By Steve Neavling
Some lawmakers are raising questions about the federal government’s decision to choose Maryland as the site of the new FBI headquarters and are calling for an internal investigation.
Lawmakers on the House Committee on Oversight and Accountability grilled Robin Carnahan, the head of the General Services Administration, which last week picked Maryland over Virginia to build the sprawling campus.
Carnahan sought to assure lawmakers that the process was fair and transparent, Roll Call reports.
“I am proud of the process that we ran. I stand behind the decision of our team, and of all the public servants who carefully followed that process and selected the site most advantageous to the government,” Carnahan told lawmakers.
Rep. Gerald E. Connolly, D-Va., said a political appointee at GSA overturned a panel that picked Virginia.
“Because of her — I will say in my opinion arbitrary — overturn of their findings, you ended up picking one side over the other, and that raises serious questions about the process,” Connolly said.
“You really risk damaging the credibility of the agency and its sense of fairness and lack of political interference in decision-making. I think there’s a lot at risk here,” he said.
Connolly said he is requesting an inspector general inquiry.
The oversight committee’s chairman, Rep. James R. Comer, R-Ky., said he had similar concerns and repeated the request for the GSA’s Office of Inspector General to review the decision.
“The decision implicates hundreds of millions of dollars in taxpayer dollars and economic impact for the surrounding community,” Comer said.
FBI Director Christopher Wray also had issues with the site selection process, claiming in an internal email that the bureau at time saw outside information “inserted into the process in a manner which appeared to disproportionately favor Greenbelt,” according to The Associated Press.