I write to express my concern about reports of an incident at a June 12, 2012 public meeting in New Iberia, Louisiana involving Rachel Hranitzky, a Senior Trial Attorney in the Civil Rights Division. It is my understanding that a formal complaint about the incident has been sent to the Department of Justice.
It is our understanding that on [June 12, 2012], Ms. Hranitzky
arrived at the meeting and immediately asked if any journalists were present.
When a Daily Iberian reporter attending the meeting responded in the affirmative, she
informed him that he
could neither record the meeting nor quote her
According to other attendees, the meeting had been advertised as a public meeting intended to address concerns with the city fire department's hiring and promotion process.
However, citing 'special rules' of the Department of Justice for agency attorneys, Ms. Hranitzky instructed that her statements be neither recorded nor quoted.
When the reporter questioned this instruction on the basis that Ms. Hranitzky
was speaking at a public meeting, she
apparently threatened him with the possibility that the DOJ
could call his
editors and publisher, and warned that he
would not 'want to get on the Department of Justice's bad side.' Furthermore, it is our understanding that Ms. Hranitzky
demanded the reporter leave the meeting, although-after making his
objection known but agreeing not to quote her-he was ultimately allowed to remain.
According to one report on the incident, Ms. Hranitzky "`grew belligerent and threatening'" while speaking with the reporter. After the meeting, she apparently told the reporter that she had been quoted in the past and gotten in trouble with the DOJ. More specifically, Ms. Hranitzky told the reporter that the DOJ "`keeps a short leash on how their attorneys are quoted and she could get in big trouble if she were quoted in a newspaper.'"
5. If the reports are accurate and Ms. Hranitzky
told the reporter that he
could not quote anything she
said at the public meeting, provide a citation to the legal authority justifying that statement.
8. According to the reports, Ms. Hranitzky
told the reporter that unless he
complied with her
orders about not quoting her
, the DOJ
might contact his
editors or publisher and he
would not want to get on the DOJ's
14. Since 2007, has the DOJ
received any complaints, whether informal or formal, regarding statements or conduct by its employees at a public meeting, proceeding or event similar to Ms. Hranitzky's
reported statements and conduct in New Iberia?