Matt Dempsey Matt_Dempsey@epw.senate.gov (202) 224-9797
Katie Brown Katie_Brown@epw.senate.gov (202) 224-2160
Inhofe Welcomes OIG Response on Monnett Investigation
Letter Reveals Allegations against Dr. Monnett came from within the Department of the Interior
"OIG received credible allegations from a seasoned, career Department of the Interior (DOI) employee" and "acts of scientific misconduct may have been committed by one or more DOI employees."
Washington, D.C.-Senator James Inhofe (R-Okla.), Ranking Member of the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works, today welcomed the response from Acting Inspector General of the Department of the Interior Mary Kendall to his August 9, 2011 letter requesting more clarification on the IG investigation into the conduct of Dr. Charles Monnett, a wildlife biologist with the Department of the Interior's Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation and Enforcement (BOEMRE).
Acting Inspector General Kendall's letter provides significant new insights into the IG's investigation. As the IG writes, "In March 2010, the OIG received credible allegations from a seasoned, career Department of the Interior (DOI) employee, that acts of scientific misconduct may have been committed by one or more DOI employees. These allegations were received by the OIG nearly a year prior to the issuance of DOI's policy and protocols regarding the Integrity of Scientific and Scholarly Activities."
"I greatly appreciate Acting Inspector General Kendall's response to my inquiry, which sheds additional light on the OIG's ongoing investigation into Dr. Monnett's conduct," Senator Inhofe said. "Her letter contains crucial revelations. As she states, allegations against Dr. Monnett came from 'a seasoned, career Department of the Interior employee' and 'acts of scientific misconduct may have been committed by one or more DOI employees.'
"This response is striking not only because it makes clear that these allegations came from within the Obama Administration, but also because it appears that the IG investigation may be centered on scientific misconduct rather than only the procurement issues which were cited by BOEMRE as the reason for Dr. Monnett's suspension.
"As Ranking Member of the EPW Committee, I am responsible for ensuring that scientific integrity is upheld in the federal decision-making process, and, given the increasing accounts of the politicization of climate science, I will be watching this situation closely. I look forward to the OIG's final report which I expect will answer the many questions that are still outstanding in this investigation."