WTOP: Delegation of Va. lawmakers call for GSA inspector general to investigate FBI HQ decision

WTOP, MIKE MURILLO

Eleven members of Virginia’s congressional delegation officially called for an investigation into the selection process for the new FBI Headquarters. In a letter, they called on the General Services Administration’s Acting Inspector General Robert Erickson to launch the probe.

“There is overwhelming evidence suggesting that the General Services Administration (GSA) administered a site selection process fouled by political considerations and alleged impropriety — one that was repeatedly curated to arrive at a predetermined outcome,” the lawmakers said in the letter.

It comes after Greenbelt, Maryland, was chosen last week over Landover, Maryland, and Springfield, Virginia.

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The letter cites the decision from a selection panel in August of this year to recommend Springfield as the site of the next HQ.

“The new Site Selection Authority unilaterally overturned the decision of the panel, including by making changes to the scoring — contrary to GSA’s own site selection plan — which benefited consideration of the Greenbelt site, and hurt the Springfield site,” the lawmakers stated.

They also raised concerns about a “potential conflict of interest,” with a GSA official who played a role in the final decision, since she once worked with the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority.

Joining in on the letter was Virginia’s two Democratic Sens. Mark Warner and Tim Kaine. Democratic House members Gerry Connolly, Robert Scott, Don Beyer, Abigail Spanberger, Jennifer Wexton and Jennifer McClellan, as well as Republican members Robert Wittman, Jen Kiggans and Morgan Griffith also signed onto the letter.

“These facts, when taken together, paint an ugly picture of a fatally flawed procurement that demands further investigation,” the group stated.

In a statement, the GSA said it welcomes review of its decision-making process:

“As a part of our longstanding commitment to transparency, we proactively and publicly released our site selection plan, decision-making materials, and results of our legal review evaluating the FBI’s concerns. We carefully followed the requirements and process, and stand behind GSA’s final site selection decision.”

The GSA’s Office of the Inspector General, which is independent of the GSA, said Thursday that it has received the letter and are “carefully considering the matter.”

On Tuesday, during a hearing of the House Oversight Committee, GSA Administrator Robin Carnahan said she stands by the decision that was made.

“I am proud of the process that we ran,” Carnahan said.

Rep. Connolly criticized Carnahan for standing by the agency’s process.

“I think you really risk damaging the credibility of the agency and its sense of fairness, and lack of political interference in decision making,” Connolly said.

During the hearing, several Republican members of Congress criticized the process along with Connolly, a Democrat.

“We’ve seen some very strange, indeed bizarre bedfellows, jumping in together in this cause,” Rep. Jamie Raskin said during the hearing.

He, along with a delegation of Maryland lawmakers, have publicly applauded the GSA’s decision and site selection process.

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