U.S. House committee subpoenas Fani Willis over federal grant funds

Latest move heightens feud between Fulton DA and House Republicans
Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis (Photo: Arvin Temkar / The Atlanta Journal-Constitution)

Credit: TNS

Credit: TNS

Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis (Photo: Arvin Temkar / The Atlanta Journal-Constitution)

The House Judiciary Committee Friday subpoenaed Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis for documents related to a whistleblower’s complaint about her office’s use of federal funds.

Nearly two years ago a former employee claimed she was fired after she uncovered plans to misuse a federal gang prevention grant. Now the congressional committee is seeking documents and information related to Willis’ use of federal grant funds.

It’s the latest escalation of a feud between Willis and the Republican-led Judiciary Committee, which has also blasted her prosecution of former President Donald Trump as politically motivated. Willis, in turn, has accused the committee of interfering in a criminal investigation.

“Recent whistleblower allegations suggest that Ms. Willis’s office misused federal grant dollars to buy computers, ‘swag’ and travel, and, that when confronted with these allegations, Ms. Willis may have attempted to hide the misuse of these federal funds,” the committee said in a press release announcing the subpoena.

“These false allegations are included in baseless litigation filed by a holdover employee from the previous administration who was terminated for cause,” Willis’ office said in a written statement Friday. “The courts that have ruled found no merit in these claims. We expect the same result in any pending litigation.”

In 2022, former employee Amanda Timpson sued Willis, claiming she was fired after she alleged that grant funds had been misappropriated. In the lawsuit, she said the office wanted to use funds intended for youth gang prevention to buy equipment for a computer lab and for other improper purposes.

Timpson later was demoted and ultimately fired. In the lawsuit, she said she was the victim of retaliation and racial discrimination.

Willis’ office has said Timpson was fired for poor performance. A federal judge dismissed one Timpson lawsuit against Willis in November. But another lawsuit is pending in Fulton County Superior Court.

This week, the conservative Washington Free Beacon reported on a taped conversation between Timpson and Willis. In that conversation, the newspaper says Willis appears to agree with Timpson’s assessment about the improper use of grant funds. That revelation appeared to prompt Friday’s House Judiciary Committee subpoena.

The committee launched an investigation of Willis last August. It sought information about her office’s use of federal grants, but it focused on any communication she had with federal officials about her Trump investigation.

Friday’s subpoena requests all documents and communication related to the DA’s receipt and use of federal funds, as well as documents and communications related to “the misuse of federal funds.”

In the written statement, the DA’s office said it has complied with federal grant requirements.

“Any examination of the records of our grant programs will find that they are highly effective and conducted in cooperation with the Department of Justice and in compliance with all Department of Justice requirements,” the office said.