Inspector General reports on USDA’s oversight of civil rights complaints

USDA’s Inspector General says that there should be federal benchmarks for investigating civil rights complaints.

Lawmakers say that there have been long-standing issues of discrimination within USDA, and the process, or lack thereof, undermines the ability to resolve complaints in a timely manner.

At a House Ag hearing Tuesday, the Inspector General said that complaints are investigated by the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights, but that office was reorganized under the Trump administration, with serious cuts to funding.

According to Inspector General Phyllis Fang, “There is no federal regulation that sets out an appropriate time frame for program complaints, the Justice Department just says you have to do it in a prompt way... Our recommendation to OASCR is that they should figure out, do an assessment, perhaps do some benchmarking, think about what an appropriate time frame might be, and then be very clear on communicating that to the public as well as to their own people.”

She also said that the report also shows her office has their work cut out for them in righting the ship.


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