Senate Committee Members Send Letter to FEMA Regarding Alleged Misconduct

Late last week, four members of the Senate Homeland Security and Government Affairs Committee (HSGAC), including Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI), the committee’s chairman, and Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-MO), the committee’s ranking member, sent letters to the FEMA Administrator and Department of Homeland Security’s Office of Inspector General (DHS OIG) regarding FEMA’s July “investigative report concerning allegations of misconduct and mismanagement by former Chief Component Human Capital Officer Corey Coleman.”

The lawmakers note a complaint received by DHS OIG in May alleging Coleman’s inappropriate relationships with two employees. The letter notes that FEMA reportedly did not begin investigating the complaint until being contacted a second time by DHS OIG in December, six months after its initial June referral of the complaint.

The letter notes the incident “was not the first complaint” lodged against Coleman, charging that “FEMA’s Office of Equal Rights received eight complaints alleging misconduct of a non-sexual nature by Mr. Coleman during his tenure at the agency, which began in 2011.” The letter further notes an additional 14 complaints between 2013 and 2018, all of which were referred to FEMA.

In a letter to FEMA Administrator Brock Long, the Senators note that “FEMA’s lack of effective procedures to ensure the review of sexual harassment and misconduct complaints predate” Long’s tenure, citing a July 2017 Government Accountability Office report that found FEMA “has not established effective procedures to ensure that all cases referred to FEMA by DHS OIG are accounted for and subsequently reviewed and addressed).

The letter requests that FEMA provide detailed accounts of each complaint, including when it was received, what steps were taken, and the complaints’ current statuses, asking that the information be provided no later than September 10th.

Posted in From the Hill

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