- The Washington Times
Tuesday, September 17, 2019

Two House Republicans are accusing Democratic committee chairmen of breaking House rules for refusing their request to interview Metro Inspector General Geoffrey Cherrington about his job’s challenges during a hearing on reforms for the inspector general position.

“Aside from violating House rules and longstanding committee practice, your refusal to allow Mr. Cherrington to testify prevents members from assessing whether his office can fully and independently examine the allegations levied against District of Columbia Council member Jack Evans — an examination you asked him to do,” Reps. Jim Jordan of Ohio and Mark Meadows of North Carolina said in a letter Tuesday to Democratic leaders on the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee.

The letter was sent to Reps. Elijah E. Cummings of Maryland, the committee’s chairman, and Gerry Connolly of Virginia, chairman of the government operations subcommittee.

The subcommittee is scheduled Wednesday to hear from the Council of the Inspectors General on Integrity and Efficiency (CIGIE) about the challenges it faces.

Mr. Jordan, the ranking Republican on the Oversight Committee, and Mr. Meadows, the ranking member on the subcommittee, said they had invited Mr. Cherrington to speak about the challenges he faces and his ability to conduct an investigation into Mr. Evans, Ward 2 Democrat and former Metro Board chairman.

In their letter, they describe how the Metro IG lacks independence that others enjoy: Mr. Cherrington must receive permission from the Metro Board before releasing a report, does not have an independent legal counsel and must go through Metro’s human resources department to hire personnel.

“Documents produced to the Committee also suggest that Evans may have attempted to misuse Mr. Cherrington’s authority by directing him to initiate an investigation that would advance Evans’s personal business interests,” Mr. Jordan and Mr. Meadows wrote. “Although we understand that you may invite Mr. Cherrington to testify in October, we assume that you would want to ensure now-as early as possible-that Mr. Cherrington could conduct a thorough and independent examination of Evans’s misconduct.”

The letter says that Democrats denied request to invite Mr. Cherrington because he is not a member of the CIGIE and that Mr. Cummings is breaking House rules that allow a witness from the minority to testify at every hearing.

Mr. Cummings and Mr. Connolly did not respond to a request for comment.

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