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When Does the Division Announce Investigations?

The Division often receives questions about why it announces some, but not all, investigations. In general, the Department of Justice does not publicly announce investigations or investigative findings. There are several reasons for this policy. Announcing an investigation of some civil or criminal violations could make it more difficult to obtain witness cooperation or gather evidence. It also could result in the unfair identification of an individual as a person of interest to the federal government. The Department's policy is described in the United States Attorneys Manual and regulations.

The Departmental regulations allow exceptions to its policy when the matter under investigation results in an indictment or some type of enforcement action. The Department can make exceptions to this policy when the issue under investigation has already received a lot of publicity, or where the community needs to be reassured that the Department is investigating the incident, or where announcing the investigation is necessary to protect the public interest, safety, or welfare. The Division follows Department policy and regulations when deciding which investigations and investigative findings to announce publicly. Most commonly, the Division publicly announces investigations involving law enforcement agencies, prisons and jails.

In voting matters, the Division also complies with the Department's long-standing policy not to make announcements or take action that could influence the outcome of an election. That policy is described in the Criminal Division's manual of Federal Prosecutions of Election Offenses.

Updated October 18, 2018