Subcommittee Chairman Loudermilk's Opening Remarks:
"The United States Capitol Police Office of Inspector General is responsible for evaluating the efficiency and effectiveness of the U.S. Capitol Police’s programs and operations.
This includes supervising and conducting audits, inspections, and investigations to prevent fraud, waste, and abuse.
The OIG is responsible for both making recommendations to the Capitol Police Board and also ensuring those recommendations are completed.
On January 6, 2021, the U.S. Capitol experienced one of the biggest security failures in this institution’s history.
Following the attack on the Capitol, the OIG published six “flash reports.”
In those flash reports, the OIG detailed specific failures related to operations, intelligence, training, and other specialized units.
To correct these failures, the OIG made specific recommendations to the Capitol Police.
During today’s hearing, we will review those findings and evaluate the Department's completion of the recommendations made in those flash reports.
Since being hired, Mr. Russo has closed numerous previous inspector general recommendations.
I look forward to learning more about specifically what actions Capitol Police implemented.
Given that Mr. Russo is new to this role, today’s hearing is also an opportunity to ensure the OIG is fulfilling its purpose to provide independent and relevant analysis of the Department.
An independent Inspector General is essential to ensuring transparency.
We’ve made progress to increase transparency by finally taking steps to publicly publish OIG reports, which is consistent with other federal Inspectors General.
However, to date, there are only two available on the OIG’s website.
Finally, since announcing today’s hearing, numerous whistleblowers have come forward with claims of retaliation and abuse after speaking with the Office of Inspector General.
While we have concerns about the conduct of both the Inspector General and the Department on these matters, the Committee does not believe it is in a position yet to publicly address these allegations.
While we review these allegations, we take all whistleblower reports seriously and appreciate their willingness to come forward.
Before Mr. Russo was hired as Inspector General, there were serious allegations of retaliation within the Capitol Police against whistleblowers—who had spoken confidentially to a previous USCP Inspector General.
Let me be clear: Any retaliation is unacceptable.
I think I speak for both Democrats and Republicans when I say this Committee will aggressively protect whistleblowers from any internal retaliation.
Ensuring the U.S. Capitol Police is best positioned to defend against threats to the Capitol -- including all the members, staff, and visitors -- is a priority for this subcommittee.
To accomplish this, Congress must continue to exercise our oversight responsibilities."