Fani Willis faces House subpoena over use of federal funds

 February 3, 2024

House Judiciary Chairman Jim Jordan (R-OH) has subpoenaed Fulton County, Georgia District Attorney Fani Willis to investigate a potential misuse of federal funds received by her office from the Justice Department.

Willis has until February 23 to turn over requested documents and communications about the federal funds and how they were used.

Jordan said that he wanted the information to inform legislative reforms he is considering, but that Willis has already ignored the last three requests for information from the committee.

In September, Willis accused Jordan of trying to obstruct the investigation of her office into former President Donald Trump and his prosecution for allegedly trying to overturn the 2020 election.

On the record

A report from the Washington Free Beacon detailed claims by an employee of Willis's office that she fired an employee who raised concerns that a federal grant for youth gang prevention was used for "laptops, travel and 'swag.'"

The Beacon obtained a recorded conversation between Willis and Amanda Timpson, an employee who worked with juvenile offenders.

Timpson told Willis that another employee, aide Michael Cuffee, said he was going to misuse part of a $488,000 federal grant and that Timpson repeatedly told him he could not do so.

Willis appeared to agree with Timpson and apologized for Cuffee, but two months later Timpson was abruptly fired and escorted out of the office.

The dispute

Timpson filed a wrongful termination suit, but Willis said that she was a "holdover from the prior administration" and didn't meet the new standards for the position.

Timpson told the Beacon that Willis's treatment of her and her hiring of Nathan Wade as the top prosecutor in the case even though she was having an affair with him constituted a pattern of unethical behavior by Willis.

"My case and Nathan Wade's case are very similar when you break them down point by point," Timpson told the Free Beacon. "Ethical violations, abuse of power, and the misuse of county, state, and federal funds."

"These allegations raise serious concerns about whether you were appropriately supervising the expenditure of federal grant funding allocated to your office and whether you took actions to conceal your office's unlawful use of federal funds," Jordan wrote in his letter.

More potential misuse

The gang prevention center for which the grant was given was never opened and the building meant to house it has its doors padlocked, the Beacon found when it investigated.

The Beacon alleged that Willis's office also used part of a $2 million grant to clear a rape kit backlog to buy computers and finance travel. Computers were also purchased with grant money for the Georgia Innocence Project; it was not clear whether computers and travel were allowable uses of this grant money.

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