The congressional delegation from Virginia has requested an investigation into the General Service Administration’s decision to select Greenbelt, Maryland as the site of the new FBI headquarters, the Washington Post reported.
In a November 15 letter to the GSA’s inspector general, the Virginia lawmakers alleged that in the final weeks of the process, the GSA tilted toward the 61-acre plot in Prince George’s County despite a 3-person panel unanimously choosing Springfield, Virginia, the location endorsed by the FBI.
The lawmakers noted that the criteria for choosing a location were altered in July after a political appointee within the GSA, who previously oversaw land acquisitions for Metro, replaced a career GSA official as the head of the selection process
As a result, the political appointee unilaterally overturned the panel’s unanimous recommendation and made changes to the scoring that hurt the Springfield location in favor of the location near Greenbelt, Maryland.
This political appointee has since left the GSA.
The letter, which was signed by nine of the 11 Virginia House members and both Virginia Senators, argued that there was “overwhelming evidence” that the site selection process administered by the GSA was “fouled by political considerations and alleged impropriety.”
The lawmakers accused the head of the selection process of suppressing, dismissing, and overriding the recommendations and judgment “of career officials” from both the GSA and the FBI.
Maryland Rep. Steny Hoyer, who has for years spearheaded an effort to lure the FBI to his state, responded to the Virginia delegation’s letter arguing that the GSA’s decision to select Greenbelt provided taxpayers with the “lowest cost” and offered the best transit access options and the most certain construction schedule while “furthering the Biden-Harris Administration’s commitment to equity.”
Maryland Senator Chris Van Hollen said the request for an inspector general investigation was a waste of taxpayer money and described the allegations from the Virginia delegation as baseless.