The US House Oversight Committee is investigating the Securities and Exchange Commission’s expenses on outside consultants from Booz Allen Hamilton. The lawmakers are concerned about possible waste. The committee sent a letter to SEC Chairman Elisse Walter January 3 and gave the agency until January 17 to submit documents regarding the payments made to Booz Allen. The SEC must also explain how it the agency chose to employ the consulting company.
Last February, Reuters reported that the SEC spent millions of dollars on Booz Allen consultants to help streamline the agency. Some agency insiders questioned whether the agency was getting its money’s worth.
At the time of publication of the report, the SEC already spent over $8.5 million in less than a year on consultants to advice on improving workflows and back-office operations. The consultants were paid ranging from $100 to $300 per hour.
In a letter, Issa said that he was concerned that the use of the consultants generates overlaps between their work and the responsibilities and authority of the SEC’s Chief Operating Officer Jeffrey Heslop. Heslop was tasked by former SEC Chairman Mary Schapiro to help bolster the operations of the SEC and supervise the hiring of the Booz Allen consultants.
Issa said that the overlap raises serious questions about the necessity of the consultants, duplication of efforts, and waste of taxpayers’ money. He added that he wants Heslop to submit briefing on the consultants’ works.
Issa noted that the conclusions in the Reuters’ report about the hiring of the Booz Allen consultants are similar with the claims made in a lawsuit against the SEC filed by former SEC Assistant Inspector General for Investigations David Weber. He was placed on leave from the SEC last year after employees complained he spoke openly about carrying a gun at work.
Weber was later fired and in November he filed a lawsuit against SEC. He claimed that the firing was in retaliation for his attempts to probe the various improprieties at the agency.
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