Collins asks Labor what it knew and what it plans to do

Laura Callahan

Sen. Susan Collins has asked the Labor Department to provide details about its review of the educational credentials of Labor's former deputy CIO, who claims academic degrees from an unaccredited institution.

Collins, chairwoman of the Senate Governmental Affairs Committee, this month wrote to the department seeking details about measures it would take regarding the questionable academic credentials of Laura Callahan.

Before moving to the Homeland Security Department'where she is on paid administrative leave while DHS reviews her credentials'Callahan was deputy CIO at Labor.

Callahan's resume lists bachelor's, master's and doctorate degrees from the unaccredited Hamilton University in Wyoming.

The Secret Service is investigating her academic credentials because Callahan has a security clearance.

'I am writing to solicit information on this matter, including whether Ms. Callahan used these bogus degrees to gain a promotion or bonus, [and] whether federal funds helped her pay for any of the degrees,' Collins said in her letter to Patrick Pizzella, assistant secretary of Labor for administration and management.

The Maine Republican asked Pizzella:
  • What measures did Labor take to determine if Callahan obtained degrees from 'substandard or fraudulent institutions'?

  • Are there records of instances when Callahan referred to or cited her degrees from Hamilton University?

  • Did Callahan receive any promotions or bonuses based on the degrees?

  • What actions might Labor take if it finds employees have fraudulent, substandard or nonexistent education credentials?

  • Are there records of the department reimbursing Callahan for academic work?

  • What policies and procedures does Labor have to ensure employees seeking tuition reimbursement are studying at accredited schools?

  • What actions has the department taken since learning that Callahan's degrees were from an unaccredited institution?

Labor's Pizzella must submit his answers by July 25.

A department spokesman said, 'The Labor Department will respond to the letter with all the facts that we have by the committee's deadline.'

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