(The Center Square) – U.S. Senator Bill Hagerty has said the creation of a Department of Homeland Security (DHS) board to tackle “disinformation” is likely illegal.
Creating the board and hiring its new director without congressional authorization violates several federal laws, argues Hagerty, R-Tenn. Knowingly and willfully violating any of them is punishable by a $5,000 fine and up to two years in prison, it adds.
Hagerty sent a letter to DHS Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas saying his “actions deserve congressional scrutiny, both generally, as well as under the Congressional Review Act (CRA) and because the actions may be in violation of the provisions of the Anti-Disability Act. ”
He told Mayorkas that “you will comply with the requirements” of the CRA regarding the creation of the DHS Disinformation Committee, as the law requires that “any action by the agency that falls within the definition of a “Rule” must be submitted to Congress for review before it can go into effect.
The creation of the board of directors and the hiring of its new director, Nina Jankowicz, “could also constitute a direct violation of the provisions of the anti-disability law”, wrote Hagerty. The statute prohibits “making or authorizing an expenditure out of, or creating or authorizing an obligation under, any appropriation or fund in excess of the amount available in the appropriation or fund, except as authorized by law. “.
The federal funding available for the board and for Jankowicz’s salary “is ‘zero,'” he said, because “Congress explicitly canceled it just weeks ago.”
Citing a section of the FY2022 Omnibus Appropriations Act, Hagerty said the act “specifically prohibits the Secretary of Homeland Security from using funds provided by Congress to enforce Section 872 of the Appropriations Act. Homeland Security Act of 2002, meaning it reversed any action to “allocate or reassign functions among Department of Homeland Security officers or establish, consolidate, or alter organizational units within the Department of Homeland Security. “
Hagerty also warned Mayorkas, writing, “As you know, any officer or employee, including you, who violates the Anti-Disability Act ‘will be subject to appropriate administrative discipline’ and, if deliberately violated, incurs criminal fine, imprisonment, or both.”
A federal employee who willfully violates the anti-deficit law “will be subject to appropriate administrative discipline, including, where circumstances warrant, suspension from duty without pay or removal from office.” A federal employee who “knowingly and willfully” violates “will be fined up to $5,000, jailed for up to 2 years, or both.”
After receiving a wide range of criticism about the DHS Disinformation Committee, Mayorkas hit the television circuit last weekend and testified before the Senate on Wednesday. DHS also released a fact sheet on its disinformation initiative, calling it an internal task force.
Initially, Mayorkas said DHS had discussed with the secretaries of state and the new council would focus on the upcoming midterm elections. But the fact sheet says it focuses on “disinformation spread by foreign states such as Russia, China and Iran, or other adversaries such as transnational criminal organizations and drug trafficking organizations. ‘Human being. These malicious actors often spread disinformation to exploit vulnerable people and the American public, including during national emergencies.
Mayorkas defended Jankowicz’s selection despite numerous claims she made that turned out to be false, as she called many Americans exercising their freedom of speech ‘disinformation launderers’, even calling Loudon County , Virginia, of parents who objected to the curriculum being taught to their children as “disinformators” engaged in “misinformation for profit.”
Twenty attorneys general have demanded that Mayorkas immediately shut down the DHS Disinformation Committee, or task force, whatever it is called, arguing that it is unconstitutional, illegal and un-American. If he doesn’t, they said they would take legal action.
Hagerty gave Mayorkas until May 16 to submit to Congress the rules and policies that the DHS Disinformation Committee would implement. He also asked Mayorkas to submit a letter to the Director of the Office of Management and Budget, President Joe Biden, Congress, and the Comptroller General of the United States with specific information about “the breach if it occurred.” actually produced”.