It’s not very often that Democrats and Republican lawmakers agree on anything, and yet we have them in a joint statement calling fowl over a politically compromised FBI and the decision to move their headquarters. That alone was enough for me to pause and see what the fuss was all about.
Virginia officials are speaking out against what they see as a politically motivated decision that led the General Services Administration (GSA) to move the new FBI headquarters out of their state. Governor Glenn Youngkin and 10 lawmakers from the state released a joint statement calling for the GSA to reverse its decision, accusing the GSA of “political interference” in the selection process.
“We have repeatedly condemned political interference in the independent, agency-run site selection process for a new FBI headquarters,” the statement reads. “Any fair weighing of the criteria points to a selection of Virginia.”
The statement comes after the GSA chose Greenbelt, Maryland, for the new $300 million FBI headquarters instead of Washington, D.C., or Springfield, Virginia. Furthermore, FBI Director Christopher Wray accused GSA official Nina Albert of having a “conflict of interest” in her decision. Wray said the FBI had “concerns about fairness and transparency” in the selection process and felt those concerns remained “unresolved.”
Democrats’ strong control over the FBI has been a source of corruption and broken promises. It’s clear that the Virginia officials have every right to be angry, as they witnessed the political interference first hand in the selection process.
One Democratic representative, Don Beyer, expressed his dismay about the decision by saying: “We are deeply disturbed to learn that a political appointee at the General Services Administration overruled the unanimous recommendation of a three-person panel comprised of career experts from the GSA and the [FBI].”
It’s essential that the GSA takes action to correct this mistake and makes sure that the decision was not one based on political favoritism. According to a bipartisan group of senators, “any influence on the location decision driven by non-merit considerations should be considered unacceptable.” Now, more than ever, the American people need to be confident that our government is acting with integrity and fairness, not through cronyism. It is the duty of the GSA to make sure that happens.