Cummings accuses Education Dept of blocking probe into attempted removal of internal watchdog

Cummings accuses Education Dept of blocking probe into attempted removal of internal watchdog
© Greg Nash

House Oversight and Reform Chairman Elijah CummingsElijah Eugene CummingsBaltimore unveils plaques for courthouse to be named after Elijah Cummings GOP leaders encourage retiring lawmakers to give up committee posts Pelosi taps Virginia Democrat for key post on economic panel MORE (D-Md.) has reportedly accused the Department of Education of blocking an investigation from his committee into the attempted removal of the agency's acting independent watchdog.

Cummings reportedly said that department officials did not turn over documents requested by his committee regarding the Trump administration’s attempt earlier this year to replace its acting inspector general (IG), according to Politico.

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Politico noted that the refusal to hand over documents comes after acting IG Sandra Bruce began investigating Education Secretary Betsy DeVosElizabeth (Betsy) Dee DeVosMueller investigation witness pleads guilty to child sex crime charges Proposed changes to Title IX will not solve the problem of sexual assaults on college campuses US officials say Erik Prince may have violated Venezuela sanctions: report MORE’s decision to reinstate the federal status of an accreditor of for-profit colleges.

Cummings said his committee has only received seven pages of documents in response to his request, most of them “heavily redacted.”

He added in a four-page letter, written along with committee member Rep. Mark DeSaulnierMark James DeSaulnierThe administration banned many flavored vaping products — but it's not enough Democratic lawmaker laments Hunter Biden's business dealings in Ukraine House Democrat expects impeachment vote before 2020 MORE (D-Calif.), that the Education Department is “obstructing our investigation and appears to be part of an unprecedented cover-up by the Trump administration across multiple Executive Branch agencies and departments.”

Cummings’s letter gave the department until June 10 to comply with his requests for documents.

Politico reported that Cummings’s investigation began in January after President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump rails against impeachment in speech to Texas farmers Trump administration planning to crack down on 'birth tourism': report George Conway on Trump adding Dershowitz, Starr to legal team: 'Hard to see how either could help' MORE chose Phil Rosenfelt, the Education Department’s deputy general counsel, to replace Bruce. The appointment was later rescinded following blowback from Democrats who said the selection was an attempt to interfere with the inspector general’s work.

The Hill has reached out to the Education Department for comment.