WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, U.S. Senator Alex Padilla (D-Calif.) questioned Michael Bolton, Inspector General of the U.S. Capitol Police, during a Senate Rules and Administration committee oversight hearing examining the Capitol police following the January 6th attack on the Capitol.
During the hearing, Padilla asked about rooting out any white supremacy from within the ranks of the Capitol Police force, and called out a disturbing finding that a Capitol Police unit had relied on a contractor for police training that reportedly promoted white supremacist ideologies online. He asked whether the Inspector General’s office has “undertaken any deeper study into why or how this particular contractor came to be selected?…More broadly, have you already or do you plan to undertake any study of whether the use of this contractor suggests a wider concern with white supremacist ideologies within the force?”
Padilla also made the connection between former President Trump’s refusal to condemn white supremacy and the root causes of the Capitol attack saying that, “rooting out white supremacy not just in federal departments and agencies, but in law enforcement agencies…is top of mind for me, particularly because of – I’ll be blunt about it – the relationship that the Trump administration and President Trump himself had with some of these fringe groups, which were in large part what led to January 6th.”
In March, Padilla questioned Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) Director Christopher Wray on the January 6th Capitol attack and the issue of white supremacy in law enforcement during a Senate Judiciary Committee oversight hearing.
Key excerpts of Padilla-Bolton Exchange:
PADILLA: Next, I want to shift to the topic of white supremacy. It’s a conversation we’ve had in Judiciary Committee, with different nominees coming through for confirmation as it pertains to rooting out white supremacy not just in federal departments and agencies, but in law enforcement agencies, frankly, throughout the country. But specific to this, and it’s top of mind for me, particularly because of – I’ll be blunt about it – the relationship that the Trump administration and President Trump himself had with some of these fringe groups, which were in large part what led to January 6th.
In the course of your investigation, you found that the Capitol police’s containment emergency response team, the cert team, contracted with privately owned entities to train its personnel in firearm marksmanship and other tax-exempt facilities located outside the District of Columbia metropolitan area. One of the contractors used by the Capitol Police had, according to your report, “questionable content on their website.” News reports have suggested that the questionable content include symbols associated with the white supremacist movement.
These reports are, of course, a serious concern. So beyond identifying the fact of the contract and the concern of website content of the contractor, have you undertaken any deeper study into why or how this particular contractor came to be selected? And, you know, more broadly, have you already or do you plan to undertake any study of whether the use of this contractor suggests a wider concern with white supremacist ideologies within the force?
BOLTON: At this time, sir, once we discovered that we conveyed our concerns, as you mentioned, within a what we call management advisory report to the department our concerns in recommending that they seriously consider not utilizing that particular company. We have not done any in depth work on investigating a company. I did refer our information in my report over to Department of Justice for action as they deem appropriate, it’s more appropriate for them to look into this as opposed to – that would be somewhat outside of my jurisdiction. Unless that we could show that there was a contract fraud, they would keep it within my purview, but as investigating that kind of entity, that’s not within my jurisdiction, hence why I sent it over to Department of Justice for the more appropriate entity to look at that.
PADILLA: And Madam Chair, just a follow up question on this topic. So, appreciate you engage the Department of Justice for what they and only they can do. I would suggest along with this cultural shift that we’re talking about. This is something that remains in your purview. And let me ask an additional specific question to help. Given the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center and other non-contracted training facilities are nearby. Is there any justification for Capitol Police relying on contractors to provide training to officers and have you done a comprehensive review to determine if Capitol Police has entered into other similar contracts instead of relying on available federal resources that are available to train other federal law enforcement officers?
BOLTON: There’s really no reason for them not to use other federal agencies.
For additional information on the hearing, click here.