Feb. 14, 2016 SIGN IN | REGISTER

Members Wonder When Office Break-In Cases Will Be Cracked

Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo
There have been at least three thefts in the past month in the Rayburn House Office Building, according to statistics released by Capitol Police. Rep. Elton Gallegly's Rayburn office is among them.

The sentiment was shared in May by Rep. Hal Rogers (R-Ky.) at a Appropriations Subcommittee on the Legislative Branch markup, held the day after media outlets reported news of the thefts.

"We need to get this resolved right way because it's more involved than missing money or whatever," Rogers said at the time, regarding possible confidential material in Member offices.

Rogers, a former prosecutor, also asserted that it shouldn't take long for Capitol Hill law enforcement to find the responsible parties.

"There's been no evidence of a physical break-in, which suggests that [someone] had access to those offices," Rogers said. "That should narrow the investigation quite considerably."

Gallegly said he was told Monday that officials suspect the perpetrators are contractors on the maintenance or facilities teams who work in the Capitol after hours and who have keys to all the Members' offices. Many of them, Gallegly continued, are not given background checks under the e-verify program, the workplace verification system that seeks to verify whether a job applicant is in the country legally.

"Is it possible people are working in the U.S. Capitol who have a key to my office, who have no legal rights to be here in the United States? Well, that's possible," Gallegly said. "That's very unsettling."

Law enforcement officials on Capitol Hill insist they are still on the case.

On Tuesday, the office of the House Sergeant-at-Arms released a statement to Roll Call saying that its staff and that of the Capitol Police "continue to investigate the thefts occurring in the House Office Buildings."

"This remains one of our highest priorities at this time," the statement continued.

Capitol Police spokeswoman Lt. Kimberly Schneider also said the Capitol Police had an "active, open investigation regarding the recent theft reports."

Gallegly has no doubts that both law enforcement bodies are concerned and want to crack the case. Neither does Specht.

"[Rep. Lewis] believes that the Capitol Police have done what they can at this point to get to the bottom of this," Specht told Roll Call. "He is encouraging them to continue, though, since clearly if they don't know what happened the last time, it would be difficult to prevent it from happening again."

Runyan spokesman Andrew Fasoli also agrees: "We definitely feel that the Capitol Police has taken this very seriously; we haven't had a break-in since. . We all feel pretty safe."

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