DEA Chief to Resign Amid Sex-Party Scandal

The recent firestorm created by the revelation that DEA agents were engaging with cartel-funded prostitutes proved too explosive to overcome.

DEA Administrator Michele Leonhart. 
National Journal
Eric Katz, Govexec
Add to Briefcase
Eric Katz, GovExec
April 22, 2015, 6:36 a.m.

The head of the Drug Enforcement Agency is expected to resign soon, according to multiple media reports.

DEA Administrator Michelle Leonhart has worked at the agency in various capacities for 35 years, but the recent firestorm created by the revelation that DEA agents were engaging with cartel-funded prostitutes proved too explosive to overcome. Leonhart has served as administrator for five years.

The outgoing DEA chief was eviscerated at a House Oversight and Government Reform hearing last week, when lawmakers said Leonhart did not have control of the organization, did not inflict severe enough punishment on the malfeasant agents, and obstructed a Justice Department investigation. Leonhart said she was statutorily removed from the disciplinary process, but committee members were not appeased.

(RELATED: Why Every Member of Congress Gets a Monthly Porn Delivery)

Republican Oversight Chairman Jason Chaffetz said Leonhart did not go far enough to create an environment in which firing the employees would have been easier.

“You may cry in the mirror, but you were in a position to do it and you didn’t,” Chaffetz said. “It’s an embarrassment you don’t fire that person. It’s an embarrassment you don’t revoke that person’s security clearance.”

After the hearing, White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest was asked if President Obama still had confidence in Leonhart, but Earnest demurred.

“The president has very high expectations for everybody who serves in his administration about their conduct and about keeping the public’s trust,” Earnest said. Asked if Leonhart failed to live up to those expectations, he added, “I think I’ve said all I have to say about this topic.”

(RELATED: Where the 2016 Republicans Stand on NSA Spying)

On Tuesday, Earnest reiterated the White House’s concerns about the sex-party reports, but declined to confirm Leonhart’s resignation.

In response to the short-term suspensions imposed on DEA agents who engaged in illicit activities, lawmakers vowed to produce legislation to cut the red tape involved in firing federal employees who break the law.

Late Tuesday, Chaffetz and House Oversight and Government Reform Committee ranking member Elijah Cummings issued a joint statement in support of Leonhart’s retirement:

“In light of the DOJ Inspector General’s report and the testimony we heard before our committee, Ms. Leonhart’s retirement is appropriate. With the opportunity now for fresh leadership, we are hopeful that the DEA can restore itself to an agency of distinction and excellence. The IG’s report exposed the bad behavior that was allowed to fester for more than a decade, and our Committee’s hearing shined a spotlight on the lack of accountability for these abuses. This process is strong evidence of how proper and bipartisan oversight can lead to a better functioning government for the citizens it serves.”

What We're Following See More »
TAKE THAT, HATERS
Trump: High IQ People Loved the Putin Meeting
35 minutes ago
THE LATEST
SAME MODEL AS STEEL AND ALUMINUM TARIFFS
Commerce to Look into Uranium Imports
37 minutes ago
THE DETAILS

"The Trump administration plans to open an investigation into whether uranium imports are harming national security, a move that could lead to tariffs on foreign shipments of the metal, said three people familiar with the matter. U.S. uranium producers Energy Fuels Inc. and Ur-Energy Inc. filed a petition in January asking the Commerce Department to investigate the matter under Section 232 of the 1962 Trade Expansion Act, the same provision the president used to slap tariffs on steel and aluminum imports."

Source:
DON'T BE EVIL
Google Fined $5 Billion By E.U. For Antitrust Violations
53 minutes ago
THE LATEST

Google has been fined a record-breaking $5 billion by E.U. regulators for abusing "its Android market dominance." Officials accuse Google of "bundling its search engine and Chrome apps into the operating system," of blocking "phone makers from creating devices that run forked versions of Android," and of making "payments to certain large manufacturers and mobile network operators" to exclusively use the Google Search app. Google plans to appeal the fine.

Source:
"POLICY DIFFERENCES DON'T MATTER"
Comey Says to Vote Democratic This Fall
11 hours ago
THE LATEST
ON DECK: HELSINKI, NORTH KOREA
Pompeo Called to Testify by Senate Foreign Relations
18 hours ago
THE LATEST
×
×

Welcome to National Journal!

You are currently accessing National Journal from IP access. Please login to access this feature. If you have any questions, please contact your Dedicated Advisor.

Login