The House Oversight Committee on Monday threatened to subpoena Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos saying the billionaire member of President Donald Trump’s cabinet is choosing to attend several of his re-election campaign events instead of providing testimony to Congress.
The letter from Oversight Committee Chairwoman Carolyn Maloney (D-N.Y.) claimed DeVos’s office “stonewalled” a request, refusing to provide alternative dates for the secretary to address several “critical issues” it had been investigating, including: oversight of federal student loans; campus sexual harassment and assault policies; student protections at for-profit colleges, the independence of the department’s inspector general and compliance with collective bargaining requirements.
“In response, your office stonewalled and delayed, refusing for weeks to confirm your attendance or to provide any other possible dates that you would appear,” Maloney wrote.
Maloney then chided the Secretary of Education for publicly committing to appear at President Trump’s campaign events without ever responding to the Oversight Committee regarding her testimony.
“Unfortunately, it now appears that rather than agreeing to testify before Congress—which is your obligation as a public servant of the American taxpayers—you made plans to appear at multiple political events for President Trump’s re-election campaign,” the letter continued. “Instead of testifying before Congress, you are now apparently going to Iowa to campaign on behalf of President Trump today and then to Pennsylvania for another campaign event for him on Wednesday.”
DeVos was campaigning for Trump in Iowa on Monday as the state prepared its presidential caucuses. She is expected to appear in Camp Hill, Pennsylvania on Wednesday for an event hosted by the group Women for Trump, where she will be joined by Vice President Mike Pence and White House Senior Counselor Kellyanne Conway.
While DeVos is permitted to campaign with the president, Maloney said it was an abuse of her position to do so in lieu of providing Congress with valuable information pertaining to her department’s work.
“Ignoring—or defying— requests for congressional oversight in order to spend your time campaigning for President Trump is an abuse of your position as Secretary of Education,” Maloney wrote. “I am not suggesting that you may never campaign for the President, but you may not do so when it interferes with your official duties, including your duty to testify before Congress. If you will not agree to testify voluntarily, the Committee will have no choice but to consider issuing a subpoena to compel your appearance.”
Read Maloney’s full letter below:
[image via Chris Kleponis-Pool and Getty Images]