(Bloomberg) -- A government watchdog organization rebuffed a call from two Democratic lawmakers to appoint a new inspector general to probe missing Secret Service texts.
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Alan Boehm, executive director of the Council of the Inspectors General on Integrity and Efficiency, said his group lacks authority to appoint a new agency watchdog “for any reason.” The council is an independent group within the executive branch that oversees inspectors general across agencies and works on government integrity issues that affect all departments.
The council can, however, work with any inspector general concerned about a conflict of interest to find a stand-in, he said in an email.
Democrats Carolyn Maloney of New York and Bennie Thompson of Mississippi on Tuesday asked Joseph Cuffari, the Department of Homeland Security inspector general leading the investigation into the Secret Service texts, to step aside, and for the council to replace him.
Boehm declined to comment on the substance of the lawmakers’ request, which detailed several complaints against Cuffari, including that he failed to alert Congress to the missing texts for months. A committee within Boehm’s group in 2021 launched its own probe into Cuffari for alleged retaliation against a member of his staff.
“We understand and appreciate Congress’s concerns about the operation and effectiveness of any Office of Inspector General (OIG), given the vital role that OIGs play in conducting oversight of agencies throughout the Federal Government,” Boehm said in a statement.
(Adds Boehm quote in final paragraph. A previous version corrected lawmakers’ request for Cuffari to step aside.)
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