Chaffetz probing national park's tweet welcoming new monument

Chaffetz probing national park's tweet welcoming new monument
© Greg Nash

House Oversight Committee Chairman Jason ChaffetzJason ChaffetzOvernight Finance: Trump pitches massive tax cuts | Freedom Caucus endorses plan | Dems slam framework | House GOP to move B border wall bill | Officials under fire for private jet use GOP lawmaker pushes to end sports leagues' tax-exempt status Republicans predict Senate ObamaCare repeal would pass House MORE (R-Utah) is investigating a months-old tweet from his state's Bryce Canyon National Park.

Chaffetz reportedly suspects that the tweet, which was posted in December the day after President Obama designated the more than 1.35-million-acre Bears Ears National Monument in southern Utah, may reveal that the park officials had advanced notice.

"Welcome to the family Bears Ears (& Gold Butte) NM! A hopeful slot in our front desk maps has long been held for you," the account tweeted.

An attached picture with the tweet showed what appeared to be an empty map slot, labeled "Bears Ears."

Chaffetz questioned the timing of the tweet, which mentions a slot that “long been held."

"The White House is telling the governor as well as the congressional offices that no decisions had been made — that it was still an open question — so how is it [Bryce Canyon National Park officials] were already ready to go with that information?" Chaffetz asked in a letter to Bryce Canyon's superintendent. "The timing is serious.”

Bryce Canyon’s interim superintendent Sue Fritzke insists the park did not receive advance notice and that the tweet was an innocent welcome notice.

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"When we have another piece of land in the park service that is close by, we will reach out and welcome them to the federal family, and let them know we are here and interested in connecting," Fritzke said, according to The Salt Lake Tribune.

Chaffetz's probe comes amid criticism against the Oversight chairman for not aggressively investigating the Trump administration for potential conflicts of interest or collusion with Russia.

Chaffetz recently launched a probe into Trump’s handling of classified intelligence information while on an open patio at his private Mar-a-Lago resort.

The chairman, however, chose not to probe former National Security Sdviser Michael Flynn over what contacts he had with the Russian government before Trump took office, saying the situation has "taken care of itself” after Flynn resigned earlier this month.