PJM Exclusive: Interior Dept. IG to be Investigated in Alleged White House Drilling Moratorium Cover-Up
A trio of senators have won their request for an investigation into Interior Secretary Ken Salazar's inspector general regarding a potential cover-up of documents that led to the drilling moratorium in the Gulf of Mexico following the BP oil spill.
Sens. David Vitter (R-La.), Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.) and John Cornyn (R-Texas) asked the Integrity Committee of the Council of the Inspectors General on Integrity and Efficiency in a May 24 letter to investigate the Interior Department’s Acting Inspector General Mary Kendall, whom they say “failed to ensure an independent, impartial and complete investigation into the Administration’s offshore drilling moratorium and related activities.”
In a response to the senators, shared with PJM, the Integrity Committee agreed to meet July 12 to review the allegations that Kendall failed to manage -- and perhaps impeded -- a full investigation of the White House and Salazar’s twisting of the findings of the National Academy of Engineers report into supposedly endorsing the moratorium.
Kendall, the senators noted in their request, was reportedly involved in the so-called 30-Day Report, “which erroneously indicated that independent peer review experts endorsed the Administration’s six-month moratorium on deepwater drilling.” Then, Kendall conducted an oversight investigation of the report.
“The moratorium crushed thousands of jobs – many of which Louisiana is still suffering from – and now we’re seeing extremely alarming evidence that the investigation I requested on the job-killing moratorium may not have been independent and could have involved the acting IG tampering with the facts,” Vitter said at the time. “It’s pretty outrageous and offensive to know that politics seems to be likely influencing the office of the IG in addition to the science.”
If the results of the Integrity Committee's investigation match what the senators believe to be true, it could deliver a serious blow to the administration.