Who is Richard Pilger? Head of DOJ election crimes RESIGNS as AG Bill Barr pursues Trump's 'voter fraud' claim
The director of the Election Crimes Branch of the DoJ since 2010 submitted his resignation shortly after Barr announced a move that would delight Donald Trump
A top Justice Department official who oversees investigations of voter frauds has now resigned from his position, after Attorney General William Barr authorized federal prosecutors across the U.S. to pursue 'substantial allegations' of voting irregularities before the 2020 presidential election is certified, despite insufficient proof of fraud.
Richard Pilger will step down from the post within hours, according to an email he sent to colleagues that were obtained by The New York Times on Monday, November 9. Pilger, director of the Election Crimes Branch of the Department of Justice since 2010, submitted his resignation shortly after his boss, Barr, announced the unprecedented federal support for the investigations, a move that would delight Donald Trump. Pilger told colleagues he would move to a nonsupervisory role working on corruption prosecutions.
In his email, Pilger, an alumnus of the University of Notre Dame, 1987 and Indiana University, Bloomington, said Barr's memo was "an important new policy abrogating the forty-year-old Non-Interference-Policy for ballot fraud investigations in the period prior to elections becoming certified and uncontested." He said his resignation was "in accord with the best tradition of the John C. Keeney Award for Exceptional Integrity and Professionalism (my most cherished Departmental recognition)."
Barr's memo raged legal experts, who pointed out that any issues around voting are supervised at the state level and should not be regarded as a federal matter. Several critics said that Barr was at grave risk of dragging the Department of Justice into a highly unjust electoral war, waged through the courts. Pilger, who has a 25-year long career has been dedicated to election crimes and public corruption told his colleagues in the email on Monday evening that he was quitting, as a mark of how worried many within the legal community are at Barr's unprecedented behavior.
Barr's action comes days after Joe Biden became the President-elect, defeating President Donald Trump and raises the possibility that Trump will use the Justice Department to try to challenge the outcome. In his memo, Barr argues that the present "passive and delayed enforcement approach" could undermine the vote. A Justice Department official revealed in an interview with the New York Times that Barr had authorized scrutiny of allegations about ineligible voters in Nevada and backdated mail-in ballots in Pennsylvania.
The attorney general has earlier been supportive of Trump's baseless claims about voter fraud, and the latest move comes at an incredibly tense time. Trump and his administration has openly refused to recognize the former vice president's victory, making pointless claims about "voter fraud" and "illegal votes" that threaten to undermine the base of the US Government.