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SWAMP: FBI Press Officer Accepted Baseball Tickets From CNN Reporter

Michael Kortan was the FBI’s press officer during the 2016 election.

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New reporting from the Daily Caller has revealed that the FBI’s former chief press officer was forced to resign last year, after lying to the Department of Justice’s inspector general about accepting baseball tickets from a CNN reporter.

Michael Kortan was formerly the FBI’s assistant director of public affairs. He resigned from the agency in 2018, while under investigation from the Office of the Inspector General. The DOJ’s watchdog entity had discovered text messages in which Kortan agreed to accept baseball tickets to two Washington Nationals games during May and September 2016 from a CNN reporter. A report from the Office of the Inspector General describes Kortan as displaying a “lack of candor” during two interviews he was subjected to on the matter, suggesting that Kortan lied about accepting the gifts from a forbidden source.

Kortan also accepted baseball tickets from a New York Times reporter in 2014 and 2016. The anonymous CNN reporter who evidently provided gifts to the bureaucrat was apparently considered one of his top press contacts, suggesting that he or she may have been privy to confidential agency information that should have been kept private.

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Nats v Marlins Friday night. I have to be away. Can you use four tix?” Said one text from the CNN operative.

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Kortan seemed relatively shameless in his response, accepting a gift that most professionals committed to ethics would quickly decline.

“I’m good for 2 tix if that’s OK.”

The Department of Justice ultimately didn’t prosecute Kortan for the breach of FBI rules, possibly because of his decision to resign from the agency.

FBI agents are strictly prohibited from receiving gifts from “prohibited sources,” who include journalists who cover the agency’s operations. It goes without saying that a high-ranking public affairs agent is totally forbidden from taking baseball tickets from CNN and New York Times reporters.

The FBI has struggled to retain its image as a neutral and non-partisan law enforcement agency, following years of scandals in which agency personnel were busted trying to interfere in partisan politics and national elections.

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IT’S REAL: Four New Jersey Democrats Charged With Election Fraud in Mail-In Ballot Scheme

They’re all Democrats.

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Four men, two of whom are Democratic city council members, have been charged with running a voter fraud operation in the town of Paterson, New Jersey.

New Jersey Attorney General Gurbir Grewal announced charges of mail-in voting fraud, election fraud, and illegal possession of mail-in ballots against Michael Jackson, Alex Mendez, Shelim Khalique, and Abu Rayzen.

Jackson is an active city councilman, while Mendez is a councilman-elect. Khalique is the brother of another Paterson city councilman, and Rayzen is a campaign operative for Khalique’s brother, Shahin Khalique.

The charges allege that Jackson took it upon himself to pick up completed mail-in ballots from voters in the city and delivered them to the Passaic County Board of Elections. Jackson failed to disclose to the board of elections that he delivered ballots for that he’s a city council member, and in one case, a ballot that he picked up that was unsealed was delivered to the election authorities sealed and completed.

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Mendez is also accused of the same form of dishonest ballot harvesting, declining to reveal that he was a candidate for office when dropping off mail-in ballots. He’s also charged with falsifying and tampering with records.

Although they’re rarely enforced, New Jersey laws criminalizing election fraud have strict penalties, and it’s possible that the men could face prison sentences of up to ten years if they’re convicted of the second-degree felonies of which they’re charged.

A state investigation into the recent Paterson city election spurred the criminal charges, with AG Grewal revealing that 20% of the ballots filed in the election were fraudulent.

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