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Rep. Hastings asks DOI for answers about Jeanette Hanna

Filed Under: National | Politics
More on: 113th, bia, doc hastings, doi, hnrc, house, jeanette hanna, kevin washburn, larry echohawk, oig, paul tsosie

Rep. Doc Hastings (R-Washington), the chairman of the House Natural Resources Committee, is pressing the Obama administration for answers about Jeanette Hanna, a Bureau of Indian Affairs employee who has been the subject of numerous complaints.

In letters to Laura Davis, the chief of staff to Interior Secretary Sally Jewell, and Assistant Secretary Kevin Washburn, the head of the BIA, Hastings notes that Hanna was the subject of 17 formal complaints between 2005 and 2011. He wants to know whether she received any awards, promotions, job changes, salary changes, raises or bonuses during that time frame.

Hastings also wants to know whether the Interior Department ever took steps to recover the excess expenditures that Hanna incurred during her 775-day detail in Washington, D.C. A report from the Office of Inspector General at the Interior Department said the BIA paid for a more expensive vehicle and for her lodging even when she returned to her home in Oklahoma.

The OIG report put the excess spending at more than $40,000 and noted that Hanna never reported her travel expenses to the Internal Revenue Service, as required by any employee who has been on detail for over a year. Federal prosecutors, however, declined to press charges.

Hanna was serving as regional director of the BIA's office in Eastern Oklahoma when she was placed on leave in November 2009 for reasons that the agency has never publicly disclosed. By January 2010, she was detailed to work in D.C., for Paul Tsosie, the former chief of staff to former assistant secretary Larry Echo Hawk.

The BIA completed an investigation into allegations against Hanna a few months later and confirmed that she "fostered a hostile work environment and engaged in retaliation, harassment and mismanagement" in Eastern Oklahoma, according to the OIG. The 2010 report, however, has not been made public so Hastings has asked for a copy.

Hastings also wants a unredacted copy of the OIG's 2012 report. The copy that Indianz.Com posted on April 30 contains numerous redactions that seem to portray Hanna in an unfavorable light.

"Because of the seriousness of the accusations, it is important to fully understand what steps were taken as a result of the 2010 federal investigation and the 2012 OIG investigation, as well as how the AS-IA handles referrals from OIG in serious cases," Hastings wrote in the letter to Washburn.

Hastings asked for Davis and Washburn to submit information to his committee, which exercises jurisdiction over Indian issues, by May 31.

Rep. Hastings Letters:
Letter to Chief of Staff Laura Davis (May 17, 2013)
Letter to Assistant Secretary Kevin Washburn (May 17, 2013)

DOI Inspector General Report:
Jeanette Hanna (August 2012)

Related Stories:
In The Loop: Jeanette Hanna overspent on detail to BIA in DC (05/09)
Echo Hawk kept BIA regional director on overextended detail (5/1)
Echo Hawk removed official who investigated Jeanette Hanna (5/1)
In The Hoop: Jeanette Hanna inherits BIA's coveted Iron Fist (5/1)
In The Hoop: Come fill in the blanks in OIG's redacted report (5/1)
Inspector General Reports: Larry Echo Hawk, Jeanette Hanna (4/30)
Echo Hawk creates new post for director under investigation (4/)
BIA lists job opening for Eastern Oklahoma's regional director (4/2)
In the Loop: BIA's regional director goes missing in action (3/28)
BIA regional office goes without director for over two years (3/22)
BIA faces leadership void among regional director level (2/2)
BIA official in Eastern Oklahoma placed on leave (11/9)

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