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December 10, 2019

Thompson and Maloney Highlight Coast Guard Obstruction After Commandant Refuses to Testify

(WASHINGTON) - Rep. Bennie G. Thompson (D-MS), Chairman of the Committee on Homeland Security, and Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-NY), Chairwoman of the Committee on Oversight and Reform, sent a letter to Admiral Karl L. Schultz, Commandant of the U.S. Coast Guard, on his refusal to testify before the Committees’ joint subcommittee hearing tomorrow on how the Coast Guard is handling complaints of harassment and bullying. 

“Your refusal to testify continues a troubling trend of impediments to congressional oversight. Rather than welcoming the opportunity to work with Congress to fully investigate what has transpired within the service, the Coast Guard has repeatedly obstructed our Committees’ investigation,” the committee chairs wrote. “After stonewalling requests for nearly a year, the Coast Guard produced documents that remain heavily, inconsistently, and improperly redacted. The Coast Guard made officials available for transcribed interviews and other discussions only after our Committees indicated we would consider alternative means to obtain compliance.”

“Your refusal to testify only reinforces our concerns that Coast Guard leadership does not fully appreciate the gravity of what has occurred, and likely continues to occur, within the service,” the committee chairs also wrote. “After reports of harassment, bullying, retaliation, and significant inequities within the Coast Guard raised our Committees’ initial concerns, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Office of Inspector General (OIG) substantiated retaliation against Coast Guard whistleblowers on two separate occasions in little more than a year. Such substantiated cases of whistleblower retaliation are highly irregular, and we treat them with the utmost concern.”

The joint hearing will take place tomorrow, Wednesday, December 11, 2019, with Rep. Jamie Raskin, the Chairman of the Committee on Oversight and Reform’s Subcommittee on Civil Rights and Civil Liberties, and Rep. Lou Correa, the Chairman of the Committee on Homeland Security’s Subcommittee on Transportation and Maritime Security.

The hearing will broadcast here

More information on the hearing, including witness list and background, available here

Link to letter here.

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Press Contact

Aryele Bradford (Oversight) 202-226-5181
Adam Comis (Homeland Security) 202-225-9978