Washington’s Department of Interior has accused Democrats of “political showmanship and threatening tactics” according to The Daily Caller, due to their threats to cut department salaries.
The Daily Caller reported that near the beginning of last week, Democrat Reps. Elijah Cummings of Maryland and Raul Grijalva of Arizona, both heads of the House Committee on Oversight and Reform and the Committee on Natural Resources, respectively, threatened Interior employees with withholding their pay if they interfered or refused congressional request to testify.
“The threats came after four DOI staff members refused Democrats’ requests to testify on allegations that the department has not properly maintained or released Interior Secretary David Bernhardt‘s official schedule,” the Daily Caller reported.
“Cole Rojewski, director of the Office of Congressional and Legislative Affairs at DOI, responded to Cummings and Grijalva’s threats in a letter dated May 10 and obtained by TheDCNF. Rojewski pointed out that the Interior employees in question may appear before the committee only if they want.”
“The Department rejects allegations by [the House Oversight Committee] that we have refused to make these officials available for transcribed interviews,” Rojewski wrote. “These employees have been instructed by counsel that they are free to submit to such interviews if they so choose.”
Requests have been made of Interior’s administrative assistant to the deputy secretary, director of the Office of Scheduling and Advance, executive assistant to the office of the deputy secretary and the acting chief of staff and associate deputy secretary for interviews with the House Oversight Committee, according to the Daily Caller, and the committee plans to obtain those interviews by whatever means necessary.
“Congressional Democrats on the Oversight and Natural Resources committees have sent 17 individual requests for documents in the past three and a half months. So far, those requests have yielded more than 66,000 pages of documents from the DOI,” the Daily Caller reported that Rojewski’s letter said.
Oversight “has acted with remarkable disregard for the fact-finding process” by threatening the salaries of career Interior employees before reviewing the tens of thousands of documents already provided to the committee,” Rojewski wrote.
“We will not engage in the committee’s political showmanship and threatening tactics, but rather we stand ready to continue working to provide the information you have requested,” Rojewski concluded.