Democrats urge DHS IG Joseph Cuffari to resign over deleted texts
Democratic lawmakers have called for the resignation of Department of Homeland Security (DHS) inspector general Joseph Cuffari, after it emerged that he routinely deletes text messages from his government-issued phone. On Thursday, Rep. Bennie Thompson and Rep. Glenn Ivey wrote a letter arguing that Cuffari was “unfit to lead an agency responsible for preventing and detecting fraud and abuse.” Cuffari admitted during testimony before the Oversight, Investigations, and Accountability subcommittee on Tuesday that he regularly deletes texts from his government phone. He claimed not to have considered the deleted messages as federal records. Cuffari is already under investigation for delaying informing House committee members of lost Secret Service messages from Jan. 6.
What is the Federal Records Act?
The Federal Records Act is a law that requires government agencies to maintain all records, including electronic records, unless they have been designated as temporary or have been authorized for disposal.
What is the DHS inspector general responsible for?
The DHS inspector general is responsible for detecting and preventing fraud and abuse within the department.
Why are lawmakers calling for Joseph Cuffari’s resignation?
Lawmakers are calling for Cuffari’s resignation due to his admission of routinely deleting text messages from his government-issued phone, which may be a violation of the Federal Records Act. They argue that he is therefore unfit to lead an agency responsible for preventing and detecting fraud and abuse.
What is Cuffari already being investigated for?
Cuffari is already under investigation for delaying informing House committee members of lost Secret Service messages from Jan. 6.
Democrats call for resignation of DHS Inspector General Joseph Cuffari due to deleted texts
Two Democratic lawmakers are calling for the resignation of Department of Homeland Security Inspector General Joseph Cuffari after it was revealed that he regularly deletes text messages from his government-issued phone. Ranking member on the House Committee on Homeland Security, Rep. Bennie Thompson, and top Democrat on the Subcommittee on Oversight, Investigations, and Accountability, Rep. Glenn Ivey, accuse Cuffari of being “unfit to lead an agency responsible for preventing and detecting fraud and abuse.” In a letter, the lawmakers argue that Cuffari’s propensity to delete texts could be “criminal violations of the Federal Records Act.” Cuffari made the admission about deleting texts while being questioned by Ivey during testimony before the Oversight, Investigations, and Accountability subcommittee. He claimed that he does not use his government phone for official business and that he did not consider deleted texts to be federal records. However, Thompson and Ivey argue that it is not Cuffari’s decision to make, adding that “it is troubling, to say the least, that you have been routinely destroying or deleting official government records in violation of a law that your office is supposed to enforce.” Cuffari, an appointee of former President Trump, is already under investigation by the Council of Inspectors General on Integrity and Efficiency after he delayed informing members of the House committee investigating the Jan. 6, 2021, Capitol riot that Secret Service messages from that day were lost in a software transition. Reps. Carolyn Maloney (D-NY) and Thompson have previously criticized Cuffari’s “lack of transparency and independence” during the investigation.