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Hagerty: DHS disinformation board is probably illegal National news

(Central Square) – US Senator Bill Hagerty says the creation of a council within the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), which is tasked with combating “misinformation”, is likely illegal.

The creation of the board and the hiring of a new director without congressional approval violates several federal laws, according to Hagerty, R-Tenny. Deliberately and intentionally violating one of them carries a fine of $ 5,000 and imprisonment for up to two years, he adds.

Hagerty sent a letter to DHS Secretary Alejandro Mallorca, saying that his actions deserve consideration by Congress, both in general and in accordance with the Congressional Review Act (CRA), and because the actions may violate the provisions of the Combating Act. with a deficit. ”

He told Mallorca that “you will comply” with the CRA’s requirements when it comes to setting up a DHS disinformation council, because the law requires that any agency actions that fall under the definition of a “rule” must be submitted to Congress for consideration before than it can come into force. “

The creation of the council and the hiring of a new director, Nina Jankovic, “may also be a direct violation of the provisions of the Anti-Deficit Act,” Hagerti wrote. The law prohibits “incurring or authorizing expenditures, creating or sanctioning liabilities on any appropriations or funds in excess of the amount available in the appropriations or fund, unless permitted by law.”

Federal funding, which is available for Jankovic’s board and salary, is “no,” he said, because “Congress clearly levied it just a few weeks ago.”

Referring to a section of the Appropriations Act 2022, Hagerty said the law “in particular prohibits the Secretary of Homeland Security from using any funds provided by Congress to enforce section 872 of the Internal Security Act 2002, meaning he was deprived of funds to“ distribute or redistribute functions among the officers of the Department of Homeland Security or create, merge or change organizational units within the Department of Homeland Security ”.

Hagerty also warned Majorca, writing: “As you know, an officer or servant, including you, who violates the Anti-Deficit Act,” is subject to appropriate administrative discipline “, and for intentional violations he faces a fine, imprisonment , or both.

A federal employee who intentionally violates the Anti-Deficit Act “shall be subject to appropriate administrative discipline, including, when circumstances so require, dismissal without pay or dismissal.” A federal employee who “knowingly and intentionally” violates it “should be fined no more than $ 5,000, imprisoned for no more than 2 years or both”.

After receiving a wide range of criticism regarding the DHS disinformation board, Mallorca hit television last weekend and testified in the Senate on Wednesday. DHS also released a report on its disinformation initiative, calling it an internal working group.

Initially, Mallorca said DHS had talked to secretaries of state and the new council would focus on future by-elections. But the newsletter says it focuses on “disinformation spread by foreign powers such as Russia, China and Iran, or other adversaries such as multinational and human smuggling organizations. Such attackers often spread misinformation to exploit vulnerable individuals and the American public, including during emergencies in the country. ”

Mallorca defended Jankovic’s choice, despite many of her allegations being false, while she called many Americans who exercise their freedom of speech “launderers of misinformation,” even calling her parents in Laudan County, Virginia. disinformation “engaged in” misinformation for profit “.

Twenty attorneys general demanded that Mallorca immediately close the disinformation board or DHS working group, whatever it is called, claiming it was unconstitutional, illegal and un-American. If he fails to do so, they said they would sue.

Hagerty gave Mallorca until May 16 to present to Congress the rules and policies to be implemented by the DHS Disinformation Council. He also instructed Mallorca to send a letter to the director of the Office of Management and Budget, President Joe Biden, Congress and the Comptroller General of the United States, containing specific information about the “violation, if it really happened.”

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