James Comey’s contact for the leaked memos of his private conversations with President Trump has confirmed that he was given a special government status.
Columbia law professor Daniel Richman previously worked as an unpaid “special government employee” (SGE) for the former FBI director, Fox News reported.
“I did indeed have SGE status with the Bureau (for no pay),” Richman told Fox News in an email in response to questions about the scope of his work with the FBI.
According to Fox News:
Richman emerged last year as the former FBI director’s contact for leaking memos documenting his private discussions with President Trump – memos that are now the subject of an inspector general review over the presence of classified material. Sources familiar with Richman’s status at the FBI told Fox News that he was assigned to “special projects” by Comey, and had a security clearance as well as badge access to the building. Richman’s status was the subject of a Memorandum of Understanding.
While Richman’s portfolio included the use of encrypted communications by terror suspects, the sources said Richman also was sent talking points about the FBI’s handling of the Hillary Clinton email investigation.
A special government employee is “an officer or employee who is retained, designated, appointed, or employed to perform temporary duties, with or without compensation, for not more than 130 days during any period of 365 consecutive days,” according to the Office of Government Ethics.
Richman’s special FBI status emerged when Comey’s former chief of staff, James Rybicki, testified before the House oversight and judiciary committees, Rep. Jim Jordan noted on Fox News’ “Sunday Morning Futures with Maria Bartiromo.”
“During that deposition, it was brought out that Daniel Richman, the guy who information was leaked through to The New York Times, had this special status called special government employee status, where he could sort of come and go in the FBI,” the Ohio Republican said. “It seems kind of interesting that the guy who Comey leaks to is a good friend, who had this sort of unfettered access into the FBI.”
Rep. Mark Meadows also thinks Richman’s special status was questionable.
“It’s certainly interesting that Director Comey would offer a special job and give full access to his friend when there are 35,000 employees at the FBI. And it isn’t just that he gave these memos to a friend–he gave them to another FBI employee he had hand-picked to act as a ‘special government employee’ of the FBI. The question becomes: how many other people did he give these memos to?” the North Carolina Republican told Fox News.
Richman initially declined to comment when Fox News reached out to him last week but responded to more “detailed questions about his responsibilities under the ‘special projects’ portfolio — and whether they included the Clinton investigation, the Russian counter-intelligence probe, and contact with the media on behalf of senior FBI leadership,” Fox News reported.
The Columbia Law School bio page for Richman indicates that he “served as a consultant to the Department of Justice” and he is “currently an adviser to FBI Director James B. Comey.”
Questions were also directed to the FBI regarding Richman’s “responsibilities under the ‘special projects’ mandate, his security clearance, physical access to the bureau and whether he was the only special government employee during Comey’s tenure,” according to Fox News, which reported that a spokesperson said “the FBI has employed a number of ‘special government employees’ on an unpaid basis, and challenged the notion anyone has ‘unfettered’ FBI access.”
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