DOJ’s Kristen Clarke hit with criminal referral, ethics complaints for ‘perjury,’ ‘false statements’

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Kristen Clarke, assistant attorney general for the Civil Rights Division at the U.S. Department of Justice, testifies during a House Judiciary Committee hearing Tuesday, Dec. 4, 2023. (Video screenshot)
Kristen Clarke, assistant attorney general for the Civil Rights Division at the U.S. Department of Justice, testifies during a House Judiciary Committee hearing Tuesday, Dec. 4, 2023.

[Editor’s note: This story originally was published by The Daily Signal.]

By Mary Margaret Olohan
The Daily Signal

FIRST ON THE DAILY SIGNAL—The Justice Department’s Kristen Clarke, assistant attorney general for civil rights, will be hit with three ethics complaints and a criminal referral Monday, The Daily Signal has learned.

Article III Project is filing both the ethics complaints and criminal referral, which calls upon Attorney General Merrick Garland to open a criminal probe into Clarke on the grounds that she “knowingly and willfully” made “materially false statements” and that she committed “perjury.”

“There is ample evidence to support this referral for false statements and perjury,” Mike Davis, founder and president of Article III Project, said in the criminal referral. Davis’ organization is focused on defending constitutionalist judges, opposing radical judicial nominees, and pushing back on “radical assaults on judicial independence” such as court-packing.

The filings follow an April 30 report from The Daily Signal revealing for the first time that Clarke hid her arrest for a domestic violence incident and its subsequent expungement from investigators when she was awaiting Senate confirmation to her high-ranking Justice Department post.

Her ex-husband, Reginald Avery, has told The Daily Signal that Clarke attacked him with a knife, slicing his finger to the bone, while they were married in 2006. That record was later expunged, The Daily Signal confirmed.

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Asked by Sen. Tom Cotton, R-Ark., during her confirmation, “Since becoming a legal adult, have you ever been arrested for or accused of committing a violent crime against any person?” she responded, “No,” according to a 66-page document she submitted under oath to “Questions for the Record” from senators.

Clarke has not responded to requests for comment from The Daily Signal, though the DOJ previously acknowledged receipt of these requests. Following The Daily Signal’s initial report, Clarke told CNN she hid the arrest during her Senate confirmation but then alleged she was the victim of domestic violence at the hands of her ex-husband.

Avery told The Daily Signal he did not abuse his ex-wife.

“Avery has accused Kristen Clarke of a violent crime,” the Article III Project criminal referral states. “He also has alleged that local Maryland police arrested her. Police and court records corroborate the occurrence of the arrest.”

“Most crucially, Kristen Clarke acknowledged it in her statement to reporter Hannah Rabinowitz of CNN,” the criminal referral continues. “Kristen Clarke answered Senator Cotton’s question under oath in a manner contrary to her admission three years later.”

That criminal referral calls Clarke’s conduct “egregious,” arguing that Cotton asked her a straightforward question that she “willfully” and “knowingly” gave a false answer to.

“Kristen Clarke claims that she had an ‘option’ not to disclose this incident,” Davis continues in the referral. “This assertion shows an utter disregard for the role of the United States Senate in evaluating the worthiness of a nominee for confirmation. Neither Kristen Clarke nor the State of Maryland is entitled to decide what information the Senate deserves to know. That prerogative lies with the Senate. Senator Cotton asked a routine question, and Kristen Clarke failed to answer it honestly.”

That referral also points out that Garland has repeatedly stated that “nobody is above the law,” including former President Donald Trump.

“But,” Davis said, “with Garland’s refusal to take any action more than seven weeks after uncontroverted evidence and public reporting of Kristen Clarke’s perjury to the Senate, it is very clear Kristen Clarke is above the law.”

Article III Project also filed ethics complaints with the New York and Washington, D.C., offices of disciplinary counsel, as well as with the DOJ’s Office of Professional Responsibility.

The DOJ and Washington ethics complaints note that Clarke, like every other nominee who requires confirmation by the Senate, had to answer a series of questions under oath in both in writing and verbally.

“Kristen Clarke’s knowingly and willfully false answer to one of these questions constitutes the basis for this complaint,” the complaint to the DOJ states.

The New York ethics complaint accuses Clarke of violating the state’s code of professional conduct that prohibits lawyers from “engaging in illegal conduct that adversely reflects on the lawyer’s honesty, trustworthiness, or fitness as a lawyer.”

It also argues that Clarke’s “unambiguous answer to Senator Cotton’s question was dishonest because she denied an accusation and an arrest that had occurred”—a “misrepresentation” that was “material because such an accusation bears on the character and fitness of a nominee for a powerful government position, especially one that involves enforcement of our laws.”

“Kristen Clarke’s misrepresentation is aggravated by her continuing refusal to acknowledge it three years later,” the New York ethics complaint states. “Instead, she maintains that the Senate was not entitled to know the truth about the July 4, 2006, incident.”

The Daily Signal’s reporting on Clarke prompted calls for her to resign from Utah Sen. Mike Lee, a Republican, the New York Post Editorial Board, and others. In early May, a group of conservative leaders called on Clarke to resign from her leadership position in a letter they sent to the high-ranking DOJ official.

“The American people have lost trust in your ability to lead the Civil Rights Division,” reads the letter to Clarke signed by Advancing American Freedom Executive Director Paul Teller, American Accountability Foundation’s Tom Jones, Students for Life President Kristan Hawkins, and CatholicVote President Brian Burch. “We request that you resign immediately.”

That letter repeatedly references The Daily Signal’s reporting and includes a copy of the original story. It also points to Clarke’s enforcement of the Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances Act, also known as the FACE Act, against pro-life activists.

“The American people deserve a Civil Rights Division at the U.S. Department of Justice led with honesty and integrity,” the letter says. “Since taking over the Civil Rights Division, you have weaponized the Department of Justice by wielding the FACE Act against pro-life Americans in an unprecedented manner—even while standing idly by as churches and pro-life pregnancy centers are vandalized and Jewish students are unable to attend class on college campuses.”

[Editor’s note: This story originally was published by The Daily Signal.]

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