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Oversight groups urge Biden to nominate caretaker Federal Housing Finance Agency Inspector General

The watchdogs asked Biden to keep his pledge to fire officials who disrespect or demean others.

Updated: July 7, 2021 - 5:06pm

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Several watchdog groups sent a letter Wednesday to President Joe Biden asking him to nominate a caretaker to temporarily act as the Inspector General for the Federal Housing Finance Agency after the current Inspector General Laura Wertheimer resigns at the end of July.

The group's Empower Oversight, Government Accountability Project, and Project on Government Oversight wrote a letter to Biden telling the president of a "culture of fear and intimidation" at the agency produced by Wertheimer, which went against Biden’s promise to fire government officials if they "treat another colleague with disrespect" or "talk down to someone," Biden said he would fire them "on the spot."

An April 14, 2021 letter by the Chair of the Integrity Committee at the Council of Inspectors General on Integrity and Efficiency wrote to Biden that Wertheimer engaged in misconduct that "warrants consideration of substantial disciplinary action, up to and including removal."

Some alleged instances reported by CIGIE-IC found that Wertheimer "disparaged and demeaned staff members whom she believes complained or cooperated" with inquiries resulting from whistleblower disclosures to Congress.

The report also said she allegedly used "demeaning nicknames" for employees interviewed by congressional staff such as "Boris and Natasha," which her assistant said was because of "their purported physical resemblance to the cartoon characters” from Rocky and Bullwinkle. One assistant said she had referred to one employee as a "weasel" in front of other staff.

Biden has yet to respond to the letter or its claims. It is unclear if he will choose to nominate a successor, as it appears Wertheimer will be able to nominate a successor before she leaves the position. Wertheimer has also yet to comment on the allegations brought up in the letter.

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