Bipartisan group asks Obama to fire chemical agency chief

A bipartisan group of House members is calling on President Obama to fire the embattled head of the Chemical Safety Board (CSB).

Many of the seven Republicans and seven Democrats have previously called for CSB Chairman Rafael Moure-Eraso to step down, accusing him of being an ineffective leader and breaking multiple laws.


But the letter sent Thursday steps up efforts the House Oversight Committee, of which all of the signatories are members, has taken over the last year against Moure-Eraso.

Through hearings and investigations, the panel has found evidence that it says proves that Moure-Eraso retaliated against whistleblowers, violated record retention laws, lied to the committee and created a generally hostile environment that led the CSB to being named one of the worst places to work in the federal government.

Committee Chairman Jason ChaffetzJason ChaffetzFox News contributor mocks Elizabeth Warren with photo at Disneyland Eric Trump blasts professor at alma mater Georgetown: ‘A terrible representative for our school’ Matt Schlapp: Trump's policies on Russia 'two or three times tougher than anything' under Obama MORE (R-Utah) said the law allows Obama to remove Moure-Eraso for “inefficiency, neglect of duty or malfeasance in office.”

“Based on new evidence obtained by the committee, we believe this standard has clearly been met for these three individuals,” the members wrote.

“After holding several hearings, reviewing thousands of documents, and interviewing multiple current and former CSB employees, it is clear that the CSB is in a state of turmoil. It is vital that you act to immediately remove the toxic leadership that is undermining the agency's critical safety mission.”

The group sent the letter two weeks after the latest hearing featuring Moure-Eraso and a week after two leading Senate Republicans asked Obama to urge the CSB chairman to step down.

In response to Thursday’s letter, Moure-Eraso was defiant, saying the committee’s allegations are unfounded.

“The letter repeats old personnel-related allegations which have never been substantiated,” he said in a statement.

He said he has never retaliated against employees and stopped using personal email shortly after he learned it violated rules, while other board members have continued to use personal email accounts.

Moure-Eraso’s term at CSB expires in June, and Obama has nominated Vanessa Sutherland, an attorney at the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Administration, to replace him.