In February, was reported that services for the Collin County Passport Office were suspended. The Dallas Passport Agency interrupted the CCPO’s ability to issue passports amid a passport fraud investigation.
The DSS, which is a local branch of the U.S. State Department’s Bureau of Consular Affairs, has been investigating possible fraud for the past five years. They believe the Collin County Passport Office has fraudulent passport documents that date back more than a decade.
Unfortunately, the outcome was not what employees and staff had hoped. Collin County District Clerk Lynne Finley announced that as of March 19, the Collin County office is no longer on suspension, they are closed for good.
The office received word of the closure via Barry Conway, the Director for Support Operations with Passport Services in Washington, D.C. removing Collin County from the Passport Application Acceptance Program.
In a letter addressed to Senator Ted Cruz, and a few others, Finley claims that even though the office was closed, they were not found to be at fault. “The DSS completely cleared my employees and closed their investigation with respect to the Collin County District Clerk Passport office,” Finley said in her letter.
However, the suspension of the office continued and her office remained ‘unjustly closed,’ so, Finley said she decided to speak out is when her office and employees received backlash from DSS. “When I ‘went public’ with the security flaws in the passport process, primarily with the respect to private expediting companies and noted that the Collin County Offices has been ‘cleared,’ the State Department conjured up other reasons for the suspension to languish.”
Finley said her office provided ample documentation refuting the allegations, and proved that the accusations were unfounded. The office’s fate was pretty much decided on February 26, Finley wrote to the Senator. “In a conference call with Collin County, Mr. Conway made it clear that even if no allegations could be substantiated, Passport Services had the unfettered discretion to remove us from the program - which is what they have now done.”
The closure will put Finley and four employees out of work and will affect over one million constituents.
Finley is hoping to enlist the assistance of Senators Cruz and Cornyn in investigating the punishment of the Collin County Passport Offices for ‘whistleblowing,’ and work on ways to improve security procedures surrounding the government passport procurement process.
Finley ended her letter with a plea to the politicians. “I am seeking your help and guidance on how to bring light to this issue and protect our citizens from the disinterest and disregard of Passport Services as to known passport fraud and abuses.”