by JOHN HUGH DEMASTRI at dailycaller.com
The House Science, Space, and Technology Committee on Thursday launched a bipartisan investigation into the Office of the Inspector General (OIG) of the U.S. Department of Commerce over allegations the agency’s chief had engaged in whistleblower retaliation.
The Committee members alleged that Inspector General Peggy Gustafson and “senior members” of the OIG had engaged in the retaliation, made misleading statements to Congress and conducted operations with “gross mismanagement,” according to a letter signed by Chairman Frank Lucas and Ranking Member Zoe Lofgren, an Oklahoma Republican and California Democrat respectively, citing reports received by the Committee. The letter also notes the “billions of dollars” recently appropriated by the Biden administration from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Bill, Inflation Reduction Act and CHIPS and Science Act fall under the OIG’s oversight, and that hostilities towards whistleblowers would “fundamentally undermine” the ability of the OIG to perform its duties.
“Based upon the allegations received and evidence reviewed, the Committee has concluded that further investigative steps are warranted,” the congressmen wrote. The Committee required all OIG staffers named in the report to schedule interviews with the Committee by April 20.
The letter does not make clear the nature of the alleged whistleblower retaliation, and the names of four OIG staffers who the Committee has requested to interview were redacted.
The letter was also signed by Republican Jay Obernolte of California and Democrat Valerie Foushee of North Carolina, the chairman and ranking member, respectively, of the Science Committee’s Subcommittee on Investigation and Oversight.read more