All Oversight Dems Call on Gowdy to Subpoena DHS for IG Report on President’s Muslim Ban
All Oversight Dems Call on Gowdy to Subpoena
DHS for IG Report on President’s Muslim Ban
Members Ask for Committee Vote if Chairman Refuses
Washington, D.C. (Jan. 17, 2018)—Today, all Democratic Members of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform sent a letter requesting that Chairman Trey Gowdy issue a subpoena to compel the Department of Homeland Security to produce a full, unredacted copy of a report completed more than three months ago by the Inspector General relating to President Donald Trump’s first attempt at banning Muslim immigrants and visitors from the United States.
“The Department has been blocking the Inspector General from delivering its report to Congress based on spurious legal arguments, and our Committee would be forsaking its constitutional oversight responsibilities if we allow this ongoing abuse to stand,” the Members wrote to Gowdy.
After President Trump issued the first iteration of his Executive Order banning visa applicants from seven predominantly Muslim countries, Ranking Member Elijah E. Cummings and 37 other Members of Congress sent a letter requesting that Inspector General John Roth launch an investigation into multiple reports of coercive actions taken by Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) agents in response to the Executive Order, including the denial of access to legal counsel.
On October 6, 2017, Inspector General Roth completed an 87-page report and delivered it to Department leadership. However, on November 20, 2017, Inspector General Roth took the highly unusual step of sending a letter to Congress warning that the Department was seeking to censor many portions of the report by using unprecedented and expansive claims of “attorney-client privilege” and “deliberative process privilege.”
Today, the Committee Members warned Gowdy that the Department’s actions directly contradict the Inspector General Act, which requires the Inspector General to keep Congress “fully and currently informed about problems and deficiencies relating to the administration of such programs and operations and the necessity for and progress of corrective action.”
“Allowing Trump Administration political appointees at the Department of Homeland Security to block the Inspector General from delivering his report to Congress merely because it is critical of the President is a clear abuse of authority that hinders Congress’ ability to conduct oversight and impairs the effectiveness of the Inspector General’s efforts,” the Members wrote.
In addition, on December 28, 2017, the Department’s invocation of the “deliberative process privilege” caused the report to be “withheld in full” from a Freedom of Information Act request filed by Open the Government and the Project on Government Oversight, organizations dedicated to government transparency.
In today’s letter, the Members asked Gowdy to issue a subpoena to compel the Department to produce, by January 30, 2018, a full, unredacted copy of the Inspector General’s report, as well as the full corresponding case file, including all associated exhibits, attachments, interview summaries, and other work papers.
The Members concluded by stating, “If you choose not to do so, then we ask that you place this matter on the agenda for our next regularly scheduled business meeting so that all Committee Members will have the opportunity to vote on a motion to issue this subpoena.”
Click here to read today’s letter.