Rep. Johnson files FBI Director Integrity Act
August 22, 2017
Congressman: Director would have to be fired for cause not at the pleasure of POTUS
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Congressman Hank Johnson (GA-04) today filed the FBI Director Integrity Act, which would mandate that a sitting FBI director can only be fired for cause rather the serving at the political whim of the president.
The bill would amend the Omnibus Crime Control Act of 1968 to provide that the director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation can only be removed for certain causes and for other purposes.
“A free and independent federal law enforcement agency is critical to upholding our democracy, and all the values we cherish as Americans,” said Johnson. “Instead of the FBI director serving at the pleasure of the president, this legislation will mandate a for-cause standard to justify an FBI director’s dismissal.”
The bill is in part a response to the firing of former FBI Director James Comey and to ensure the integrity of the investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 election.
Congress limited the term of FBI directors to 10 years in order to insulate the director from political pressure. In order for this intention of impartiality to be maintained, the FBI director deserves protection from the possibility of being fired as a result of an abuse of presidential authority, Johnson said.
Specifically, the bill would hold that the President may only remove the Director of the FBI for:
-- Violation of a code of conduct or ethics policy of the Department of Justice or the FBI;
-- Being convicted of a felony or misdemeanor;
-- Misappropriation of money or property under the official control of the FBI;
-- Making a false statement related to official duties with intent to mislead; or
-- For other good cause.
Original co-sponsors of the bill include: Reps. Bobby Scott (VA-03), Jerry Nadler (NY-10), Steve Cohen (TN-09), Shelia Jackson-Lee (TX-18), Yvette Clarke (NY-11), G.K. Butterfield (NC-01), Pramila Jayapal (WA-07), Barbara Lee (CA-13) and Alcee Hastings (FL-20).