- The Department of Education’s (ED) Chief Information Officer (CIO) Danny Harris received substantial bonuses despite poor performance in securing IT systems at the Agency and significant ethical lapses in judgment.
- Despite the IG’s evidence to the contrary, Acting Secretary King asserted that Mr. Harris did not violate any law, regulation, policy, or standard of ethical conduct.
- Mr. Harris testified his home theatre installation and car detailing activities were “hobbies” and not businesses. The IG testified that these activities qualified as businesses.
- It was in excess of two years before ED responded to the IG’s initial report of findings and referral for administrative action.
- The Department of Justice (DOJ) declined to prosecute the IG’s criminal referral and deferred to ED leadership for action. Acting Sec. King deemed verbal counseling and a three-page ethics guidance letter as appropriate consequences.
- To review the state and security of the Department’s information systems.
- To examine the conduct of the Chief Information Officer (CIO), Danny Harris.
- On November 17, 2015, the Committee held a hearing to examine:
- The state of information technology at the Education Department;
- Its compliance with the Federal Information Security Management Act (FISMA), the Federal Information Technology Reform Act (FITARA), and the recommendations of the inspector general (IG).
- During the hearing, the Committee learned the Education Department:
- Holds 139 million unique Social Security numbers;
- Continues to be “vulnerable to security threats” according to the IG, and has repeat findings in annually-required FISMA audits;
- Failed to detect a penetration test of its systems conducted by the IG during its FY2015 FISMA audit;
- Received an “F” on the Committee’s FITARA scorecard.
- Following the hearing, the Committee received additional information concerning conduct of the CIO.
Chairman Chaffetz (R-UT):“You see no ethical problem with somebody who oversees, and supervises the personnel who have to implement these contracts, with them personally going and installing home theater equipment to a company that I’m guessing makes millions of dollars from those contracts?”
Rep. John Mica (R-FL):“Who approved the bonuses, even while he [Mr. Harris] is under investigation? There should at least be a suspension of the bonuses.”
Rep. Will Hurd (R-TX): “54 software programs that you using are not supported by the vendor, why is that?”
Witnesses and testimonies
|Mr. Danny A. Harris Ph.D.||Chief Information Officer||U.S. Department of Education||Document|
|Ms. Sandra Bruce||Deputy Inspector General||U.S. Department of Education||Document|
|Ms. Susan Winchell||Assistant General Counsel for Ethics||U.S. Department of Education||Document|
|Mr. John B. King Jr.||Acting Secretary||U.S. Department of Education||Document|
|Memo to CIO Danny Harris on Ethics Guidance||Document|
|Best Places to Work Categories for Dept of Edu||Document|
|Memo to Aaron Jordan on Danny Harris Investigation||Document|