Senior House Republican calls on Obama to replace 'accommodating' Interior watchdog

Hastings said Kendall and her chief of staff, Stephen Hardgrove, have “compromised and undermined” the Interior’s internal watchdog. He labeled their performance as “privately accommodating to senior Department officials and your administration" in an effort for Kendall to nab permanent inspector general position.

The commitee questioned issues beyond the drilling moratorium in a report released Thursday. The report alleges, among other items, that the inspector general dropped a review of renewable energy programs on federal lands that the committee said would have reflected poorly on the administration.

Kris Kolesnik, a spokesman with the Interior Office of Inspector General, said the watchdog could not "meaningfully respond to the selective soliloquy" of the House Natural Resources Committee.


"Anyone interested in the whole story would have to read all the testimony from the August 2, 2012 hearing, talk to all of those that were involved in the matters reported on, and have access to all the documents and interviews made available to the committee staff. The committee’s February 21, 2013 report paints a very biased picture," Kolesnik said in a Thursday statement.

Hastings and committee Republicans have mainly questioned Kendall’s impartiality in investigating the May 2010 report that called for the drilling moratorium and other drilling-safety measures.

They say internal Interior emails showed Kendall was in meetings to develop the report she later probed.

Kendall has denied she had any part in writing the report. She said she was involved in meetings to get up to speed with deepwater drilling issues.

Republicans and industry opposed the temporary ban, calling it an overreaction to the April 2010 BP oil spill.

Hastings has convened several hearings on the May 2010 report, which has included subpoenas.

Interior has criticized the committee’s tactics, noting it has complied with Hastings’ requests for information and documents related to the report.

— This story was updated at 6:01 p.m.