Sen. John Cornyn, the second highest-ranking Republican in the Senate, is set to demand answers from the Justice Department Friday about its decision to abandon an investigation into the Clinton Foundation despite a request from the FBI to open a case.
The inquiry came on the heels of reports that high-ranking Justice Department officials met earlier this year to discuss the possibility of pursuing a public corruption probe, but decided against an investigation after a disagreement about whether to proceed.
"When the FBI recommended that you not pursue a criminal indictment of Secretary [Hillary] Clinton for her emails, you followed their recommendation," Cornyn wrote to Attorney General Loretta Lynch in a letter obtained by the Washington Examiner Thursday. The Texas Republican cited recent reporting that indicated the Justice Department ignored the FBI's recommendation in a separate case involving the Clinton Foundation.
"The practice is not clear, but the outcome in both cases favors Secretary Clinton," Cornyn said of the Justice Department's decision to accept FBI guidance in the email case but reject it in the foundation one.
A batch of Clinton's emails made public this week shed new light on the intersection of Clinton Foundation activities and State Department work during Clinton's tenure at the agency, reviving a long-simmering controversy over alleged influence peddling through the charity.
The records sparked a fierce backlash amid news that Justice Department officials had suppressed a probe after an unidentified bank flagged the "suspicious activity" of a foreign foundation donor.
Cornyn, a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, asked Lynch Friday to provide information about which members of her agency's public integrity unit dismissed the nascent investigation in the face of mounting evidence that Clinton Foundation contributors had enjoyed special access to the former secretary of state.
"This kind of conduct is unacceptable, and reflects the worst concerns harbored by the public about the abuse of government office to benefit the powerful at the expense of the people," Cornyn wrote.
The majority whip was vocal in his calls for Lynch to appoint a special prosecutor to oversee the FBI's investigation into Clinton's private email use as Republicans raised concerns about the potential for political bias to affect the probe.
Those calls were amplified in June when Lynch met privately with former President Bill Clinton just days before her agency cleared the Democratic nominee and her aides of criminal wrongdoing.
Donors to the Clinton Foundation landed plush appointments in the Obama administration, bypassed bureaucratic red tape when competing for government contracts and enjoyed a direct line to the secretary of state so they could promote their interests.
Cornyn requested details about the timeline of the Justice Department's consideration of Clinton Foundation allegations and which specific laws the charity may have violated.