’s and FBI’s failures and determine the accuracy of the data contained in the documents so that the American people know and understand what, if any, changes have been made to solve these significant problems.
According to the Washington Examiner, the FBI responded to Grassley's claims:
The FBI looks critically at ourselves and will continue to make improvements. The bottom line is, employees who commit gross misconduct and sexual harassment have no place in the FBI... We prioritize investigation and adjudication of sexual harassment and misconduct cases, and when allegations of sexual harassment are substantiated, FBI employees face severe consequences, including permanent demotion, removal from supervisory ranks, or termination.