Richard Pilger, who’d been awarded for exceptional integrity, mentioned the prize in his resignation letter Monday.
The director of the Election Crime branch of the U.S. Department of Justice, someone who’d been noted for their integrity, resigned from his position Monday night.
The move comes after Attorney General William Barr announced that the department would be using federal prosecutors to investigate allegations of voter fraud during the recent presidential election.
Barr called the some of the allegations substantial and referred to vote tabulation irregularities. These probes must now happen before President-elect Joe Biden can be certified as the winner of the election over incumbent President Donald Trump.
“Having familiarized myself with the new policy and its ramifications, and in accord with the best tradition of the John C. Keeney Award for Exceptional Integrity and Professionalism (my most cherished Departmental recognition), I must regretfully resign from my role as Director of the Election Crimes Branch,” Richard Pilger said in a memo to his employees, according to NBC.
He will reportedly continue working at the Justice Department, prosecuting corruption cases in its Public Integrity section.
In the past, it was DOJ policy to only look into allegations like this once an election was fully concluded and the results certified. Recounts and contests would have to have been concluded as well.
Trump has refused to concede, and according to NBC, Barr was not asked by the president or any lawmaker to look into voter fraud claims.
Barr did, however, have a meeting with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell on Monday. McConnell has publicly defended Trump, saying he has every right to pursue lawsuits and recounts.
Pilger’s memo also stated that he enjoyed his more than 10 years at the agency and being able to “practice without partisan fear or favor.”
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