DHS inspector general who ignored deleted texts violated 'prohibition on unethical conduct': report
Joseph Cuffari, the Dept. of Homeland Security Inspector General who neglected to timely inform Congress of losses of data on cell phones of Secret Service agents and DHS officials during the lead up to and the day of the 2021 insurrection was the subject of a report that found he violated ethics guidelines.
Cuffari “previously was accused of misleading Justice Department investigators and running ‘afoul’ of ethics regulations while he was a federal agent in charge of a DOJ inspector general field office in Tucson, according to a newly disclosed government report,” The Washington Post reports Wednesday evening.
In that report “investigators said they did ‘not believe’ Joseph V. Cuffari’s explanation for why he failed to inform his supervisors — against federal rules — about his testimony in a lawsuit brought by a federal prisoner.”
The authors of the report said, “We concluded Cuffari’s actions violated the IG manual’s prohibition on unethical conduct,” the Post states. Though never publicly released, the report “also noted that he may have violated guidelines by using his government email to lobby for a position as inspector general for the Arizona National Guard, among other issues.”
There are now questions about Cuffari’s vetting after being nominated by then-President Donald Trump to “one of the most important oversight jobs in government, experts said, and about his suitability to lead a staff of 750 auditors and investigators with oversight of an agency with a workforce of 240,000 and a $50 billion budget.”
In addition to the wiped Secret Service cell phones, many are alarmed by news top Trump Dept. of Homeland Security officials and Pentagon officials’ phones were also wiped after January 6.
The former Director of the United States Office of Government Ethics, Walter Shaub, on Wednesday afternoon called for Cuffari to be terminated.
“President Biden, fire this corrupt DHS inspector general. Cuffari must go!” tweeted Shaub, now a Senior Ethics Fellow at the Project on Government Oversight (POGO).
On Monday, Politico reported Cuffari sent an email to his staff calling the criticism “meritless.”
“Cuffari didn’t specify which criticisms were, in his view, without merit,” Politico added. “But two hours after he sent his note, a pair of House committee chairs blasted out a letter saying they’d obtained evidence showing Cuffari’s office ‘may have secretly abandoned efforts to collect text messages from the Secret Service more than a year ago.'”
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