WASHINGTON, D.C. — Department of Homeland Security Inspector General Joseph V. Cuffari should resign, Rep. Veronica Escobar (D-TX) told Latino Rebels on Wednesday in response to news that Cuffari omitted hundreds of cases of domestic violence from a report on sexual misconduct at the department.
“I saw serious problems with this particular inspector general long ago, and so, unfortunately, this was not a surprise,” Escobar said
“To me, this is a pattern,” added Escobar. “He really does need to resign, and we need people in place who will do right by their office and do right by the American people.”
House Homeland Security Chair Bennie Thompson (D-MS) told Latino Rebels he has asked for a meeting with the Inspector General “to see what’s going on and to make sure we do the right thing.” Thompson said there is no timeline for when the meeting will take place.
“The fact that this was known and not reported calls into question his objectivity,” said Rep. Raúl Grijalva (D-AZ) of Cuffari. “No question about it: I think it jeopardizes his position.”
Sens. Gary Peters (D-MI), who chairs the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs, and Jon Ossoff (D-GA), who sits on the committee, said they had not read the story in the New York Times published on April 7, based on a report by the Project On Government Oversight (POGO) that discovered the widespread omissions of domestic abuse by agents of Customs and Border Protection, Immigration and Customs Enforcement, the Secret Service, and the Transportation Safety Administration.
“More than 10,000 employees at law enforcement components of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) say they have experienced sexual harassment or sexual misconduct, according to an unpublished federal watchdog report,” wrote Adam Zagorin and Nick Schwellenbach for POGO. “That’s over one-third of the roughly 28,000 employees who responded to a survey conducted as part of the long-pending review.”
“Hours after POGO’s story appeared, Mayorkas announced in a memo addressed to all ‘DHS Component and Office Leaders’ and provided to the New York Times that he had just become ‘aware of draft unpublished reports from the Office of the Inspector General that underscore the need for immediate action,” the reporters wrote in an update. “Mayorkas said he was creating a ‘working group’ to ‘conduct a 45-day review of employee misconduct discipline processes currently in effect throughout DHS.’ ”
Over two dozen lawmakers echoed Sens. Peters and Ossoff in saying they were not aware of the reports, promising to look into the matter.
“It sounds like a very serious issue,” said Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT), “but to be honest, I haven’t studied it.”
“The Inspector General plays such a critical role in our government’s ability to monitor itself and to make sure that we are not abusing vulnerable populations, to make sure there’s no fraud or waste,” Rep. Escobar said.
Pablo Manríquez is the Washington correspondent for Latino Rebels. Twitter: @PabloReports