Today in a letter sent to Department of Commerce (DOC) Secretary John Bryson and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Administrator Jane Lubchenco, Subcommittee on Investigations and Oversight Chairman Paul Broun (R-GA) requested a full and unredacted copy of an Investigative Report on funding irregularities at the National Weather Service (NWS).
This letter is in response to a NOAA/DOC briefing last week prompted by a May 17, 2012 letter by Chairman Broun that was also addressed to Secretary Bryson and Administrator Lubchenco on the lack of information on the NWS review from NOAA and DOC.
"I appreciate the swift response from NOAA and DOC to my May 17 letter requesting a briefing on the status of the senior-level investigation into NWS's budget problems," said Chairman Broun. "However, I do not appreciate the stonewalling of the Subcommittee's request for an unredacted copy of the now complete Investigative Report on this issue. The Administration is reluctant to provide Congress an unredacted copy due to concerns involving the Privacy Act -- but the Privacy Act does not apply to Congress. I have explained this basic fact to NOAA and DOC in my letter, and have requested receipt of the report by Monday June 4, because thus far, NOAA hasn't even provided the Subcommittee with a redacted copy of the report."
"Congress cannot conduct appropriate oversight over the Executive branch without all the facts. It appears as though budget requests for the NWS were consistently insufficient, and that NOAA chose to fund other Administration priorities rather than the "protection of life and property and the enhancement of the national economy' -- the Weather Service's primary mission. The Administration has submitted a reprogramming request to Congress, but not a full explanation of why it is needed, or what happened. The more NOAA and DOC drag their feet, the longer it will take Congress to understand and help remedy the budget problems at NWS," Broun concluded.