Tags: Barack Obama | GAO | Obama | Appointee | Repay | Salaries | Obstruct

GAO: Obama Appointees Must Repay Salaries After Obstructing House Probe

Image: GAO: Obama Appointees Must Repay Salaries After Obstructing House Probe
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By    |   Thursday, 07 Apr 2016 12:12 PM

Congress' watchdog agency says a federal agency is legally bound to make two political appointees repay some of their salaries for allegedly obstructing a House probe, The Daily Caller reports.

The Government Accountability Office determined Tuesday the Department of Housing and Urban Development's associate general counsel and a deputy assistant secretary refused to let a lower level HUD staffer speak before the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform about a 2012 scandal.

GAO noted federal law bars the use of taxpayer dollars to pay executive branch officials to obstruct Congress — and that unless the two give back taxpayers some of their salaries, HUD would be knowingly retaining "improper payments" on its books.

The House oversight panel, then led by California GOP Rep. Darrell Issa, was looking into former Assistant Attorney General Tom Perez's alleged secret deal over a potentially damaging lawsuit, The Daily Caller reports.

Perez reportedly told the litigant in exchange for dropping the suit, the government would look the other way on fraud in an unrelated matter that was being investigated by HUD, The Daily Caller reports.

But HUD refused to let Congress speak to lower-level employees despite repeated requests, so the committee issued a subpoena, The Daily Caller reports.

One of the workers said she had wanted to talk with Congress, but HUD's legal office told her to stop responding to the committee and let the general counsel speak for her.

In a statement to the Daily Caller, Iowa GOP Sen. Charles Grassley said the GAO "opinion is a significant step forward in holding the Obama administration accountable for trying to thwart oversight and to deter agencies from trying to deny a witness the opportunity to communicate directly with Congress in the future."

A HUD spokesman told The Daily Caller officials have no plans to require the salary repayments despite the GAO opinion, and that the GAO is "weighing a request that GAO reconsider its opinion…"

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Congress' watchdog agency says a federal agency is legally bound to make two political appointees repay some of their salaries for allegedly obstructing a House probe, The Daily Caller reports.
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2016-12-07
Thursday, 07 Apr 2016 12:12 PM
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