WASHINGTON — The Homeland Security Department demoted a senior career employee who confidentially complained to the inspector general that political appointees were improperly interfering with requests for federal records by journalists and watchdog groups.
The new Republican chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee told the Obama administration the decision appears "to be an act of retaliation" and warns that "Obstructing a congressional investigation is a crime."
Rep. Darrell Issa says the administration improperly demoted Catherine Papoi, escalating a congressional inquiry into President Barack Obama's promises to improve government transparency. Issa outlined his concerns in a letter obtained by The Associated Press.
A department spokeswoman said Issa's letter was "rife with inaccuracies and distorts the facts." She said the agency will continue to cooperate with the investigation.
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