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buried lead

June 28th, 2013
06:44 PM ET

Who watches the watchmen? Claims that inspector general violated ethics standards

Ethical standards within the Department of Homeland Security – sounds pretty important right?

A letter obtained by CNN from two U.S. senators alleges that the man in charge of guarding those ethical standards is abusing his authority.

According to the letter, whistleblowers in his department claim that Acting Inspector General Charles Edwards manipulated reports, used office funds for personal travel, and even forced employees to do his homework for a Ph.D program.

Cause of Action, a nonpartisan government accountability organization, is asking President Barack Obama to take a careful look at the allegations.

Dan Epstein, the organization’s executive director, told CNN that Edwards is clearly wasting American tax dollars and “creating a complete reversal of what someone who's dedicated their life to public service really should be doing.”

Epstein says there are serious questions as to whether Edwards’ behavior led to certain investigations being covered up. There are allegations that Edwards played a role in the scrubbing of the investigation into Secret Service agents hiring prostitutes prior to a presidential visit to Colombia.

A spokesman for the Inspector General’s office said Edwards is currently on vacation in India and is unavailable for comment. However, the Inspector General’s office has promised full cooperation with the Senators pursing more information on the allegations.

Update, July 2

In a written statement, Edwards said he will defend himself against these personal attacks.

"Allegations can be lodged anonymously by anyone. Truth can be distorted to misrepresent circumstances and make them appear improper when they are not.  Sadly, those persons that choose to anonymously attack me honor no boundaries, but I must follow Federal rules and not publicly disclose protected information as I present my defense," Edwards said in the statement.



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