Oversight

A weekly rundown of the latest efforts of lawmakers to scrutinize the actions of the executive branch.

• HOUSE COMMITTEE ON OVERSIGHT AND GOVERNMENT REFORM (3/3/08) — Chairman Henry Waxman (D-Calif.) wrote a letter to Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice requesting documents related to an investigation ordered by Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al Maliki’s office in April 2007 into allegations of corruption involving the Iraqi president, the Council of Ministers and current and former ministers who did not have the prime minister’s approval.

ADVERTISEMENT
According to Waxman, Rice was asked questions that she could not answer about this order during a committee hearing on Oct. 25, 2007. Rice said during the hearing that she would “get back to Waxman on the specifics of the order,” but more than four months later, no information has been provided. Waxman requests in his letter any documents shared among Rice, her staff and other State Department officials that are related to orders issued by the Iraqi prime minister.

• SENATE COMMITTEE ON AGRICULTURE, NUTRITION AND FORESTRY (3/3/08) — Chairman Tom Harkin (D-Iowa), Sen. Richard Lugar (R-Ind.), Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) and Rep. Edolphus Towns (D-N.Y.) wrote a letter to Agriculture Secretary Ed Schafer questioning why an investigation into possible civil rights abuses at the department was closed.

“The actions of the Department of Agriculture are unjustified. Given USDA’s documented history of civil right abuses, one of which led to a consent decree that, to date, has paid out nearly one billion dollars in settlement to black farmers, USDA’s unwillingness to provide documentation to GAO raises very serious questions whether the Department is serious about stopping civil rights abuses,” Harkin, Lugar, Grassley and Towns wrote.

• SENATE COMMITTEE ON ENVIRONMENT AND PUBLIC WORKS (2-26-08)
— Chairwoman Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) wrote a letter to Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Stephen L. Johnson requesting documents relating to EPA’s decision in 2007 to deny California a waiver that regulates global warming pollution from motor vehicles.

“You testified at the Environment and Public Works Committee hearing on Jan. 24, 2008, that EPA would produce all responsive documents, specifically including communications with the White House, the vice president’s office and other Executive Branch agencies, by Feb. 15, 2008. Yet EPA’s production remains incomplete,” Boxer wrote.