DHS acting IG takes another department job

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WASHINGTON (AP) - The acting Homeland Security inspector general has left his post and taken another job in the agency, the department said Tuesday.

Charles K. Edwards had been in charge of investigating allegations of wrongdoing within the massive department. Most recently he headed up a probe of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services Director Alejandro Mayorkas.

Edwards has also been accused of his own wrongdoing and has been the subject of a Senate subcommittee investigation.

Homeland Security said Edwards requested a transfer last week and has been allowed to move to the department's Science and Technology office. It is unclear exactly what his new job will be.

Edwards did not immediately respond to an email request for comment.

Days before Mayorkas testified in a Senate confirmation hearing in July, Edwards' office notified senators that Mayorkas had been accused of improperly influencing decisions in a foreign investor visa program and an investigation was ongoing.

Mayorkas has denied wrongdoing.

News of the investigation prompted Republicans on the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee to boycott the hearing.

After several months of delays, his nomination was sent to the full Senate earlier this month, despite objections from Republicans that the inspector general's investigation hasn't been completed.

Allegations of wrongdoing by Edwards have dogged him since earlier this year when whistleblowers accused him of being "susceptible to political pressure," engaging in nepotism and abusing his authority in other ways.

According to the Senate panel investigating Edwards, the whistleblowers have claimed that he omitted potentially damaging information from a report on last year's Secret Service prostitution scandal, among other things.

In a statement issued in July, Edwards denied wrongdoing and said the allegations were "completely without merit."

Edwards was scheduled to testify about the allegations again him Thursday in front of a Senate subcommittee. That hearing has been canceled.

The senators leading the Edwards investigation, Missouri Democrat Claire McCaskill and Wisconsin Republican Ron Johnson, said in a joint statement Tuesday they hoped Edwards' departure would "pave the way for a new level of accountability and transparency" at the Homeland Security IG's office.

"We plan to continue rigorous oversight to achieve that goal," the senators said.

Homeland Security did not say why Edwards, a career government employee, requested the transfer.

Earlier this year Obama nominated John Roth, who is now in charge of criminal investigations at the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, to be the inspector general.


Follow Alicia A. Caldwell on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/acaldwellap

(Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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