Representative Johnson calls for Commerce IG Todd Zinser to be removed from office

The House Subcommittee on Investigations & Oversight
Committee on Science, Space & Technology opened an investigation two years ago on Commerce Inspector General Todd Zinser and his management of his office.   On March 26, Representative Eddie Bernice Johnson, Ranking Member, delivered a floor statement that laid out the findings of the investigation.

The Washington Post reported on Rep. Johnson’s remarks in the article Lawmaker seeks ouster of Commerce Department inspector general. The article only covered some of the issues outlined in Ms. Johnson’s extended statement.

The Washington Post article did not include some of the most recent issues regarding the Commerce Office of Inspector General’s retaliation against whistleblowers, or the details surrounding the office’s monitoring of employee e-mails or IG Zinser’s personal efforts to obstruct the Committee’s investigation. 

Ms. Johnson’s statement explains her belief, based on a thorough investigation that Commerce IG, Todd Zinser, does not appear to value his office’s role in protecting whistleblowers.  She states:

Over a period of many years, Mr. Zinser and his closest staff have engaged in efforts to identify and retaliate against whistleblowers in his office;

“Mr. Zinser has repeatedly misled the Congress about his conduct, and took steps to obstruct the Committee’s investigation into allegations of misconduct;

Mr. Zinser has been disingenuous in his official correspondence with the Council of the Inspectors General on Integrity and Efficiency (CIGIE) regarding inappropriate hiring in his office;

Mr. Zinser has failed to conduct himself by ethical standards expected of an Inspector General;

Mr. Zinser has engaged in inappropriate hiring practices that undermine the integrity of federal hiring; and,

Mr. Zinser has failed to establish policies and procedures in his office that would guarantee accountability and efficiency. “

Ms. Johnson said Zinser’s “wide-ranging misconduct, supported by just a tiny coterie of current senior staff, is sufficient in and of itself to justify immediate removal.” Her remarks state the President has the authority to remove IG Zinser and that she will provide the President will her findings.

Related links:

Rep. Johnson’s full floor statement on Commerce IG Todd Zinser (Starting on page 48)

February 2015 ORDER that the Office of Civil Rights