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Texas Governor Removes Appointee Who Helped Iraq Lobby Out of Travel Ban, Report Says

** HOLD FOR RELEASE UNTIL 12:01 A.M. EST MONDAY JAN. 25, 2010 ** FILE - In this Feb. 2, 2009, file photo Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction Stuart Bowen testifies on Capitol Hill in Washington before the Wartime Contracting Commission. According to an audit by Bowen to be issued …
AP File Photo/J. Scott Applewhite
Austin, TX

Texas Governor Greg Abbott asked for the resignation of the State’s Health and Human Services (HHS) inspector general (IG) after reports that he worked for the Iraqi government as a consultant. A Texas news outlet revealed the IG assisted Iraq in getting removed from President Donald Trump’s executive order temporarily restricting travel to the U.S. from certain countries.

Governor Abbott fired HHS Inspector General Stuart Bowen shortly after the revelations made by Texas Monthly. Bowen reportedly began providing consulting services to a Washington lobby firm that is registered as a foreign agent for Iraq.

“This was a serious and unacceptable lapse in judgment by Mr. Bowen,” Abbott’s Spokesman John Wittman said in a statement obtained by Breitbart Texas. “The day the governor was made aware, he took immediate action and asked Mr. Bowen to resign. The governor is confident the next Inspector General will continue the good work the office has been doing.”

Texas Monthly reported: 

The lobby firm of Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck approached administration officials about two weeks after Trump signed the initial travel ban, The Hill reported. Between February 9 and February 13, the firm repeatedly invoked Bowen’s name in letters to Trump administration officials, referring to him as a “senior adviser to our firm” and urging Trump’s executive team to meet with a senior Iraqi official representing the nation’s prime minister. On March 6, Trump signed a new executive order that didn’t include Iraq in the travel ban list.

The governor appointed Bowen to serve as inspector general for the State’s embattled HHS organization after it became bogged down in controversy over no-bid contracts given to one of the State’s Medicaid fraud investigating companies, Breitbart Texas reported in January 2015:

The Inspector General is charged with preventing, detecting, and investigating, fraud, abuse, and waste in Texas health and human services programs. Bowen served as the Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction (SIGIR) for 10 years. He was responsible for leading the federal agency that was charged with overseeing $62 billion US tax dollars appropriated for Iraq’s reconstruction. Bowen reported to the Secretaries of Defense and State and according to the press release from the Governor’s office, Bowen secured nearly $2 billion in taxpayer benefits, obtained over 90 convictions, and produced over 500 reports. He traveled to Iraq thirty-five times.

Following Governor Abbott’s request, Bowen stepped down from the agency.

“The Health and Human Services Office of Inspector General announce that Stuart Bowen submitted his resignation yesterday,” HHS officials stated on Thursday. “During this transition, Principal Deputy Inspector General Sylvia Kauffman will perform the duties of the Inspector General effective immediately.”

In a letter to Abbott, Bowen said he was leaving to pursue “new opportunities,” the Dallas Morning News reported on Thursday afternoon.

Bob Price serves as associate editor and senior political news contributor for Breitbart Texas. He is a founding member of the Breitbart Texas team. Follow him on Twitter @BobPriceBBTX and Facebook.

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