Tuesday, September 26, 2006

POMBO: Who Needs Oversight?

From today's California Chronicle:
Washington, DC -- A group of House Democrats yesterday again called for an immediate Congressional hearing and investigation into reported unethical activities at the Bush Administration's Department of Interior, including efforts by senior Interior Department officials to allow oil and gas companies to cheat American taxpayers out of royalty payments.

Reps. Ed Markey (D-MA), Maurice Hinchey (D-NY), George Miller (D-CA), Carolyn Maloney (D-NY), Rosa DeLauro (D-CT), Raul Grijalva (D-AZ), and other House Democrats wrote today to House Resources Committee Chairman Richard Pombo (R-CA) reiterating the need for an oversight hearing on the matter before Congress adjourns at the end of the week.

Chairman Pombo said on Friday that oversight hearings were not needed, even though his committee has not held any and it has jurisdiction over the Interior Department."


Rep. Miller (D-CA), former chairman of the Resources Committee, said, "As chairman of this committee, Rep. Pombo has a responsibility to the taxpayers to solve the oil royalty underpayment problem and investigate corruption at the Interior Department, and he has done neither. He is not being an effective leader on these important issues but he should not blame anyone but himself for it."

Rep. Hinchey (D-NY) said, "Chairman Pombo seems far more interested in playing political games than holding hearings and opening investigations to determine why the Interior Department was actively allowing oil and gas companies to cheat the American taxpayers out of tens of millions of dollars. It seems quite likely that we've only seen the tip of the iceberg as far as corruption and unethical behavior goes at the Interior Department. Congressional hearings and investigations would help shed light on all of the cronyism and backroom deals being made at the Interior Department to benefit the oil and gas industry. Instead of highlighting his own faulty legislation, I hope that Chairman Pombo actually gives legitimate consideration to holding hearings instead of writing back an angry letter that accomplishes nothing."


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