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October 10, 2019

Chairwoman Johnson Follows Up on Investigation Into Reported Directives Regarding Hurricane Dorian

(Washington, DC) – Today, Chairwoman Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-TX) sent a letter to Department of Commerce (Commerce) Secretary Wilbur Ross to follow up on the Department’s involvement in the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) actions surrounding claims that Hurricane Dorian would impact Alabama. Though the Committee has yet to receive any responsive materials from Commerce, NOAA’s Acting Administrator, Dr. Neil Jacobs did agree to meet for a briefing with Science Committee staff on October 4.

Chairwoman Johnson’s letter follows up on information conveyed to staff by Dr. Jacobs and NOAA General Counsel John Luce, including:

  • The involvement of Commerce staff, namely Michael Walsh, Jr., Earl Comstock, and Dave Dewhirst, in drafting the NOAA statement rebuking the Birmingham National Weather Service’s tweet;
  • The White House’s influence on the statement via Acting White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney’s alleged input via high-ranking Commerce officials; and
  • Commerce’s cooperation with the Commerce Office of Inspector General’s investigation of this matter while withholding related documents from the Committee.

A copy of the full letter can be found here.