Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-IL), Chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee, and U.S. Senator Chuck Grassley (R-IA), Ranking Member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, are pressing the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Office of Inspector General to address reports that it has delayed and downplayed reports of sexual harassment and misconduct at DHS. In a letter to DHS Inspector General Joseph Cuffari, the Senators cite documents recently released by the Project on Government Oversight (POGO), which suggest intolerable levels of sexual harassment and sexual misconduct at DHS. These documents raise serious concerns about DHS OIG’s efforts to delay the release of an unpublished report containing troubling findings about apparent widespread sexual harassment and misconduct within the agency. The Senators further asked Cuffari to explain his reasoning for removing certain information from draft reports and how these decisions comply with CIGIE standards.
“The unpublished report reveals that a DHS OIG survey completed in 2018 found that more than 10,000 of 28,000 responding employees at DHS law enforcement components say that they have experienced sexual harassment or misconduct,” the Senators wrote. “The majority of respondents also said that they did not report the incidents, and of those who did, about 41 percent reported that doing so ‘negatively affected their careers.’”
The Senators continued, “[D]elays and revisions in publishing the report appear to have downplayed the severity of the crisis… Sexual harassment and misconduct in agency ranks always demand immediate action. Any efforts by an OIG to obscure or downplay the seriousness or pervasiveness of the issue, or to improperly delay releasing evidence of misconduct, are inappropriate.”
Full text of the letter to DHS Inspector General Cuffari is available HERE.