Energy & Environment

Obama nominates full-time Interior inspector general

President Obama has nominated Mary Kendall to be the full-time inspector general at the Department of Interior, looking to make permanent a position Kendall has held on an interim basis for six years. 

Kendall has been the deputy inspector general at Interior since 1999. When Obama promoted Interior’s full-time inspector general out of the department in 2009, Kendall took over the position on interim basis. Obama nominated her to be the permanent inspector general on Thursday.

{mosads}Republicans have criticized Kendall’s tenure as acting inspector general. In 2013, Republicans on the House Natural Resources Committee published a 72-page investigation into the Office of Inspector General under Kendall, which they said is rife with mismanagement. 

The GOP’s report accused Kendall of not investigating political appointees and not filing investigative reports on issues within the department. Last year, the GOP hit Kendall again, saying she withheld information about an Interior Department mountaintop removal rule in a report to Congress. 

“The office has been managed by an acting inspector general whose tenure has been the subject of recent, significant congressional oversight and controversy,” senior House Republicans, including Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) and Natural Resources Committee Chairman Rob Bishop (R-Utah) wrote in a letter to Obama on Monday.

But Rep. Raúl Grijalva (D-N.M.), the ranking Democrat on the House Natural Resources Committee, said Republicans object to Kendall only because they have “demanded that she support their unfounded conspiracy theories and blanket criticisms of hard-working Interior Department officials.”

Grijalva endorsed Kendall’s nomination on Thursday. 

“Her fair, even-handed treatment of Department personnel, her honest handling of sensitive issues, and her personal integrity are beyond dispute, and I wholeheartedly support her nomination,” he said. 

Tags Interior Department Mary Kendall Raul Grijalva

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