To the Editor:

Congress should cut the budget of the Education Department’s Office for Civil Rights, where I used to work. Contrary to Howard Kallem’s argument, it needs no budget increase (Letter to the Editor, “Office for Civil Rights Needs More Resources,” April 2).

Kallem cited the fact that more complaints have been filed at OCR recently. But that includes many copycat complaints that cost little to investigate. On March 18, The Washington Post quoted OCR’s head admitting that just “two individuals were responsible for filing more than 1,700 of those allegations.”

Many other complaints at OCR result from its own overreaching, not discrimination that needs to be investigated, as two members of the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights noted in a February 26 letter to Congress. As they noted, OCR “has all-too-often been willing to define perfectly legal conduct as unlawful. Though OCR may claim to be under-funded, its resources are stretched thin largely because it has so often chosen to address violations it has made up out of thin air. Increasing OCR’s budget would in effect reward the agency for frequently over-stepping the law.”

Hans Bader
Arlington, Va.