Michael Horowitz is probably a name you’ve never heard of, but he is about to become a very important name in the come days because of the information he has about the handling of the 2016 investigation into Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server, reports The Hill.
Horowitz is the Department of Justice inspector general and has been conducting probes of the FBI’s handling of the Clinton email server investigation and his full report of the probes is expected to be released early spring and is said to be shocking.
Horowitz was a political appointee in both the Bush and Obama administration and his yearlong investigation already reportedly contributed to the early resignation of Deputy FBI Director Andrew McCabe.
He is also responsible for uncovering a series of text messages between FBI officials Peter Strzok and Lisa Page which led to Strzok being removed from Robert Mueller’s team.
For those who are afraid that Horowitz could be biased one way or the other, those close to him portray him as an independent voice.
“He is really one of the smartest and fairest people I have ever had the pleasure to work with,” said Bill Hamel, who served as assistant inspector general for investigations at the Department of Education. “He’s a straight shooter and a fair guy. He’s an honest broker.”
But Horowitz’s reputation will be put to the test when he releases the findings of the Clinton investigation. No matter what he concludes, it’s likely to create a political firestorm, coming at a time when both Republicans and the White House are charging that political bias is rampant at the Justice Department and at the FBI.
After his work as the assistant U.S. attorney in New York, he worked as the chief of staff for the Justice Department’s criminal division spanning the period of the Clinton and Bush administrations.
Bush later appointed Horowitz to a six-year term as a commissioner of the U.S. Sentencing Commission, an agency within the judicial branch that writes sentencing guidelines for federal courts. He was then selected by President Obama to serve as the Justice Department’s top watchdog in 2011.
“You’re there to help the agency succeed in doing its job,” said Hamel, who has known Horowitz since his days working in New York. “They have to be independent to do that job. They can’t be swayed by political issues.”
He is best remembered in his current role for coming down hard on regional officials at Justice and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives for the infamous “Fast and Furious” operation in which officials allowed the illegal sale of firearms in a botched effort to track Mexican drug cartels, reports The Hill.
Just six months into the job, Horowitz issued a report eviscerating law enforcement officials in Arizona for a “significant lack of oversight” and disregard for “the safety of individuals in the United States and Mexico.”
Horowitz’s work has earned him respect among his peers. He has been twice elected to lead the Council of the Inspectors General on Integrity and Efficiency, the independent panel of inspectors general across the federal government.
“He is a man of the utmost integrity who is willing to call the shots as he sees them,” said Stanley Twardy, a Stamford, Conn.-based lawyer who has known Horowitz professionally since his days as a U.S. attorney.
“There are a lot of legitimate questions that I hope would be answered by this inspector and that probably aren’t going to paint the DOJ or the FBI in a particularly good light,” said Ron Hosko, a former official in the FBI’s criminal investigative division.
The findings could further play into GOP charges of political bias at the FBI, which critics view as part of a broader effort to inhibit Mueller’s investigation.
Horowitz told lawmakers last November that his investigators had reviewed roughly 1.25 million records and conducted dozens of interviews in connection with the ongoing investigation.
At the time, he said he expected the report to be issued by March or April.
Otherwise, the inspector general has remained tight-lipped on the status of the investigation, including the potential widening of its scope.
His statement last January contained an important caveat. “If circumstances warrant,” it said, “the [inspector general] will consider including other issues that may arise during the course of the review.”