Magazine article National Defense

Report Warns of Influence Peddling over DHS

Magazine article National Defense

Report Warns of Influence Peddling over DHS

Article excerpt

The jumble of congressional committees with oversight of the Department of Homeland security is more than an inconvenience to those called to testify. It opens the door to undue influence from lobbyists and government contractors, according to a panel that was chaired by two veterans of Capitol Hill.

"The current situation poses a clear and demonstrable risk to our national security," the report stated.

Former Speaker of the House Thomas Foley and former New Hampshire Sen. Warren Rudman co-chaired a task force on DHS oversight for the Center for Strategic and International Studies. Their report, titled "Untangling the Web", asserted that Congress has "failed to remove a major impediment to effective homeland security" by maintaining too many politicians who have no expertise in the overall strategy, and who are stretched across a multitude of committees and subcommittees.

"This fragmentation also creates the conditions for mid-level subordinates to end-run the leadership of DHS and appeal directly to congressional committees with which they have long-standing relationships," the report said. "It allows outside interest groups, single-issue lobbies and government contractors to more easily find champions for parochial interests and pork barrel projects that fall outside the strategic mandate and intent of DHS. …

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