Laurie Robinson, Assistant Attorney General for the Office of Justice Programs (OJP) under Attorney General Eric Holder, is leaving the Department of Justice (DOJ), according to an announcement released just before the start of the Iowa caucuses.
"Laurie Robinson has helped transform OJP’s role in the criminal and juvenile justice field, bringing scientific rigor, a true sense of partnership, transparency, and accountability to the agency," Attorney General Eric Holder said in a statement on her departure at the end of February. "I am proud of her service to OJP’s constituents, the Department of Justice and the Obama Administration and personally grateful for her friendship and her many contributions to ensuring true justice for all Americans. The United States is a safer and fairer nation due to her efforts."
Since her 2009 appointment by President Obama, Robinson administered $2.7 billion in stimulus money, including an array of grants to support women, American Indians, and Alaska natives. "With the attorney general's support," Robinson said in the statement, "we have made real progress in building strong partnerships with law enforcement and other parts of the state, local and tribal criminal and juvenile justice field." She added that DOJ has "made it a priority to ensure OJP's grant process is fair, accessible to our stakeholders, and accountable to Congress and the public in terms of managing scarce federal dollars."
Robinson's departure comes as DOJ leadership faces strong criticism over Operation Fast and Furious, in which United States government officials intentionally allowed Mexican drug cartels to purchase weapons from American gun stores. The scandal exploded when a U.S. Border Patrol Agent was murdered with a weapon obtained through Operation Fast and Furious.
Holder has testified before Congress multiple times regarding Operation Fast and Furious. He has been invited to return to Congress for another hearing before the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, which hopes to ask him about the "flaws in the management structure" at DOJ that resulted in the scandal.