In Unprecedented Move, NYC Bar Association Calls for Congress to Probe Attorney General for Partisan Bias

The New York City Bar Association on Thursday urged Congress to launch a formal investigation into Attorney General William Barr, alleging recent statements and actions by the country’s top law enforcement official show he is a right-wing partisan “willing to use the levers of government to empower certain groups over others.”

In a letter (pdf) to leaders of both parties in the House and Senate, the NYCBA cites several examples of Barr’s conduct they view as particularly troubling, including repeated attacks on progressive district attorneys, an October speech touting “Judeo-Christian values,” and his December threat to strip protections from unspecified “communities” that don’t show sufficient respect to police.

Bloomberg reported that the letter represents the first time the NYCBA or any comparable association has called for an investigation into a sitting attorney general.

“Mr. Barr has spoken and acted in a manner communicating an impression that he views himself as serving as the Attorney General not for the entire nation, but more narrowly for certain segments of society—whether defined in terms of religion, ideology (his own ‘side,’ to borrow the language of Mr. Barr’s Federalist Society speech), or party affiliation,” reads the letter, signed by NYCBA president Roger Juan Maldonado and Stephen Kass, chairman of the association’s task force on the rule of law.

“We have significant concerns about the propriety of Mr. Barr’s recent actions and statements,” the letter states. “We urge Congress to exercise its constitutional obligations by expeditiously commencing formal inquiries into Mr. Barr’s conduct.”

The letter is not the first time the organization has spoken out about Barr’s conduct as attorney general. As Common Dreams reported in October, the association publicly called on Barr to recuse himself from any Department of Justice proceedings related to Trump’s dealings with Ukraine.

The complete letter the NYCBA sent to Congress Thursday follows:

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