Sherri Berthrong retired as a lawyer after 37 years at the Department of Justice (DOJ) in 2015, but that didn’t end her ability to influence the government. Beginning June 1, 2016, she made a small contribution to Hillary Clinton every few days — right through the November 8 election.
Berthrong’s individual contributions averaged only $15.90 each and totaled $1,177, a tiny part of the record-setting $1.2 billion the former secretary of State spent in a losing campaign against Donald Trump, according to data compiled by opensecrets.org.
But the Alexandria, Virginia, resident was not unique among DOJ and FBI employees in making dozens of small donations throughout the campaign. Lafayette Anderson, a supervisory administrative officer in the FBI’s Washington field office, clicked on the send button 113 times, beginning April 1, 2016.
Anderson, who lives in Glen Burnie, Maryland, contributed a total of $1,414 to Clinton, averaging $12.51 for each donation. Unlike Berthrong, however, Anderson often gave two and sometimes three times in a single day.
But Berthrong and Anderson shared an even more important characteristic: They were among the 268 current and former employees DOJ and FBI employees living and working in the Washington, D.C., area who made thousands of contributions to the Clinton campaign.
The national capital region Clinton donors from DOJ/FBI contributed a combined $242,020, or slightly more than half of the $416,375 she received from donors nationwide who listed DOJ/FBI as their employers.
Donald Trump’s contributions from such donors pale by comparison. A mere 61 DOJ/FBI employees gave to the Republican winner in the 2016 race, good for a total of $20,252. Trump spent approximately half of the $1.2 billion that Clinton did.
The Clinton and Trump donors who listed the department as their employer represent less than 3 percent of the 113,000-employee DOJ/FBI workforce, but the actual total can never be known because donors aren’t required to disclose their place of employment.
The fact that employer disclosure is not required is important for key reasons. Notably absent from the Clinton donors are most of the individuals who have become key figures in the controversy over allegations that the FBI investigation of Clinton’s use of a private server and email address to conduct official U.S. diplomatic business was marred by partisan bias. There are other politically sensitive probes linked to the 2016 presidential campaign as well.
The fact that employer disclosure is not required is important for key reasons.
Peter Strzok, the former high-ranking FBI counterintelligence official, for example, was removed from special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation of allegations the Trump campaign colluded with agents of the Russian government during the campaign.
Strzok’s removal followed the disclosure of multiple emails he exchanged with another FBI official with whom he was romantically involved. The two repeatedly expressed disgust with Trump — and enthusiasm for Clinton.