Regs chief threatened with legal action over water rule subpoena

Rep. Jason ChaffetzJason ChaffetzThe myth of the conservative bestseller Elijah Cummings, Democratic chairman and powerful Trump critic, dies at 68 House Oversight panel demands DeVos turn over personal email records MORE (R-Utah) is threatening to take legal action against President Obama’s regulatory chief for failing to comply with a subpoena for documents dealing with the review of a controversial water rule.

A day after sparring with the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA) administrator at a subcommittee hearing, the House Operations and Government Affairs Committee chairman sent a letter to Howard Shelanski threatening to take “civil or criminal enforcement” actions.

In the letter, signed by Reps. Mark Meadows (R-N.C.), Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) and Cynthia LummisCynthia Marie LummisCheney's decision not to run for Senate sparks Speaker chatter Liz Cheney decides against Senate bid in Wyoming Liz Cheney leads GOP field by 20 points in potential Wyoming Senate race: poll MORE (R-Wyo.), Chaffetz said OIRA has refused to make witnesses available for transcribed interviews to answer questions that might have otherwise been answered by the documents being withheld.


"In light of our concerns about your efforts to comply with the committee’s subpoena, we notified you on Oct. 28, 2015 that it may also be necessary to interview you in a transcribed setting,” their letter said.

“Since then, committee staff repeatedly requested that you offer dates for such an interview. You have not. Your failure to comply with the committee’s subpoena and your unwillingness to appear before the committee to address our concerns, may expose you to civil and/or criminal enforcement mechanisms.”

OIRA is currently reviewing the Environmental Protection Agency's controversial Waters of the United State rule.

During Tuesday’s Government Operations Subcommittee hearing on OIRA transparency, Shelanski repeatedly referred Chaffetz to OIRA’s legislative affairs office when grilled on why it’s taken the agency this long to comply with the July supoena.