Brown, Merkley, Menendez, Cortez Masto Demand Details of Kathy Kraninger’s Role in Transferring $9.8 Million from FEMA to ICE

WASHINGTON, D.C. — U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) – ranking member of the U.S. Senate Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs – today joined with U.S. Senators Jeff Merkley (D-OR), Robert Menendez (D-NJ) and Catherine Cortez Masto (D-NV), requesting that Office of Management and Budget Program Associate Director and nominee for Director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) Kathy Kraninger provide documents related to her role in transferring funds away from Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) in the midst of hurricane season.

“You have served as Program Associate Director for General Government Programs at the Office of Management and Budget since March 2017. In that role, you have overseen several of the agencies responsible both for the “Zero-Tolerance” policy that separated thousands of children from their families, and the failed government response to hurricanes in Puerto Rico that lead to the deaths of thousands of American citizens,” wrote the Senators.  “Your approval of this diversion of funds from critical initiatives, or your failure to prevent it, would suggest a pattern of mismanagement and an inability to appropriately prioritize the deployment of federal resources.”

Read the full letter below.

September 13, 2018

Kathy Kraninger

Program Associate Director

Office of Management and Budget

725 17th Street NW

Washington, DC 20503

Dear Ms. Kraninger,

We write seeking documents related to your role in transferring funds away from the agency responsible for responding to emergencies and natural disasters like hurricanes, in the midst of hurricane season. 

You have described yourself as the “OMB’s [Office of Management and Budget] principal policy official” for the agencies under your oversight, including the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). According to a June 30th document, DHS approved the transfer or reprogramming of nearly $10 million in Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) funds to Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). The money was redirected from FEMA’s regional operations, response and recovery, mitigation, preparedness and protection, and mission support accounts in order to support ICE’s custody, transportation, and removal program related to its enforcement and removal operations.

You have served as Program Associate Director for General Government Programs at the Office of Management and Budget since March 2017. In that role, you have overseen several of the agencies responsible both for the “Zero-Tolerance” policy that separated thousands of children from their families, and the failed government response to hurricanes in Puerto Rico that lead to the deaths of thousands of American citizens. Your approval of this diversion of funds from critical initiatives, or your failure to prevent it, would suggest a pattern of mismanagement and an inability to appropriately prioritize the deployment of federal resources.

So that we may better understand your role in this decision, we ask that you provide:

1) A complete description of the OMB’s role in reviewing transfers or reprogramming of funds between programs, projects and activities at DHS, including your duties related to such role.

2) A complete description of the OMB’s role in reviewing this particular transfer or reprogramming of funds from FEMA to ICE, including your duties related to such role. Please include a list of all meetings you attended (in person or by telephone or other electronic means) related to this transfer or reprogramming, the topics discussed in these meetings, and a list of all other attendees of these meetings.

3) Any final analysis or decision memo signed by an OMB official to approve the transfer or reprogramming of funds, including any accompanying analysis provided by DHS, FEMA, ICE, or any other state or Federal agency.

4) All emails, electronic records, and other documents related to OMB’s communication with DHS, FEMA, ICE or White House officials with regard to this transfer or reprogramming of funds.

Please respond no later than Thursday, September 20.

Sincerely,

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