Group seeks Senate investigation into Interior watchdog flap

Group seeks Senate investigation into Interior watchdog flap
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An outside group wants the Senate to investigate how a Trump administration official was apparently incorrectly reported to be the next internal watchdog for the Interior Department.

The Campaign for Accountability, which has worked to investigate many Trump administration officials, sent a formal complaint to Senate Judiciary Chairman Chuck GrassleyCharles (Chuck) Ernest GrassleySenate Republicans eye rules change to speed Trump nominees IRS shutdown plan fails to quell worries Overnight Health Care: Dem chair plans hearing on Medicare for all | Senate GOP talks drug prices with Trump health chief | PhRMA CEO hopeful Trump reverses course on controversial pricing proposal MORE (R-Iowa) Thursday seeking a probe. Grassley’s panel has wide-ranging oversight responsibilities over inspectors general.

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Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Secretary Ben CarsonBenjamin (Ben) Solomon CarsonTop Trump official resigned over White House plan to withhold disaster-relief funds from Puerto Rico: report Trump taps Commerce watchdog to be new Interior inspector general DOJ probing whether Zinke lied to Interior investigators: report MORE told staff earlier this month that his politically nominated assistant secretary for administration, Suzanne Israel Tufts, would leave to becoming acting inspector general for Interior.

Following backlash from Democrats and government ethics groups, Interior later said Carson’s email was “false” and Tufts would not work at Interior. She then resigned from HUD.

“It seems someone tried to push out Interior’s IG to protect Interior Secretary Ryan ZinkeRyan Keith ZinkeOvernight Energy: Major California utility PG&E filing for bankruptcy after wildfires | Zinke hired at investment firm | Barclays to avoid most Arctic drilling financing Zinke takes job at investment firm Trump taps Commerce watchdog to be new Interior inspector general MORE from the myriad investigations into his ethical lapses,” Daniel Stevens, the Campaign for Accountability’s executive director, said in a statement.

“As a long-time advocate for inspectors general, Sen. Grassley should investigate the questionable timing and shifting explanations for Ms. Tufts’ withdrawn appointment.”

Tufts would have replaced Mary Kendall as the top official in the Interior inspector general’s office. Under Kendall, the office has numerous ongoing investigations involving Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke.