Government Watchdog Calls for Investigation into HHS Refugee Director Scott Lloyd

Emails Show Lloyd Intervened to Help His Former Employer Obtain a Government Contract

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: October 18, 2018

Contact: Daniel Stevens, dstevens@campaignforaccountability.org, 202.780.5750

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, Campaign for Accountability (“CfA”), a nonprofit, nonpartisan watchdog group focused on public accountability, called on officials at the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services (“HHS”) to investigate whether Scott Lloyd, Director of the Office of Refugee Resettlement (“ORR”), used his government position to help secure a government contract for his former employer, the Catholic fraternal service organization, the Knights of Columbus.

Read the complaint here.

CfA Counsel Alice Huling said, “Not only has Scott Lloyd worked to separate toddlers from their parents and personally interfered in the healthcare decisions of teenagers, it seems he also may have interceded to secure a government contract for his former employer in violation of President Trump’s ethics pledge.  HHS officials should investigate Lloyd’s conduct and discipline him appropriately.”

Click here to read CfA’s previous complaints against Scott Lloyd.

In April 2017, the Vice President of Communications and Strategic Planning for the Knights of Columbus, Andrew T. Walther, forwarded an email to Lloyd about a vacant monastery that might be available to temporarily house refugees.  A friar with the Franciscan Assumption Blessed Virgin Mary Province in Franklin, Wisconsin, had reached out to the Knights of Columbus regarding a building that might soon be vacant.

The friar said that the current tenant was moving out, so his organization was “looking for a use for it now and will be discussing it at our meeting in early June.”  He wrote that his organization would “consider temporary housing for refugees if that is needed,” an activity under the purview of Lloyd at ORR.

On June 13, 2017, Lloyd forwarded Walther’s request to Kenneth Tota, Deputy Director of ORR, asking Tota to further forward the request to the correct person.  Lloyd explained that the request was “in reference to a monastery that wants to house refugees in Wisconsin.”  Tota responded, agreeing to connect the Knights of Columbus with the ORR’s state coordinator for Wisconsin.

Click here to view the emails CfA received from HHS.

The emails suggest Scott Lloyd used his government position to help his former employer secure a government contract. President Trump’s ethics pledge, Executive Order 13770: Ethics Commitments by Executive Branch Employees, prohibits presidential appointees from working with their former employers on government business for a period of two years. Lloyd appears to have violated the ethics pledge by working with the Knights of Columbus to help them obtain a government contract.

CfA attempted to obtain a copy of Lloyd’s signed Ethics Pledge, but neither the Office of Government Ethics nor the Financial Disclosure Section of HHS would provide it, forcing CfA to submit a FOIA request for Lloyd’s signed agreement. HHS has yet to respond to that request.

Huling continued, “Scott Lloyd’s conduct has been deplorable from the moment he entered government service. Lloyd’s attempts to foist his extreme ideology on teenage refugees has so far been defeated by federal courts, but his misdeeds extend well beyond restricting the rights of undocumented immigrants. It’s time for HHS officials to hold Scott Lloyd accountable.”

Campaign for Accountability is nonprofit watchdog organization that uses research, litigation, and aggressive communications to expose misconduct and malfeasance in public life and hold those who act at the expense of the public good accountable for their actions.