Chaffetz, Cummings Demand TSA Comply with Subpoena

Published: May 3, 2017

Letter threatens “serious consequences” for non-compliance

WASHINGTON – Yesterday, House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Jason Chaffetz (R-UT) and Ranking Member Elijah Cummings (D-MD) sent a letter to the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) Acting Administrator warning that the agency’s continued failure to comply with a Committee-issued subpoena will lead to “serious consequences.”  

The Committee issued a subpoena to TSA after the agency withheld documents on individual personnel cases arguing the information was protected under attorney-client privilege.

Excerpts from the letter:

 “Your failure to comply with a congressional subpoena may result in serious consequences for you, including penalties pursuant to 2 U.S.C. § 192.  We strongly encourage you to consider carefully the implications of continuing to ignore this subpoena.”  

“It should be clear… the Committee issued the subpoena to further its own investigation and to obtain answers to specific, longstanding questions.  You must comply with your legal obligations immediately.  The Committee expressly reserves its right to commence enforcement proceedings if you do not”.  

Click here to view the letter.

Background:

On March 2, 2017, the Committee held a hearing to address transparency challenges at TSA. It was revealed TSA is withholding information necessary for the Office of Special Council (OSC) to conduct whistleblower retaliation investigations.

Yesterday, the Committee passed H.R. 2195, the OSC Access Act , which clarifies Congress’s longstanding intent to allow OSC access to all agency documents pertaining to individual personnel decisions.

Since 2015, the Committee has been investigating TSA’s personnel practices and Office of Chief Counsel, including allegations that TSA fosters a culture of retaliation while failing to hold senior officials accountable. The Committee held hearings on these issues on April 27 and May 12, 2016

The Committee has also sent a number of letters on these issues to TSA, including previously non-public letters below:

  • November 10, 2015: to Administrator Peter V. Neffenger on misconduct by former TSA Assistant Administrator for Intelligence and Analysis
  • December 3, 2015: to Administrator Peter V. Neffenger on TSA investigations of employee misconduct
  • February 19, 2016: to Administrator Peter V. Neffenger on TSA’s failure to cooperate with the Committee’s investigation
  • March 15, 2016: to Administrator Peter V. Neffenger on TSA’s directed reassignments and whistleblower retaliation
  • April 26, 2016: to Administrator Peter V. Neffenger on TSA’s disciplinary process
  • May 12, 2016: to Administrator Peter V. Neffenger on misconduct allegations against senior TSA officials.