By Steve Neavling
The GSA administrator who is overseeing the construction of a new FBI headquarters is accused of misleading Congress about the role the White House played in the project, the Washington Post reports , citing a soon-to-be-published report from the agency’s inspector general.
GSA Administrator Emily Murphy downplayed the White House’s involvement while testifying before the House Appropriations Committee in April.
The GSA last year scrapped a plan to build a new FBI headquarters in the Washington suburbs in favor of building a smaller headquarters in downtown D.C., which would require some staff to relocate to Alabama, Idaho and West Virginia.
The inspector general’s report concluded that Murphy’s testimony “was incomplete and may have left the misleading impression that she had no discussions with the President or senior White House officials about the project.”
During the hearing, Rep. Mike Quigley, D-Ill., asked Murphy, “To your knowledge, was the president or anyone else at the White House involved in those discussions, either with your predecessors, people you’re working with now, or yourself?”
Murphy responded, “The direction that we got came from the FBI. It was the FBI that directed to GSA as to what its requirements would be. We obviously did coordinate, given that it is a substantial budget request, we coordinated that request with OMB to provide for funding but the requirements were generated by the FBI.”
The Post reports that Murphy had discussed the project with Trunmp, White House Chief of Staff John F. Kelly, senior White House adviser Jared Kushner and other White House officials
Some Congressional members accused Trump of intervening because his hotel is a stone’s throw from the FBI headquarters, and the president doesn’t want a competing hotel to replace the brutalist building.