Deputy IG Cathy Trujillo sent an e-mail, obtained by the Loop, informing the would-be travelers — including 13 IGs from the U.S. and six from international offices in Pakistan, Philippines, Afghanistan, El Salvador, Senegal, and South Africa, that the trip was on hold.
“As you all can imagine we have been responding to inquiries following the Washington Post article. Our priority over the next couple of weeks will be to meet with our stakeholders to address questions on the comments included in the article. Therefore, we have decided to postpone the leadership meeting until a later date,” she wrote. “So, please contact the hotel as soon as possible and cancel your reservations so not to get billed. Also, cancel your plane reservations and the travel authorization for this trip.”
The group was scheduled to arrive in Frankfurt on Monday and attend morning and afternoon meetings Tuesday through Thursday. We’ve heard they were booked to stay at a Best Western Premier across from the U.S. consulate for $147 a night. The total government per diem for Frankfurt is $437. We also heard that airfares ranged from $1,700 to $4,400. Whistleblowers claim acting director Michael Carroll always flies business class, and that his ticket would cost about $12,000. The total cost of the trip was estimated to cost the government $87,492.
We reached out to the OIG for more information about the now-canceled trip, specifically how common these international meetings are. We’ve heard the IGs working abroad were in the U.S. in January for a meeting and Carroll made several trips this year to meet with overseas staff. No response so far.
The OIG released a lengthy statement (which can be read here) a few days after the Post story ran, defending the changes that were made to audits as part of the normal review process. For the story, The Post interviewed eight current auditors and employees who came forward to complain about negative findings being altered in their reports.