Finding 'Troubling Aspects'; Secret Service Scandal Probe Does Fly for Senator

The Washington Times (Washington, DC), September 26, 2013 | Go to article overview

Finding 'Troubling Aspects'; Secret Service Scandal Probe Does Fly for Senator


Byline: Jeffrey Anderson, THE WASHINGTON TIMES

A Republican senator is raising questions about whether there was improper contact between the former general counsel and the acting inspector general of the Department of Homeland Security in its review of the Secret Service's 2012 prostitution scandal.

Sen. Ron Johnson of Wisconsin, ranking Republican on the Senate Homeland Security subcommittee on contracting oversight, said at a hearing last week that troubling aspects of the review conducted by Homeland Security's acting Inspector General Charles Edwards have led to questions about the IG's independence.

Government sources familiar with a bipartisan investigation of Mr. Edwards conducted by Mr. Johnson and Sen. Claire McCaskill, Missouri Democrat and chairwoman of the subcommittee, say that Ms. McCaskill is steering clear of the matter, and that the Obama administration refuses to cooperate with the probe.

Mr. Johnson's remarks came during a confirmation hearing for a nominee to replace John Sandweg, former general counsel at Homeland Security and a close ally of former Secretary Janet A. Napolitano, who appointed Mr. Sandweg as acting director of Immigration and Customs Enforcement this summer.

I'm concerned because I think we've seen what I would believe is improper contact between the inspector general and the general counsel's office of Homeland Security, Mr. Johnson said. I'm trying to figure out what that wall of separation really ought to be to maintain the independence of the inspector general.

Calls to Mr. Sandweg were referred to Homeland Security. The Secret Service referred questions to Mr. Edwards' office. Mr. Edwards has dismissed the idea that political pressure affected his work and his office declined to comment Wednesday.

Earlier this month, The Washington Times reported that the subcommittee is investigating whether Ms. Napolitano's close allies - including Mr. Sandweg - pushed Mr. Edwards to tread lightly in his review of the Secret Service's internal probe of its own scandal.

Those concerns were elevated when Mr. Sandweg's closest friend and political ally, Noah Kroloff, former chief of staff at Homeland Security, formed a private consulting firm with former Secret Service Director Mark Sullivan shortly after the 2012 prostitution scandal subsided.

Mr. Kroloff and Mr. Sullivan have not responded to requests for comment. …

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