DoJ falls short in handling of sexual harassment claims within agency

  • Though the number of claims alleging sexual harassment may be low,  Inspector General Michael Horowitz said DoJ could do a better job of addressing those allegations. Horowitz sent a management advisory memo to DoJ leaders, noting that Justice’s Civil Division has no policy on when a sexual harassment or misconduct allegation should be reported to headquarters. (Department of Justice Office of Inspector General)
  • EPA employees can expect more information this summer about early buyouts and retirement. Agency acting Deputy Administrator Mike Flynn told employees they will know which positions will receive offers by July. Employees who accept those offers must leave EPA by early September. The agency is offering buyouts and early retirement in response to the government reorganization. (Federal News Radio)
  • Ethics waivers have been granted by the White House for at least 14 staff members, including some in high profile positions. This most recent batch of waivers allows President Counselor Kellyanne Conway to communicate with former clients and Chief of Staff Reince Priebus to work with the Republican National Committee. The waivers have also been granted for four former registered lobbyists. The rest are for other employees whose new government duties may overlap with their previous private jobs. During the Obama administration’s eight years in office, about 16 waivers were granted for White House officials. (Federal News Radio)
  • A Senate committee leader said he wants Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin to investigate what he calls fraudulent overpayments to illegal aliens under the IRS’ watch.  Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.), chairman of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs committee, asked Mnuchin to examine the use of Individual Taxpayer Identification Numbers for claiming Additional Child Tax Credits. Johnson quoted testimony by the IRS inspector general, who suggested that requiring Social Security Numbers for the claims could help reduce fraud. (Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee)
  • The cyber attack against the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has received more scrutiny on Capitol Hill. Five Senators have asked for more details from the FBI on the cyber attack the FCC suffered in May. Sens. Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii), Al Franken (D-Minn.), Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) and Ed Markey (D-Mass.) have written to acting FBI director Andrew McCabe asking him to prioritize its investigation into the distributed denial of service or DDoS attack against the commission. The Democratic senators called the cyber attack  extremely troubling because it threatens to stifle the public’s access to weigh in on issues. The lawmakers asked the FBI for a briefing on their investigation by June 23. (Sen. Brian Schatz)
  • The Defense Department(DoD) said it wants to manipulate the cyber terrain by making it easier to use machine learning to stop hackers on its networks. A new policy, expected in the next two months, will try to change DoD networks so that Cyber Mission Forces can sense and detect intruders in DoD networks. (Federal News Radio)
  • If the Navy wants a bigger fleet, its best bet might be to do a better job of maintaining the ones it already owns. The Navy has said it needs a fleet of 355 ships to meet all of its missions, compared to the 275 it has in the inventory today. The service’s current forecasts show the domestic industrial base won’t be able to build enough new vessels to reach that requirement until 2045.  But the commander of Naval Sea Systems Command said the Navy could meet the demand 10-15 years earlier if it invested more in keeping current ships in service for longer periods. Vice Admiral Thomas Moore said it makes no sense that the Navy maintains its carriers for 50-year lifespans, but retires most of its other vessels after about half that time. (Federal News Radio)
  • The Obama-era policy of letting transgender men and women join the military is on indefinite delay. Military Times cited multiple sources who said officers at the highest levels have misgivings. The policy is scheduled to go into effect on July 1. Defense Secretary James Mattis has asked military leaders to voice their concerns while leaving open the possibility of a delay if the policy would degrade readiness. (Military Times)
  • The Federal Retirement Thrift Investment Board said it is expanding the Thrift Savings Plan’s L-fund from a 10-year increment asset allocation to a five-year increment. The board says the change will allow participants better plan for retirement. The TSP board will also study the potential effects of including stocks in Canada and other emerging markets in the I-fund. The TSP continued its positive streak in May, after rebounding in April from a slight March downturn. Only the S-Fund posted a negative return for the month. (Federal News Radio)

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