Rep. Jordan Demands DOJ Inspector General Provide Info Over Alleged Involvement in FBI Seizure of Congressman's Phone

Rep. Jordan Demands DOJ Inspector General Provide Info Over Alleged Involvement in FBI Seizure of Congressman's Phone
Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) speaks at a press conference following a Republican caucus meeting at the U.S. Capitol in Washington on June 8, 2022. (Kevin Dietsch/Getty Images)
Katabella Roberts

Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) is leading a Republican House Judiciary Committee probe into Justice Department (DOJ) Inspector General Michael Horowitz's alleged involvement in the FBI seizure of the cell phone of Congressman Scott Perry (R-Pa.).

In a letter dated Aug. 29, Jordan, who serves as the Ranking Member of the House Judiciary Committee, said the move "creates a serious conflict of interest for the OIG [Office of Inspector General] in reviewing the Department's actions."

The lawmaker went on to raise concerns over the OIG’s independence regarding the seizure, noting that its "decision to assist the FBI in this politically charged matter demands a full and complete explanation about your unusual actions."

He further states that the OIG "used its laboratory in Northern Virginia to assist the FBI in conducting a forensic review" of Perry's phone, which was then "imaged after the search" to create a forensic copy of the contents, including "protected" communications.

"The OIG's assistance to the FBI in imaging Representative Perry's phone, in addition to posing questions about why the nation's top law enforcement agency cannot perform this task itself, raises serious concerns about why you would be willing to sacrifice the OIG's independence to assist the FBI in advancing such a politically charged matter," Jordan wrote.

Jordan asked that Horowitz hand over all relevant documents and communications relating to the seizure of the cell phone dating back from January 2021 to the present.

He also called on Horowitz to provide a "complete and detailed" timeline of those communications, along with a "complete and detailed explanation of the decision" by the DOJ's Office of Inspector General to assist the FBI in its seizure of the phone, including whether or not they had considered other "less intrusive" means of pursuing their inquiry.

Finally, he asked for a thorough explanation as to whether or not employees at the OIG had suggested to the FBI or DOJ that seizing the phone of a member of Congress "raises constitutional concerns."

The lawmaker requested that Horowitz provide the relevant materials by no later than 5 p.m. on Sept. 12.

'None Of This Is The Government's Business'

Perry's cell phone was seized the day after former President Donald Trump's Mar-a-Lago residence was raided by FBI agents on Aug. 8, as part of a separate investigation.

Perry, chairman of the conservative House Freedom Caucus and an ally of Trump, has stated that data from his phone includes protected material, including that which is protected by attorney-client privilege.

The FBI "made no attempt to contact my lawyer, who would have made arrangements for them to have my phone if that was their wish. I'm outraged, though not surprised, that the FBI, under the direction of Merrick Garland's DOJ, would seize the phone of a sitting member of Congress," Perry said in a statement at the time.

"My phone contains info about my legislative and political activities and personal/private discussions with my wife, family, constituents, and friends. None of this is the government's business."

It is still unclear why the phone was taken but it has since been returned to him. His attorneys told him that he was not a target of the FBI’s unknown investigation.

He has since sued President Joe Biden’s administration over the move. The court has yet to rule on Perry’s suit but the lawmaker has indicated that an agreement might be reached outside of court.

The Department of Justice declined to comment.

The Epoch Times has reached out to the FBI for comment.