House Democrats are on a crusade to destroy the reputation of whistleblowers to save President Joe Biden and to run cover for those in the Justice Department and FBI who obstructed the investigation into the Bidens’ business dealings. But Republicans are starting to fight back.
Kash Patel, who served as chief of staff to the acting secretary of defense under President Trump and as the senior counsel for the House Intelligence Committee under then-Rep. Devin Nunes, launched the counteroffensive on Wednesday when his attorney filed an ethics complaint against Rep. Dan Goldman, D-N.Y., and simultaneously sent a referral to the Department of Justice.
Patel’s complaint to the House Ethics Committee charged that soon after hearing the sworn testimony of FBI whistleblowers Garret O’Boyle, Steve Friend, and Marcus Allen during the Subcommittee on Weaponization’s hearing on May 18, 2023, Goldman used his official Twitter account to falsely claim the whistleblowers were “bought and paid for” by Patel.
“The clear implication” of Goldman’s Tweet, the Patel complaint argued, was “that the witnesses lied under oath in exchange for payment by Mr. Patel.” In the same tweet, which was viewed by more than 4 million users, Goldman asserted Patel was “under investigation by the DOJ for leaking classified information.”
By publishing lies about a private citizen on his official Twitter account, Goldman violated Rule XXIII of the House of Representatives rules, which provides that a member “shall behave at all times in a manner that shall reflect creditably on the House,” the ethics complaint asserted.
The ethics complaint further suggested Goldman’s lies may have constituted crimes. Here, Patel’s complaint points to Section 1519 of the federal criminal code and suggests that “by making false statements on his official U.S. Government Twitter account, Rep. Goldman has arguably made a false entry on the record with the intent to impede or influence the investigation of the Select Subcommittee.” The complaint also suggests, “Rep. Goldman’s dishonest tweet is a corrupt attempt to obstruct, influence, or impede the investigation of the Select Subcommittee,” which Patel notes is an arguable violation of Section 1512(C)(2) of the criminal code.
While the ethics complaint notes that he “is not under investigation by the DOJ for anything—much less leaking classified information,” Patel adds that if there were such an investigation underway, someone would have illegally leaked that fact to Goldman.
The Federalist contacted Goldman’s office to inquire whether the congressman stood by his claim that Patel was under investigation. A Goldman representative responded that Patel was reportedly under investigation and shared two articles with The Federalist, one being an April 2021 Washington Post article authored by David Ignatius, and the second being an article citing Ignatius’ piece.
When reached for comment by The Federalist, Patel called Goldman’s office’s reference to the Washington Post article a “congressional cop out,” and “more lies through back peddling.” Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif., has taught America you “can find any lie in the media,” Patel added, a likely reference to the many lies the then-ranking member of the House Intelligence Committee peddled about Nunes’ memorandum on FISA abuse — something that transpired during Patel’s time as senior counsel for the committee.
FBI whistleblower Steve Friend, who was one of the three whistleblowers Goldman accused of being “bought and paid for” by Patel, told The Federalist the Democrat’s accusations were absurd. Friend explained that Patel’s charitable organization contacted him in November of 2022 after he had been indefinitely suspended without pay for two months. “The organization generously furnished me a $5,000 donation so I could provide for my family during the Christmas holiday,” Friend said, stressing they told him “they did not want any public recognition.”
“Any insinuation that I sacrificed my career for a $5,000 payoff is patently ridiculous and defamatory,” Friend countered, adding that his family is grateful “to live in a country where men like Kash Patel can establish charitable organizations to assist those in need.”
Goldman’s office disagreed that there was an implication of an illicit payout for the whistleblowers’ testimony, telling The Federalist the New York congressman’s “bought and paid for” Tweet merely referred to the whistleblowers’ testimony from the linked video.
Referral to DOJ
In addition to the ethics complaint filed in the House, Patel’s lawyer also sent a criminal referral to Attorney General Merrick Garland. It seems unlikely the Department of Justice will enter the fray. However, given the growing number of unjust attacks on whistleblowers, the House Ethics Committee may well reprimand Goldman for his tweet.
The increased targeting of whistleblowers was on full display on Wednesday when House Democrats wage a similar attack against whistleblowers during FBI Director Christopher Wray’s testimony before the Judiciary Committee. Goldman’s fellow New York Democrat, Rep. Jerry Nadler, carried the defamation baton into that hearing, falsely accusing whistleblower Marcus Allen of receiving a $250,000 payout. Nadler’s representation was false and “far from profiting, he’s had to deplete his family’s retirement savings to survive,” Marcus’ attorney Jason Foster countered.
Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee, D-Texas, would later attempt to discredit the whistleblowers with the same tripe, although she couldn’t keep her villains straight, confusing money raised for the whistleblowers through a GoFundMe account organized by former FBI Agent Kyle Seraphin and the donations made by the charitable foundation established by Patel.
“They can’t even keep their smears straight,” Foster scoffed in an interview with The Federalist.
Patel put it more bluntly, saying those attacking the brave whistleblowers who are exposing FBI corruption are “masquerading behind a baseless personal attack, knowing the media will carry their disinformation campaign.”
The legacy press is doing just that and will likely continue to do so, handing politicians free rein to defame the whistleblowers. The question, then, is whether the House Ethics Committee will curb Goldman to send a message that whistleblowers aren’t political pawns.