Jim Jordan Wants FBI Director To Explain 'Sensitive Information on Politicians'

Republican Representative Jim Jordan is demanding FBI Director Christopher Wray appear before Congress to answer allegations the agency improperly spied on political figures and others.

Jordan, along with two other GOP representatives, sent a letter to Wray on Monday in response to a Washington Times' report that the agency violated its own safeguards on preventing undue spying.

Jordan, the ranking member of the House Judiciary Committee and a close ally of former President Donald Trump, has previously accused the FBI of launching politically motivated investigations.

The letter references a March 11 report by The Washington Times based on an audit conducted by the agency in 2019. The newspaper said the audit showed the FBI "violated agency rules at least 747 times in 18 months while conducting investigations involving politicians, candidates, religious groups, news media and others."

FBI auditors looked at 353 sensitive investigative matters, less than half of all of its cases, the paper reports. Of those reviewed, 191 involved domestic public officials, dozens of religious organizations or prominent members in addition to dozens of political organizations or individuals. Ten cases involved U.S. political candidates and 11 news media.

"This internal audit and the staggering number of errors it found suggest a pattern of misconduct and mismanagement within the FBI in failing to uphold internal rules for its most sensitive cases," the letter read. "This internal review documented systemic FBI failures to follow its own rules and procedures."

The letter said the audit would "add to the list of troubling FBI misconduct when investigating sensitive matters." Specifically, it referenced how the FBI in 2015 excused then Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton's handing of classified information, and how it improperly conducted surveillance of Trump's 2020 campaign for president.

Additionally, the letter pointed to the FBI's "threat tag" to monitor harassment and threats of violence against school boards and districts, which Jordan and others have worried will impinge on activities protected by the First Amendment.

In a statement to Newsweek, the FBI said it conducted the 2019 audit because it "takes compliance very seriously, especially when it comes to sensitive investigative matters."

"While the number of deviations from FBI approval, notification, and administrative requirements noted in the report is unacceptable, we began implementing important changes in training and raising awareness even prior to issuance of the report, and we remain committed to ensuring all personnel adhere to our internal investigative and operational guidelines," it added.

Jordan has previously outlined investigations he plans to launch as chair of the Judiciary Committee should Republicans retake the chamber in November. Those investigations will include the FBI's monitoring of threats in schools, the Biden administration's handling of the southern border with Mexico and the origins of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The letter was also signed by Andy Biggs of Arizona and Mike Johnson of Louisiana, who are also the respective ranking members on key House committee on civil rights and Homeland Security.

Update: 3/22/22, 11:04 a.m. ET: The FBI's response has been added to this article.