Issa to Call for Subpoena Vote if Secretary Salazar Continues to Stonewall Oversight Committee’s MMS Investigation

Published: Jul 15, 2010

WASHINGTON. D.C. – House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform Ranking Member Darrell Issa (R-CA) has sent a letter to Interior Department Secretary Ken Salazar demanding that he comply with the Oversight Committee’s request for documents and information relating to the Committee’s investigation on the events surrounding the Deepwater Horizonexplosion and the federal response to this unprecedented environmental disaster.

“As the Interior Department is chiefly responsible for regulating offshore energy production, including safety compliance, Chairman Towns and I made four independent requests to you for documents and information,” Issa wrote.  “The lack of cooperation is appalling for an Administration that prides itself on transparency and openness with the American people.  Taxpayers, especially in the Gulf region, have a right to know what happened on a federal level that could have prevented or minimized the destruction.  Unfortunately, your non-compliance only fuels more questions and causes more Americans to lose confidence that the government is acting in their best interests.  Indeed, it appears that the Administration is more concerned with hiding from the tough questions than answering them.”

To date, the Committee has made four requests dated May 3, 2010, May 14, 2010, June 24, 2010, and July 1, 2010 for documents and information.  While the Department has produced documents partially responsive to 9 of the enumerated requests, it has failed to produce any documents corresponding to the remaining 45.

Issa wrote, “Accordingly, I ask you again to produce the items requested in the attached letters.  Your compliance is essential to weighing the relevancy and credibility of your pending testimony before this Committee on July 22, 2010.  If you do not produce this information by 5:00 p.m. on Friday, July 16, 2010, then I will seek a committee vote to issue a subpoena to compel production. This may or may not occur during the hearing at which you are requested to testify.”

Secretary Salazar has been asked to appear at a Committee hearing next Thursday, the 22nd at 10 a.m.