Lucas and Committee Democrats urge President to replace acting director



Oklahoma Congressman Frank Lucas and Democrats on a House Committee he chairs say it’s high time the President named a new Acting Inspector General to the Department of Commerce.

For one thing, they have strong doubts about Deputy Inspector General Roderick Anderson who took over when former Inspector General Peggy Gustafson resigned following the House Science, Space and Technology’s committee investigation into claims of misconduct and whistleblower retaliation by senior leaders of the office.

Rep. Lucas and Ranking Committee member Zoe Lofgren, a Democrat from Califonria sent a letter to President Biden requesting he swiftly designate a new Acting Inspector General. But they don’t want Anderson to hold the job because, as their announcement put it,  “the Committee has credible allegations that he also engaged in retaliatory behavior and misconduct at the agency during Gustafson’s tenure.”

“Over the course of the Committee’s investigation, which included depositions, staff-level meetings, transcribed interviews, and document review, it became clear that much of the senior leadership of the DOC OIG – including Acting Inspector General Roderick Anderson – was entangled in the allegations that had been brought to the Committee’s attention,” Rep. Lucas wrote.

Due to the Committee’s findings of unprofessional conduct by DOC OIG senior leadership, Chairman Lucas and Ranking Member Lofgren strongly urge President Biden to appoint an Acting Inspector General who is unaffiliated with the current office staff.

“Given the Committee’s preliminary investigatory findings, we do not believe that any senior official within the Department of Commerce OIG is able to lead the office,” Lucas said. “Therefore, to ensure the DOC OIG can fulfill its statutory mission until the nomination and confirmation of a permanent Inspector General, we request that you designate an Acting Inspector General who is not currently serving within the DOC OIG.”

The full letter is available here.

A full timeline of the Committee’s investigation follows:

  • April 5, 2023 – Letter notifying IG Gustafson that the Committee is investigating allegations of whistleblower retaliation and other misconduct.
  • June 6, 2023 – Letter requesting documents related to relevant personnel decisions.
  • June 15, 2023 – Letter demanding answers after evidence showed that the IG compromised whistleblower anonymity by sharing the June 6 letter.
  • July 7, 2023 – Follow-up letter on whistleblower disclosure as June 15 letter goes unanswered.
  • July 28, 2023 – Letter requesting withheld documents and further information about whistleblower disclosure.
  • July 31, 2023 – Follow-up letter requesting Commerce IG stop withholding documents related to the Committee’s investigation into allegations of misconduct.