Davis: Labor knew about Callahan issues

The Labor Department apparently knew that a top official had received her degree from a so-called diploma mill, according to a letter from Rep. Tom Davis (R-Va.), chairman of the House Government Reform Committee.

During a background check, the Office of Personnel Management found that Laura Callahan may have questionable credentials. OPM relayed this information to the Labor Department, where she served as the deputy chief information officer until she moved to the Department of Homeland Security, Davis said in his letter sent June 26 to DHS Inspector General Kent Ervin.

"I am very concerned that despite the transmittal [of] this information to the Department of Labor, no action was taken, and moreover, Ms. Callahan was subsequently named to a senior position at DHS," Davis wrote.

Callahan, DHS's deputy CIO, was placed on leave June 5 after reports that she has degrees from Hamilton University, an institution that grants academic degrees based on life and work experience.

Davis expressed support for the IG's investigation.

In a second letter to David Walker, the General Accounting Office's comptroller general, Davis yesterday requested that officials investigate federal employees' fraudulent use of credentials for promotions. He said he was concerned that despite guidance from OPM, agencies do not verify the degrees of employees seeking promotion after they have received a higher degree.

"I would like GAO to investigate how departments and agencies ensure that employees who have been promoted on the strength of enhanced educational achievement have actually earned the degrees they claim and that the degrees they claim represent legitimate educational achievements that justify promotion," Davis wrote.

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