The PJ Tatler

Former Interior Dept. Official Behind Drilling Moratorium Gets Justice Dept. Contract

The ranking Republican on the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee is protesting the award of a lucrative contract to a former administration official.

Earlier this month, the Justice Department awarded a $25,o0o contract to the Bromwich Group — “an entity that I understand to be headed up by former Department of Justice Inspector General Michael Bromwich,” Sen. David Vitter (R-La.) wrote to Attorney General Eric Holder.

“Mr. Bromwich, who helped implement the moratorium on drilling in the Gulf of Mexico when he served as a political appointee in the Department of the Interior, once testified before Congress that ‘I’ll say right now that I’ll impose a lifetime ban on contacts with the agency, and I hope that sets an example for other people in the agency and other people throughout government. This contract concerns me because it appears to conflict with that statement,” the letter continues.

Appointed director of the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation, and Enforcement (BOEMRE) in 2010, Bromwich oversaw the drilling moratorium in the wake of the Deepwater Horizon spill.

“After leading the agency through the aftermath of Deepwater Horizon, he directed the reorganization of the agency, strengthened agency ethics requirements, created an internal investigations and oversight capability, and recruited and selected key personnel for the new agencies,” says Bromwich’s bio at the agency he founded in April 2012. “Throughout his tenure, Mr. Bromwich served as the chief public spokesman for the Obama Administration’s reform of offshore drilling.”

The vice president of the Bromwich Group also worked for the administration as Bromwich’s senior adviser at the bureau.

Vitter wants Holder to provide detailed information about the contract, including the work to be performed and whether it was sent out for competitive bidding.

The senator also wants all records of communications between the administration and the Bromwich Group about the contract and a detailed explanation of why the company was selected.

“The next chapter in the revolving door narrative in and out of this Administration involves Michael Bromwich who, as a former Interior Department political appointee, was responsible for thousands of hard-working Gulf Coast citizens losing their jobs through implementing the drilling moratorium,” said Vitter. “While serving at the Interior Department, Bromwich was highly critical of the revolving door. Since it was his idea to implement a ban on any contacts with former Administration officials, I have serious questions about how it is possible that his firm is receiving a contract from an Agency where he once worked.”