Rep. Jim Jordan (R., Ohio) is threatening to block funding for a new FBI headquarters in the Washington, D.C., area unless the bureau moves to Alabama instead.
In light of the federal government's investigation into former president Donald Trump and his Republican allies, Jordan argued the agency put some distance between itself and D.C. and move to Huntsville, Alabama, where agents would be less influenced by liberal partisanship. The agency is currently seeking funding to move out of its 48-year-old headquarters to a new location in the suburbs, which Jordan opposes.
Jordan has attached the proposal to coming appropriations bills, according to the Wall Street Journal.
The FBI said a move to Alabama would be "detrimental to the support the FBI provides to the American people." It added that there are "numerous operational reasons" being in the D.C. area is important, including proximity to other agencies and its training facility in Virginia.
The FBI already has a sizable presence in Alabama, and Jordan argues the bureau would be insulated from liberal influence in the state, the Journal reported:
Jordan wants to see the bureau based at Huntsville’s Redstone Arsenal, a U.S. Army post where the FBI already has a growing campus that is home to more than 1,000 employees. He plans to submit a legislative rider, a condition placed on a bill, on Tuesday. Although Democrats view the proposal as nothing more than a dig at the FBI, Jordan argues investigators would be less likely to be infected by what he sees as liberal politics if the bureau were based in deep-red Alabama than alongside other government and national-security agencies in and around the nation’s capital.
Three Jordan staffers recently toured the Huntsville center, which FBI officials sometimes call their unofficial second headquarters, the people familiar with the matter said.
Republicans in Congress in recent years have called for reforms at the FBI. Last month, members criticized a renewal request for a U.S. surveillance program designated to counter foreign threats that has been used by intelligence officials to spy on Americans. Through that program, the Justice Department under the Obama administration conducted surveillance on Trump's campaign associate Carter Page in 2016. The DOJ eventually determined the warrants were issued improperly and based on false information the FBI provided.
The FBI came under scrutiny for alleged liberal bias when it was revealed that an FBI agent investigating Trump, Peter Strzok, sent anti-Trump texts and pushed to use the Hillary Clinton campaign's opposition research as the basis to spy on the Trump campaign.