Thursday 6 June 2024

DOJ Official Took Pay Cut To Work On Alvin Bragg’s Trump Case, Records Show

 The Department of Justice official who left the Biden administration to work for Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg’s case against former President Donald Trump took a small pay cut to make the move, records suggest. 

Matthew Colangelo was the third-highest official at the DOJ, earning an annual salary of $183,100, according to public salary records. He left the job to relocate to New York and be a senior counsel for Bragg, where he now earns a reduced salary of $180,000 a year, the city’s salary databaseshows.

His move from the prestigious post in Washington D.C. to a lower position in a district attorney office in New York has raised eyebrows from critics who say it is evidence that Biden’s administration had a hand in prosecuting Trump. 

The prosecution of the former president has faced widespread criticism for being politically motivated, and the key role of a Biden administration official in it has added fuel to the fire. The lack of any immediate financial benefit for Colangelo further gives the appearance that he joined the office to politically damage Trump, who has long made clear that he intended to challenge Biden in 2024. 

When Colangelo announced his move to the New York office in December 2022, it was explicitly to focus on the office’s “most sensitive and high-profile white-collar investigation.” Bragg hailed Colangelo for having “the sound judgment and integrity needed to pursue justice against powerful people and institutions when they abuse their power.”

He appears to have left with the blessing of Merrick Garland, who gave a statement to the New York Times praising him on his way out the door for his “wise counsel and excellent judgment” during his time at DOJ. Now Garland is forced to deny any coordination after being accused on Capitol Hill of “dispatching Matthew Colangelo” to Manhattan.

“That is false. I did not dispatch Matthew Colangelo,” Garland said. “That is false.”

Garland said during his sworn testimony that he played no role in Colangelo getting the job, and furthermore that he has had no communication with Colangelo since he left. 

Colangelo is an overtly political figure. In 2018, during Trump’s first term, he was paid thousands of dollars by the Democratic National Committee for “political consulting,” Fox News reported last month. His wife, Anne Small, contributed thousands of dollars to Biden’s 2020 election campaign, Federal Election Commission records show.

Judge Juan Merchan, who had issued a controversial gag order on Trump, also donated to an anti-Trump political group. And Bragg, the lead prosecutor, campaigned for his office on “getting” Trump. 

A conservative watchdog group has sued for all records related to Trump while Colangelo was at the DOJ. The department failed to turn over the records for a public records request.

“No one leaves being the #3 at the Department of Justice to go work in a district attorney’s office–no matter which one it is,” said Gene Hamilton, the executive director of America First Legal. “There is no plausible explanation other than engagement in a coordinated campaign to target one man – President Trump.”

Though the move didn’t immediately benefit Colangelo, he has managed to morph from an unknown Democrat operative to one of the prosecutors who won a conviction against the former president. It is unclear whether Colangelo will remain in Bragg’s office after the case concludes.

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