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DHS nominations get green light from Senate panel

Jan. 14, 2014 - 03:37PM   |  
By SEAN REILLY   |   Comments

John Roth is poised to become the next inspector general for the Department of Homeland Security after a Senate committee approved his nomination on a voice vote Tuesday.

Roth, a former Justice Department official, won bipartisan praise at a hearing last week by the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee; Tuesday’s favorable committee vote means that he could soon win final Senate confirmation for the IG’s post.

That would make him the first permanent DHS inspector general in almost three years. Since 2012, Roth has headed the Food and Drug Administration’s office of criminal investigations.

If confirmed, he pledged last week to seek to unite the IG’s office, which has some 700 employees and has been strained by dissension over Charles Edwards, the former interim IG. Edwards resigned last month while under congressional investigation into accusations that he watered down audit findings in response to outside pressure and other alleged wrongdoing. Edwards has predicted that he will be fully cleared; a Senate subcommittee has not yet released a report on the findings of its inquiry.

Roth also said he would make a priority of completing a separate probe of DHS Deputy Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas. Senate Democrats pushed through confirmation of Mayorkas last month over Republican objections that they should wait until the long-running probe - which centers around Mayorkas’s handing of a visa program in his previous job as head of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services at DHS - is concluded. Mayorkas has denied wrongdoing.

Also by voice vote Tuesday, the Senate committee approved the nomination of Suzanne Spaulding to become DHS’s next undersecretary for national protection and programs.

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