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Trump Appoints Politician to be Inspector General

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HUD political appointee to replace Interior Department inspector general




A Trump political appointee previously working at the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) will soon take over as the head inspector general (IG) overseeing investigations at the Interior Department, according to an internal email obtained by The Hill.


Suzanne Israel Tufts will take over as acting inspector general for the Interior Department, according to an email sent from HUD Secretary Ben Carson to staff last Friday.


The move is notable as Interior Department Secretary Ryan Zinke faces a number of inspector general investigations, including a contentious business deal he made with a Halliburton chairman. Past probes included a speech he gave to the Las Vegas Golden Knights professional hockey team and the questionable use of charter planes.


The inspector general makes the final determination whether to open up an IG investigation and has the power to end ongoing investigations.


An IG official with knowledge told The Hill it's very uncommon for a political appointee to be detailed to another agency, especially an inspector general's office.


Former Department of Justice Inspector General Michael Bromwich called the news "a very big deal."


"This is a very big deal. Politicizing the oversight function is dangerous, especially in the absence of any Congressional oversight. Changing IGs in the midst of multiple serious investigations of the agency's head should raise alarm bells everywhere," Bromwich tweeted Tuesday.


Rep. Raúl Grijalva (D-Ariz.), Ranking member on the House committee that oversees the Interior Department, said the swift position change "stinks to high heaven."


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