(Washington, DC) Residence Science, Space, and Technologies Committee Chairman Frank Lucas (R-OK), Ranking Member Zoe Lofgren (D-CA), Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee Chairman Jay Obernolte (R-CA), and Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee Ranking Member Valerie Foushee (D-NC) sent a letter to the Inspector Basic (IG) of the Division of Commerce notifying her that the Committee is investigating allegations of whistleblower retaliation and other misconduct.
The Members notified Inspector Basic Peggy Gustafson that senior personnel are becoming referred to as in for transcribed interviews pursuant to this investigation.
“The Residence Committee on Science, Space, and Technologies is investigating allegations that you and senior members of your workplace have engaged in whistleblower retaliation,” the Members wrote. “These reports also allege gross mismanagement, lack of productivity, and the publication of false or misleading statements to Congress. Primarily based upon the allegations received and proof reviewed, the Committee has concluded that additional investigative methods are warranted.”
It is unlawful for any officer of the executive branch to retaliate against personnel for lawful disclosures. But the possibility that an IG, who is tasked with holding their parent agency accountable for such actions, could have themselves retaliated is unfathomable.
“Inspectors basic are empowered by Congress to recognize and inform the Legislative Branch concerning incidents of waste, fraud, abuse, and mismanagement. To achieve this, inspectors basic need to operate with whistleblowers and retain sturdy reputations in their parent agencies to facilitate a disclosure friendly atmosphere. For this purpose, retaliatory behavior from inside offices of inspectors basic against their personal employees fundamentally undermine the objective of the OIG and will not be tolerated,” the Members wrote.
The Members directed the IG to have the specified personnel created accessible for transcribed interviews with Committee employees by April 20, 2023.
The complete letter is accessible right here.