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FBI Official Wrongly Accepted Sports Tickets From News Media

Recently retired senior staffer also found to have misled IG investigators.

A senior FBI official violated federal regulations by accepting two tickets to a professional sports event from a TV journalist in 2016, a watchdog found.

The unnamed official, who retired during the course of the investigation, was also found to have misled the Justice Department’s Office of the Inspector General by initially claiming to have paid for the tickets that actually were given as a gift.

The probe stemmed from a tip by text message to the IG in the course of its probe of the 2016 election, a time when the bureau was involved in investigations of both Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton and Republican Donald Trump.

The journalist, also unidentified, regularly covered the FBI and the Justice Department.

“The OIG investigation substantiated, and the senior FBI official acknowledged, that the official accepted two tickets to a professional sports event from the TV correspondent without paying the correspondent for the tickets,” the IG said in a statement. “The OIG found that the senior FBI official lacked candor with the OIG in several respects about the tickets,” having accepted, in an earlier instance, another ticket from that news correspondent and yet another from a different reporter.

Investigators reviewing the official’s records and electronic devices could find no evidence of his paying for the tickets.

Regulations prohibit all federal employees from accepting gifts from prohibited sources, such as members of the media, where, for example, the source seeks official action by the employee’s agency, the source does business or seeks to do business with the employee’s agency, and the source has interests that may be substantially affected by the performance or nonperformance of the employee’s official duties.

Prosecutors declined to bring charges, and the official has resigned.