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A top public affairs official at the FBI reportedly accepted tickets to sporting events from establishment media reporters on several occasions amid key political investigations pertaining to the 2016 presidential election.
According to The Daily Caller News Foundation, a Department of Justice report reveals Michael Kortan, the bureau’s assistant director of public affairs during the Hillary Clinton email and Trump-Russia investigations, accepted those gifts from several writers in the employ of CNN and The New York Times.
Kortan was barred by FBI rules from accepting gifts of any kind from journalists involved in covering the bureau, the report said.
The report also indicates that Kortan showed a “lack of candor,” lying under oath to the Office of the Investigator General in regards to these gifts on multiple occasions.
EXCLUSIVE: Report Shows FBI Official Received Sports Tickets From CNN Reporter And Lied About It To Investigators https://t.co/UNsH3BurmL
— Daily Caller (@DailyCaller) October 8, 2019
The inquiry into Kortan’s behavior began as the DOJ set out to search for any and all improprieties in the private communications of a number of high-ranking FBI officials close to the Clinton and Russia investigations.
The inspector general’s report, now publicly available as a result of a DCNF Freedom of Information Act request, reveals its investigation concluded Kortan “provided answers to OIG’s questions relating to the September 2016 tickets that were misleading and false.”
On two separate occasions in September 2016, text messages sent and received by the former FBI official suggest he accepted Washington Nationals baseball tickets from an unnamed CNN correspondent.
A separate occasion also saw Kortan accepting a similar offer from a Times reporter.
When questioned about these messages, Kortan reportedly denied having personal relationships with any members of the media — before admitting to direct communications with the CNN contact.
“Kortan also stated to the OIG that he reimbursed the CNN and New York Times correspondents for the cost of the other tickets in question,” the report reads, “however, Kortan did not provide any evidence he had done so, and the OIG’s investigation did not identify any evidence to support this claim.”
By April 2017, the former FBI official could no longer “recall” whether he had reimbursed his CNN contact.
But this was not the extent of Kortan’s misleading statements, as he would also go so far as to lie in regard to the worth of the tickets, claiming their value did not exceed $65 apiece and that they were simply “general admission” tickets.
Washington Nationals employees later told the OIG the tickets had been located in a ritzy, “members only” section of Nationals Park.
Kortan resigned from the bureau as the investigation got underway, his final defense being that “he did not feel obligated to provide the CNN correspondent with preferential treatment as a result of the tickets,” according to the OIG report.
No leaks to establishment media sources could be directly linked to Kortan, judging by the contents of the report.
As a result, the Justice Department has declined to prosecute the case.