According to more than two dozen whistleblowers who’ve spoken to Congress, the office of the Commerce Department’s internal watchdog is plagued by mismanagement, misconduct, and low productivity, caused in part by plummeting morale. In response, three powerful Senate committee chairmen are demanding that the watchdog’s Obama-appointed leader, Inspector General Peggy Gustafson, allow Congress to question eight of her top aides and two executive assistants about the whistleblowers’ complaints, according to a pair of previously unreported letters signed by the senators and obtained by the Project On Government Oversight (POGO).
The two letters are signed by Senator Roger Wicker (R-MS), chairman of the Senate Commerce Committee, and Senator Ron Johnson (R-WI), chairman of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, who have jurisdiction over the Commerce Department and Gustafson, its inspector general. A third signatory is Senator Chuck Grassley (R-IA), chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, and a leading advocate in the Senate for whistleblower rights. This letter went to Gustafson and the other went to the head of the government council that oversees inspectors general.