House Homeland Security Committee Staff Said to be in Turmoil

July 15, 2008

Democratic and Republican congressional aides say there is turmoil within the House Homeland Security Committee’s majority staff and that oversight work is being eclipsed by a focus on promoting contracting opportunities for small and minority-owned businesses.

Sources who spoke only if they could remain anonymous said they are particularly concerned that the committee’s new staff director, I. Lanier Avant, does not have the qualifications to lead the committee and faces a conflict of interest because he continues to serve as chief of staff in House Homeland Security Chairman Bennie Thompson’s congressional office.

They expressed concern that Avant must balance his duties on Thompson’s personal staff, which includes attention to politics and fundraising, and managing the heavy responsibilities of running the committee, which he began doing last month.

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(Chris Strohm, “House Panel’s Staff Said to be in Turmoil,” CongressDailyAM, 7/15/08)