This post has been updated.
Two House Republicans have called for a federal investigation of a top Drug Enforcement Administration official who they claim tried to “intimidate” members of Congress during a conversation about a prescription drug bill.
In a letter to the Justice Department’s inspector general, Michael Horowitz, Reps. Marsha Blackburn (Tenn.) and Tom Marino (Pa.), allege DEA Deputy Assistant Administrator Joe Rannazzisi accused several members of Congress and their staff of “supporting criminals” during a conversation about the Ensuring Patient Access and Effective Drug Enforcement Act of 2014 in early July.
“We believe an accusation of this nature from a DOJ official is totally unacceptable and does in fact constitute serious misconduct,” Blackburn and Marino wrote. “We have no other choice but to conclude that his statement was an effort to attempt to intimidate the United States Congress.”
The bill would give pharmaceutical distributors in violation of federal regulations a chance to “submit a corrective action plan within a reasonable time period” before revoking their registration.
The bill passed the House by voice vote on July 29.
Blackburn and Marino noted that their consultation with Rannazzisi or any Executive Branch official was merely a “courtesy” meant to foster dialogue between the branches of government.
“Slanderous accusations against members of Congress have no place in this dialogue,” they wrote. “With this in mind we ask you to investigate this matter further and make a determination as to whether Mr. Rannazzisi’s baseless accusations constitute serious misconduct by a Department official.”
A spokesman for the Office of the Inspector General declined to comment.
A spokesman for the DEA did not return a request for comment.
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