WASHINGTON (AP) — Massachusetts U.S. Attorney Rachael Rollins formally resigned Friday after wide-ranging investigations by two federal watchdog agencies found she sought to use her position to influence a local election and lied to investigators.
In a letter to President Joe Biden obtained by The Associated Press, Rollins thanked the White House for supporting her during her contentious nomination process and said she wishes the administration “the best of luck in the months and years ahead.”
Her resignation comes two days after the release of scathing reports from the Justice Department’s inspector general and another watchdog outlined a litany of alleged misconduct by the top federal law enforcement officer in Massachusetts.
The Associated Press first reported on Tuesday that Rollins would be stepping down from the prestigious federal post that has occasionally served as a springboard to higher office. Her lawyer, Michael Bromwich, a former Justice Department inspector general, said she “understands that her presence has become a distraction.”
The Associated Press revealed in November that the inspector general had opened an ethics investigation into Rollins after she was photographed last July at a Democratic National Committee fundraiser featuring first lady Jill Biden. The probe quickly expanded to explore other issues, including her use of her personal cellphone for Justice Department business.
It’s a stunning downfall for Rollins, who praised by powerful Democrats and seen as a rising progressive star when she was nominated to the post in 2021.
She was the first woman of color to be elected district attorney in Massachusetts and the first Black woman to serve as the state’s U.S. attorney. She was elected district attorney for Suffolk County, which includes Boston, in 2018 on promise to decline prosecution for certain low-level crimes, drawing the ire of police and business groups.
She was vigorously supported by Massachusetts’ U.S. senators and twice needed Vice President Kamala Harris to beak a tie in the Senate to win confirmation amid stiff opposition from Republicans, who slammed her progressive policies as district attorney as radical and dangerous.