Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid has said that FBI Director James Comey may have violated federal law when he disclosed that the agency was reviewing new evidence potentially related to Hillary Clinton's email probe, less than two weeks before the presidential election on 8 November.
Reid informed Comey in a letter dated Sunday (30 October) that he may have violated the Hatch Act, which prohibits government officials from using their position to influence an election, the Wall Street Journal reported.
"I am writing to inform you that my office has determined that these actions may violate the Hatch Act," the Nevada Democrat wrote. "Through your partisan actions, you may have broken the law."
Congressman Jason Chaffetz, the Republican chairman of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, disagreed with Reid's conclusion.
"Director Comey is updating his previous testimony, and he should do that," Chaffetz said in an interview. "Hillary Clinton can only blame herself for this mess. She created this problem, not Director Comey."
Reid, however, is not the only person to accuse Comey of violating the Hatch Act. Republican attorney and former White House ethics lawyer, Richard W Painter, announced in a New York Times op-ed that he had filed a complaint against the FBI chief for violating the law.
"The FBI's job is to investigate, not to influence the outcome of an election," Painter wrote.
Trump's links to Russia
In Sunday's letter, Reid also accused the FBI chief of withholding "explosive" details about GOP nominee Donald Trump's close ties to Russia, CBS News reported.
"Your actions in recent months have demonstrated a disturbing double standard for the treatment of sensitive information, with what appears to be a clear intent to aid one political party over another," Reid wrote.
Reid argued that Comey's "highly selective approach" to making information public, as well as his timing, "was intended for the success or failure of a partisan candidate or political group." Comey was, until this summer, a registered Republican.
"In my communications with you and other top officials in the national security community, it has become clear that you possess explosive information about close ties and coordination between Donald Trump, his top advisers, and the Russian government - a foreign interest openly hostile to the United States, which Trump praises at every opportunity," Reid wrote.
"I wrote to you months ago calling for this information to be released to the public...and yet, you continue to resist calls to inform the public of this critical information."
The Republican presidential nominee has repeatedly praised Russian President Vladimir Putin as a "strong leader" and even tweeted a call to Russia to hack into his Democratic rival's emails. During the last presidential debate, Clinton went on to accuse Trump of being Putin's "puppet".