WASHINGTON – Governmental Affairs Committee Ranking Member Joe Lieberman, D-Conn., Monday issued the following statement in response to the Department of Homeland Security Inspector General’s report on the use of federal funds and power for partisan political purposes. Lieberman has sought full disclosure of all details surrounding efforts to use federal government resources to search for Texas legislators involved in a partisan political dispute. To date, he has not received adequate responses from the White House with respect to the President’s and Karl Rove’s interactions with House Majority Leader Tom Delay on this issue.
“I appreciate the willingness of the Inspector General’s Office to undertake this investigation, but frankly, its report raises more questions than it answers. With regard to the documents released to us today, it appears that the report’s conclusion — that there was ‘every indication’ that the employee rendering assistance to the Texas Department of Public Safety believed he was searching for a missing aircraft — is on questionable ground. “I am also deeply disappointed that the IG chose not to investigate the unconscionable and intentional destruction of documents by Texas officials that could have shed light on this misuse of federal resources. I do not understand why – if the IG’s office concluded that DHS staff really believed they were searching for a missing plane – the IG did not aggressively investigate what in that case must have been an intentional effort by the Texas Department of Public Safety to deceive DHS employees into expending federal resources on this partisan search. “The report plainly shows not only that DHS resources were used, but also that local police authorities were roped into searching for the so-called missing legislators on the pretense that their plane was missing. We should all be deeply disturbed that the power of the federal government was abused for such a partisan purpose.”