Amid scrutiny of the retirement services division within the Office of Personnel Management, congressional inquiries to the agency have grown drastically, according to a February letter sent by Retirement Services Associate Director Margaret Pearson.
According to the missive, which was sent in response to questions from House lawmakers, OPM’s Congressional, Legislative, and Intergovernmental Affairs branch received more than 9,000 congressional inquiries in 2022, compared with more than 3,000 in 2020. In other words, the number of inquiries from Congress to the agency has approximately tripled in three years.
FedScoop obtained the letter from Pearson through a Freedom of Information Act request.
Retirement services managers associated with a retirement case receive a notification when they receive a congressional inquiry about the applicant associated with that application, Pearson wrote. In the letter, she added that the agency’s CLIA “is working to improve its operations regarding congressional inquiries by focusing on customer service, improving processing times and educating congressional offices about best practices.”
“Seems like average response time of ~4 months to congressional inquiry,” observed Jason Briefel, the policy and outreach director at the Senior Executives Association and a partner at the government-focused law firm Shaw, Bransford, & Roth, in an email. “OPM’s congressional relations office seems overwhelmed with requests for information.”
OPM was contacted for comment.