Congress to investigate TSA bonuses

A senior manager for TSA at MSP Airport spoke for the first time about retaliation within the agency.

- A U.S. House Oversight Committee has announced it is investigating awards and bonuses paid out to senior management with the Transportation Security Administration (TSA).  The move comes the day after the FOX 9 Investigators revealed  70,000 in bonuses and awards paid to a senior manager for TSA.  

In a letter to TSA Administrator Peter Neffenger, Committee Chair Jason Chaffetz (R-UT) said he’s is seeking detailed information about the bonuses and awards to make sure compensation isn’t being abused.  The House Oversight and Government Reform Committee is seeking all instances of bonuses paid to TSA employees since January 1, 2011.  TSA has until March 4 to respond with the information.

Drew Rhoades, an Assistant Federal Security Director at Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport, filed a whistleblower complaint with TSA last year on the bonus issue.  Rhoades complained that TSA managers making more than $162,000 got automatic bonuses. That includes an assistant administrator at TSA Headquarters in charge of security, Kelly Hoggan, who got $70,000 in bonuses over three years. Even though according to a leaked Homeland Security report, undercover tests found weapons and fake explosive getting past security 95% of the time in 70 covert tests.

"It wasn't tied to a performance rating, wasn't tied to any objective basis, if you have a high salary you continue to get performance bonuses," Rhoades recalled.

According to TSA, a report from the Department of Homeland Security Office of Inspector General concerning compensation to certain TSA executives in 2013 and 2014, found “no violations of law or policy in those payments.”

In a statement to FOX 9, TSA said:  “Since his confirmation, Administrator Peter Neffenger has sought to enhance respect, selflessness, collaboration, and accountability in all activities, across the agency, from executive decision-making to core security functions. TSA will not tolerate illegal, unethical or immoral conduct. When such conduct is alleged, it is investigated thoroughly, and when appropriate, by an outside authority. When an investigation finds that misconduct has occurred, TSA takes the appropriate action. This is the case regardless of seniority or position.”  

TSA has reportedly changed its bonus policy, limiting performance bonuses to $10,000 annually.

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