Republican threatens to subpoena government over spill

WASHINGTON (BestGrowthStock) – A key Republican on Thursday accused the U.S. Interior Department of not cooperating with a probe of the government’s oversight on the BP oil spill and threatened to subpoena the Obama administration.

Darrell Issa, the top Republican on the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, criticized the department for only partially responding to requests for information.

“Taxpayers, especially in the Gulf region, have a right to know what happened on a federal level that could have prevented or minimized the destruction,” said Issa, who represents California.

The House committee has sent four separate requests for various documents, including all communications between BP and the department and details about the department’s rig inspection practices.

So far the department has supplied nine out of the 54 sets of documents asked for by the committee, Issa said. He demanded the department provide the rest of the information by Friday or he would seek a vote to legally compel them to comply.

Such a vote would likely fail, unless Issa can gain the support of some of the 25 Democrats on the panel. There are 17 Republicans on the committee.

The committee’s chairman Edolphus Towns believes the department is complying with the investigation and a subpoena is “unnecessary” at this time, a House aide told Reuters.

If the committee did vote to subpoena the department, it would be an embarrassment to the Obama administration, already suffering heavy criticism from many corners for its response to the spill.

“We are responding to the numerous requests for documents from Rep. Issa and other members of Congress and providing those documents as they become available and will continue to do so,” Interior spokeswoman Kendra Barkoff said.

The department has held numerous briefings with lawmakers and their aides on the spill and met with staff on Issa’s committee Thursday morning, Barkoff added.

Since the April 20 Deepwater Horizon rig explosion, the department has been attacked by critics who say not enough was done to prevent the accident that led to the largest oil spill in U.S. history.

Issa, in particular, has been a fierce critic of the Obama administration in the aftermath of the disaster.

Interior Secretary Ken Salazar is set to testify before the Oversight and Government Reform Committee on July 22. Issa may seek the vote to subpoena the department during Salazar’s appearance, if his demands are not met.

(Reporting by Ayesha Rascoe; Editing by Lisa Shumaker)

Republican threatens to subpoena government over spill