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Subcommittee Letter to the Department of the Interior Office of the Inspector General on Further Ethical Lapses at DOI

WASHINGTON, D.C., June 1, 2016 -

Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations Chairman Louie Gohmert (R-TX) sent a letter to the Office of Inspector General (OIG) for the U.S. Department of the Interior (DOI) as part of the Subcommittee’s ongoing oversight of ethical lapses and violations of federal law at DOI, and the pattern of evasion from the Department’s senior leadership and DOI’s OIG.  

On May 27, 2016, the DOI’s OIG released a summary of its “Investigative Report of BLM Land Sale, Henderson, NV,” which concluded that Bob Abbey, while serving as Director of the Bureau of Land Management (“BLM”), was “personally and substantially involved” in a land transaction from which he stood to receive personal financial gain.  The summary indicates that another BLM employee, who worked closely with Mr. Abbey’s business partner, “appeared to violate Federal regulations that prohibit preferential treatment and the improper use of nonpublic information.”

"These are troubling findings, and serve as further evidence of exacerbating corruption within the Department of the Interior, Subcommittee Chairman Gohmert, in a letter to DOI Deputy Inspector General Mary Kendall, wrote.

"It is similarly troubling that the OIG waited until three days after the Subcommittee’s hearing on DOI ethics violations to release this report summary, particularly since the summary notes that the U.S. Attorney declined to prosecute Mr. Abbey eight months ago and Subcommittee staff specifically asked OIG staff about the disposition of this investigation during a meeting on May 20, 2016,” the letter states.  

On May 24, 2016, Rep. Gohmert's subcommittee held an oversight hearing on multiple instances of misconduct within the Department and its sub-agencies. During the hearing, Deputy Inspector General Kendall made no reference of the “Investigative Report of BLM Land Sale, Henderson, NV,” despite the Committee’s repeated inquiries, including one inquiry just days prior.   

“As someone who investigates dishonesty, you certainly understand that evasive answers designed to mask the truth are in and of themselves dishonest and further evidence of a major problem,” Gohmert’s letter states.

The letter requests a complete and un-redacted copy of the OIG's “Investigative Report of BLM Land Sale, Henderson, NV.”

Click here to view the full letter.

Contact: Committee Press Office 202-226-9019

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