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Dec 19, 2013

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Charles Edwards, DHS deputy inspector general // Source: govexec.com

Homeland Security News Wire

Charles K. Edwards, the embattled DHS acting inspector general, yesterday stepped down from his position and took another job in the department. Edwards was under investigation after allegations emerged that he misused his office and softened reports to keep from embarrassing the Obama administration. Late last month, the White House nominated John Roth, a criminal investigator at the Food and Drug Administration, to become the permanent inspector general.

Charles K. Edwards, the embattled DHS acting inspector general, yesterday stepped down from his position and took another job in the department. Edwards was under investigation after allegations emerged that he misused his office and softened reports to keep from embarrassing the Obama administration. The Washington Post reports that Edwards was facing a broadening Senate investigation which focused on whether he had altered, softened, and delayed investigations to put the department and the White House in better light.

Edwards has denied the allegations, saying in a statement in July: “I am very disturbed that false allegations have been made against me, but more importantly, I am very concerned that this matter may negatively impact the important oversight work of the Office of Inspector General. I will defend myself against these personal attacks.”

The Post notes that a group of whistleblowers within his office said that in his eagerness to become the permanent IG of the department, Edwards allowed himself to be influenced by political pressures from above. The whistleblowers also accused him of retaliating against staff members who did not agree with his approach to the job, and that he used departmental staff to do personal chores for him.

One example the whistleblowers gave for Edward’s susceptibility to pressure was his effort to remove references to evidence in the IG investigation of the Secret Service which contradicted the official position of the leaders of the service.

In July, Senators Claire McCaskill (D-Missouri) and Ron Johnson (R-Wisconsin), the chairman and ranking member of the Financial and Contracting Oversight subcommittee who had been investigating Edwards, sent a letter to Edwards to complain that he was not cooperating with the panel’s probe. Johnson also aired concerns that the inspector general’s public reports on the Secret Service were drastically different from the more detailed, non-public reports, and of the delay in the culture report.

Late last month, the White House nominated John Roth, a criminal investigator at the Food and Drug Administration, to become the permanent inspector general.

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