– ITU-Reporter

FORMER NSF investigations, legal chief advances toward confirmation for oversight role in the FCC, announcements variously indicated.

Published: July 31, 2023 – Vol. 14 No. 29, World Radiocommunication Week

Funding, Affiliations

 

Fraud and Research Misconduct Specialist Teed-up for FCC Inspector General

 

The U.S. Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation gave a nod of approval to Fara Damelin for FCC Inspector General, a July 12 announcement said.  Damelin and President Biden’s three other FCC nominations advanced to the U.S. Senate, it said.  The committee teed-up three FCC commissioners for confirmation votes.  Confirmations are expected, and would fill-out the five-commissioner FCC bench after a lengthy gap.  Two of three commissioners were up for reappointment. 

Damelin spent 14 years as an investigative attorney at the National Science Foundation (NSF) Office of Inspector General (OiG) and became a director of the NSF “Office of Investigations Legal Division,” a webpage on the Council of the Inspectors General on Integrity and Efficiency (CIGIE) said.  The office no longer obviously appears on the NSF OiG website.  That attribution was echoed this year in a White House announcement and separately by her university law school.

The few recent NSF OiG investigative press releases revolved around the veracity of information in funding applications, and from applicants and about foreign affiliations, and financial misconduct.  Funding went to materials, technology and other research.  Recent named U.S. donor agencies included NSF, NASA, NOAA, the Department of Energy, and Navy.  Several of the press releases variously failed to load owing to a technical error, or the NSF website no longer hosted the announcements.  Two of the most recent announcements dealt with foreign affiliations.  

At NSF, Damelin conducted criminal, civil and administrative investigations involving fraud and research misconduct related to NSF grants, a webpage from her university law school said in April.  Damelin is a certified fraud examiner, her profile on the website of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development Office of Inspector General, where she works, said.  

An unrelated 2014 sentencing announcement described Damelin as “Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Fara Damelin,” an NSF webpage said.  Damelin served as special assistant U.S. attorney “to help prosecute a criminal grant fraud case,” the law school university webpage said. 

U.S. President Biden had nominated Damelin to be FCC Inspector General, and Anna Gomez for FCC commissioner.

Damelin previously served as a fellow with the General Services Administration Office of Inspector General where she focused on strategic internal communications, a biography on the CIGIE website said.  CIGIE is an independent entity that was set up in the U.S. Executive Branch “to address integrity, economy and effectiveness issues” across government agencies, its website said.  It supports development of a “professional, well-trained and highly skilled workforce in the Offices of Inspectors General,” it said. 

In January, Gomez was tapped to lead U.S. WRC-23 preparations, a State Department announcement then said.  Gomez had a 10-year stretch at the FCC, including as deputy chief of the international bureau.  She was an NTIA deputy administrator from 2009 to 2013.  Gomez was most recently a partner in Wiley Rein LLP.  If the three FCC commissioners are confirmed as expected, two of the five on the bench will be Wiley Rein veterans.