A group of six House Republicans demanded information from the Justice Department Friday about the tenure of Pamela Karlan, who quietly left a top post this month amid scrutiny of her nearly $1 million salary from Stanford University.
Karlan, best known for testifying in favor of impeaching then-President Donald Trump in 2019, continued to earn her normal Stanford Law School pay while working from Feb. 8, 2021, to July 1, 2022, as principal deputy assistant attorney general for civil rights, according to disclosures.
The unusual pay arrangement, in which the Justice Department reimbursed Stanford for only part of Karlan’s salary, drew attacks from conservatives. She left the department without fanfare about two months earlier than planned.
“We are deeply concerned about the circumstances surrounding her hiring and subsequent departure,” wrote Rep. Troy Nehls (R-Texas) in a letter addressed to Attorney General Merrick Garland and DOJ Inspector General Michael Horowitz.
“While we understand Karlan was employed at the Department as part of the Intergovernmental Personnel Act agreement that allowed her to be on ‘temporary detail’ at the Department of Justice, we find this lack of transparency by the Biden administration to be unethical and unacceptable,” Nehls wrote.
“The American people deserve to know who is truly behind the DOJ’s actions,” the group said.
Among other questions, the Republicans asked, “Why did the Justice Department transfer Stanford University $183,100 per year in lieu of paying Karlan directly?”
Another query asks: “Why did Karlan enter into an Intergovernmental Personnel Act agreement, instead of receiving the Senior Executive Service (SES) government salary given to those at the top levels of the federal government?”
The lawmakers also want to know: “Did Karlan or her staff meet with or have any communication with Stanford University’s high-dollar donors and other benefactors, such as George Soros, during her time at the DOJ?”
The letter cites nearly $6 million in donations made since 2016 by Soros, a liberal billionaire, to two organizations that Karlan had ties with in the past. The Campaign Legal Center, where Karlan served as a trustee, and the American Constitution Society, where Karlan was chairperson of the board, both received money from Soros’ Open Society Foundations.
“Did Karlan or her staff meet with or have any communication with anyone from the American Constitution Society and the Campaign Legal Center advocacy groups, where she previously served as a board member, during her time at the DOJ?” ask the Republicans.
The letter also requests information about Karlan’s involvement in a lawsuit challenging an Arizona law — filed last week after her departure — that requires proof of citizenship to vote in some federal elections.
Reps. Scott Perry (R-Pa.), Paul Gosar (R-Ariz.), Lauren Boebert (R-Colo.), Byron Donalds (R-Fla.) and Randy Weber (R-Texas) co-signed the letter.
Republicans currently are in the minority in both chambers of Congress and have no power to compel disclosures from the Justice Department, but the matter could become the subject of investigations if they retake power in this year’s midterm elections.
Karlan and the Justice Department did not immediately respond to The Post’s request for comment.
Earlier this week, the department said Karlan moved up her planned Aug. 22 departure date to July 1 in March to allow more time to prepare for the school year. The department declined to provide documentation of the change.
The conservative American Accountability Foundation began publicly attacking Karlan in May, both for her salary arrangement and for her policy positions on state election law and transgender rights issues.
“Congressman Nehls’ letter is an important step forward to ensuring the Department of Justice focuses on justice, not political activism,” said AAF president Tom Jones. “Pamela Karlan’s sweetheart deal to make nearly a million dollars a year shows that the Biden administration is willing to cross ethical lines to get their cronies into government.”
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