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Committee Releases Report on Department of Energy Misconduct

Dec 20, 2016
Press Release

WASHINGTON – The Majority Staff of the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Science, Space, and Technology today released a report, U.S. Department of Energy Misconduct Related to the Low Dose Radiation Research Program. The report includes findings from the majority staff’s investigation that senior Department of Energy officials deliberately withheld information from Congress and removed an agency scientist from federal service for providing complete answers to committee staff.  The report also covers an overview of the Low Dose Radiation Research Program and H.R. 5544, the Low Dose Radiation Research Act of 2014. 

Chairman Lamar Smith (R-Texas): “Instead of providing the type of scientific information needed by Congress to legislate effectively, senior departmental officials sought to hide information, lobbied against legislation, and retaliated against a scientist for being forthcoming.  In this staff report based on lengthy record before the committee, much has been revealed about how senior level agency officials under the Obama administration retaliated against a scientist who did not follow the party line.  Moving forward, the department needs to overhaul its management practices to ensure that Congress is provided the information it requires to legislate and that federal employees and scientists who provide that information do so without fear of retribution.”

Background:

Findings from the Report:

  1. DOE management developed a scheme to withhold information from congressional staff.
  2. Dr. Noelle Metting was directed to omit information from a presentation to congressional staff given during the briefing.
  3. DOE management avoided critical information pertinent to the continuance of the LDRRP.
  4. DOE management worked to kill the LDRRP because it did not further the administration’s goals to advance climate research.
  5. With regard to H.R. 5544, DOE management sought to manipulate congressional staff – both republican and democratic staff.
  6. DOE management and senior employees gave intentionally misleading statements to Congress.
  7. Dr. Julie Carruthers and Dr. Sharlene Weatherwax both made inconsistent statements at different points during the Committee’s investigation.
  8. Management quickly took steps to remove Dr. Metting from federal service.
  9. Dr. Metting was removed for providing Congress with candid testimony without regard to the potential chilling effect on other scientists.
  10. Dr. Metting was the DOE’s sole expert on LDRR and her opinion was silenced to further political interests.

Conclusions and Recommendations in the Report:

  1. The DOE exhibited a complete disregard for the legislative process and Constitutional separation of powers at an institutional level. 
  2. The DOE must overhaul its management practices to ensure that the Department carries out its Constitutional responsibilities to be truthful with Congress and respects the legislative process.

To view the full report, click here.

114th Congress