Senate committee questions GSA IG about investigation tactics

Thursday - 9/6/2012, 5:52pm EDT

The Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee has asked the General Services Administration's Inspector General to explain what some would call his staff's aggressive tactics during the investigation of the agency's SmartPay conference in Nashville last month.

Multiple sources confirmed committee staff questioned IG Brian Miller during a call this week in preparation for the committee's hearing Sept. 12 on management changes at GSA. Miller and acting GSA Administrator Dan Tangherlini are expected to testify on the progress GSA has made in fixing problems with oversight of conferences and spending.

During the pre-hearing call, the committee, prompted by the Federal News Radio story, wanted to know why one of Miller's investigators decided to knock on the GSA employees' door after 11 p.m. when he found no problems with the conference.

Leslie Phillips, a committee spokeswoman for the majority, confirmed the meeting happened and staff asked the question about the late-night investigation.

Stephen Heckler, an investigator on Miller's staff, awoke David Shea, GSA's director of the Charge Card Management program, on or around 11 p.m. Aug. 1. There are conflicting accounts about what happened next.

Sources say Miller responded by saying he doesn't question how his investigators do their jobs.

The IG's office would not comment on the meeting with the Senate committee.

A committee staff member said the question was a few minutes of an hour-long call where a long list of GSA missteps was discussed with the IG.

A draft internal GSA memo, obtained by Federal News Radio, detailed the tactics of the IG's investigator from Shea's perspective, which included Heckler reading Shea his Miranda rights, getting agitated when Shea asked him to leave and not following up with Shea or anyone of his staff the next day.

The GSA IG's spokeswoman said the special agent didn't read Shea his Miranda rights and left immediately after Shea said he wouldn't talk to him.

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