Members of Congress accused Michele Leonhart, head of the Drug Enforcement Administration, of protecting agents from punishment after they allegedly solicited prostitutes at more than a dozen sex parties in Colombia, the Wall Street Journal reports. At a House hearing yesterday on “Agents Gone Wild,'' Leonhart was repeatedly accused of shielding a “good old boy'' network within the agency by not delivering harsher punishment to agents accused of partying with prostitutes. Some congressmen questioned whether she should continue to run the DEA. “Do you think you're the right person for this job?” asked Rep. Elijah Cummings, the top Democrat on the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee.
Leonhart didn't answer the lawmaker's question, but said she was “appalled'' by the alleged conduct of the agents at the parties, which took place in a government-leased property, leading to concerns about possible security risks. The allegations include that agents and supervisors may have used taxpayer money to pay for some of the sex parties. Leonhart struggled to defend the DEA disciplinary process, criticizing the punishment the agents received, which ranged from two- to 10-day suspensions without pay. “I am very disappointed that our discipline system did not do what it needed to do and we need to fix it,'' she said. Rep. Stephen Lynch (D-MA) said, “You're protecting people who solicited prostitutes, who had 15 to 20 sex parties,'' to which Leonhart replied, “I take great offense to that.''