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February 16, 2023

Thompson Reiterates Concerns with DHS IG Cuffari’s Poor Performance and Leadership in New Interview

(WASHINGTON) – In a new interview released today, Rep. Bennie G. Thompson (D-MS), Ranking Member of the Committee on Homeland Security, laid out the poor performance and leadership of Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Inspector General Joseph Cuffari. This interview is part of a six-episode investigative podcast from the Project on Government Oversight (POGO) detailing the IG’s actions (listen here).  Ranking Member Thompson also reiterated that the credibility of the Office of the Inspector General (OIG) needs to be restored to ensure there is independent oversight and accountability within DHS.

“As we continue our oversight of the Department’s Inspector General, I am glad that good governance groups are shining another light on the IG’s actions,” said Ranking Member Thompson. “It is again clear that he has lost credibility to oversee the Department and I do not have confidence in him.”

Under Congressman Thompson’s leadership as Chairman, the Committee on Homeland Security conducted extensive oversight of Inspector General Cuffari due to concerns about his lack of accountability, transparency, and independence. Since 2020, the Committee has sent Mr. Cuffari numerous request letters regarding multiple concerns, including report delays and quality issues, censoring of employees’ sexual harassment claims, and failure to notify Congress in a timely manner about the Secret Service’s erasure of text messages related to the January 6 Attack on the Capitol.  In response, Mr. Cuffari has refused to produce requested documents on numerous occasions and blocked OIG employees from appearing for transcribed interviews.

As Ranking Member Thompson continues vigorous oversight of the IG to hold him accountable for his actions, he will soon be reintroducing his legislation, the Department of Homeland Security Inspector General Transparency Act which passed the House of Representatives by voice vote last year. This bill requires the IG to report to Congress on the policies and procedures it has established to ensure the OIG adheres to quality standards when conducting its audits and inspections. It also requires the OIG to publicly release and produce to Congress any report that substantiates a violation of whistleblower retaliation or an allegation of misconduct waste, fraud, abuse, or violation by a member of the Senior Executive Service or politically appointed official of the Department.

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