Chairwoman Roybal-Allard Statement at DHS Office of Inspector General FY23 Budget Request Hearing

2022-04-06 13:37

Congresswoman Lucille Roybal-Allard (D-CA), Chair of the Homeland Security Subcommittee, delivered the following remarks at the Subcommittee's hearing on the DHS Office of Inspector General FY23 budget request:

Today we welcome Joseph Cuffari, the Inspector General for the Department of Homeland Security, who is here to present the OIG’s fiscal year 2023 budget request and discuss the office’s operational priorities. Thank you for being here this afternoon.

As the Inspector General for the Department of Homeland Security, you have been entrusted with an incredible responsibility, requiring the utmost in integrity, independence, and impartiality. The American public relies upon you to conduct independent and objective audits and investigations relating to DHS programs and operations; prevent and detect waste, fraud, and abuse; and promote efficiency and effectiveness; and keep the DHS Secretary and Congress informed about problems and deficiencies and the need for and progress of corrective action.

Your task is not easy, especially given the complexity of DHS missions, the political controversy surrounding some DHS operations, particularly in the immigration enforcement area; and the evolving threat landscape requiring DHS preparedness and response – from hurricanes and wildfires to domestic terrorism and cybersecurity attacks.

To complicate matters, the DHS Office of Inspector General has received a considerable amount of criticism and scrutiny over the past decade. A GAO report last year found that, “Since fiscal year 2015, the Department of Homeland Security Office of Inspector General has not adhered to a number of professional standards for federal OIGs and key practices for effective management.” In that report, GAO made 21 recommendations to address management and operational weaknesses related to performance management, quality assurance, reporting timeliness, and coordination with DHS, among others. Your office concurred with each of them.

Earlier this year we learned that a former IG pleaded guilty to theft of proprietary software and sensitive databases from the U.S. Government, and another former IG has been accused of watering down reports related to FEMA disaster response.

In your response to Questions for the Record from an April 2021 hearing before the Committee on Homeland Security, you alerted Congress to an investigation being conducted by the Integrity Committee of the Council of Inspectors General on Integrity and Efficiency.

That investigation is not a focus of this hearing. Instead, this hearing’s purpose is to discuss your office’s current operations and priorities, how you use your resources, and your progress in addressing long-standing challenges facing the OIG.

I look forward to a good discussion between you and the members of the subcommittee. 

I would now like to turn to the distinguished gentleman from Tennessee, Ranking Member Fleischmann, for his opening remarks.

117th Congress