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Republicans respond to OMB investigation

By Ed O'Keefe

Republican House members weighed in on a new House investigation into allegations that officials at the Office of Management and Budget told an inspector general that they'd "make life miserable" for him if he complained to Congress about his budget.

"The troubling nature of the allegations contained in IG McFarland's letter requires a full and complete investigation," Reps. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) and Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah) wrote to White House Counsel Bob Bauer.

"If a dynamic exists in which the independence of an IG is being separately or simultaneously compromised by OMB personnel and agency leadership, immediate measures to repair the situation are required," Issa and Chaffetz wrote. The pair are ranking Republican members of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee.

Office of Personnel Management Inspector General Patrick E. McFarland informed the committee's Democratic leadership on Monday that his agency's budget office received a "not so veiled threat from OMB" against telling Congress of concerns about its budget.

A 2008 federal law allows inspectors general to inform Congress if they believe their proposed budgets would inhibit oversight duties. The law was designed to protect watchdogs from top agency officials that might cut watchdog budgets in retaliation for hard-hitting investigations.

Committee chairman Edolphus Towns (D-N.Y.) informed OMB that he intends to investigate the matter and OMB has promised a full internal investigation.

By Ed O'Keefe  | January 13, 2010; 5:45 PM ET
Categories:  Congress, Oversight  
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Comments

U.S. Senators need to demand an audit from an OUTSIDE agency such as the Office of Management and Budget to find out what is going on with Haskell Indian Nations University's finances.

While the U.S. senate holds budget hearings this week in Washington D.C. senators should look into the financial mess that their “premier university” Haskell Indian Nations University in Lawrence Kansas is in and demand some answers from its chief financial officer Mr. Mike Lewis.

U.S. Senators need to demand an audit from an OUTSIDE agency such as the Office of Management and Budget to find out what is going on with Haskell's finances.

Stephanie Birdwell-Bighorn for one has a habit of traveling people all over the country on Haskell’s dime. Monies that should have could have been used for the students. Make sure the Haskell Board of Regents is covered in that audit; they seem to spend a lot of Haskell’s money on travel while accomplishing nothing at all.

Posted by: zooami1 | January 13, 2010 7:47 PM | Report abuse

U.S. Sen. Pat Roberts isn’t the only federal lawmaker concerned about leadership issues — both in Lawrence and in Washington — regarding Haskell Indian Nations University.

Earlier this week, staffers from the offices of three Kansas Republicans — Roberts, U.S. Sen. Sam Brownback and U.S. Rep. Lynn Jenkins — met in Washington with employees from the Bureau of Indian Education, which oversees Haskell.

Roberts has expressed concerns about leadership at the four-year school for American Indians since the bureau temporarily reassigned Haskell President Linda Warner to out-of-town posts: first to a school in New Mexico, then — as of this month — to a regional bureau office in Oklahoma City.

All three top administrators now working at the Lawrence campus are handling their roles on an “acting” basis. In Warner’s absence, scheduled visits by accreditation teams to review progress on establishing two new four-year degree programs were canceled.

Roberts’ representatives expect this week’s meeting to lead to some of their questions being answered, although no timetable has been set.

“They were personally made aware of all the concerns we have,” said Molly Haase, a spokeswoman for Roberts. “We’re just waiting on an official response.”

Posted by: zooami1 | January 13, 2010 7:50 PM | Report abuse

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