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Rep. Buerkle Calls on Sen. Reid to Apologize for Comments about Female NRC Commissioner

Press Release

Location: Washington, DC

House Oversight and Government Reform Committee member Rep. Ann Marie Buerkle (R-NY) today called on Sen. Harry Reid (D-NV) and his spokesman to apologize for calling Nuclear Regulatory Commissioner, Kristine Svinicki, a liar in a media statement. Media reports indicate that Sen. Reid and the Obama Administration may be "targeting" Svinicki because her term expires later this year.

Rep. Buerkle said that Senator Reid should apologize to Commissioner Svinicki. She also criticized Reid's spokesman's use of tactics similar to those of Jaczko by trying to bully opponents.

"Senator Reid should apologize to NRC Commissioner Kristine Svinicki for his office's false and uncivil comments attacking her integrity. The comments are particularly outrageous given that the bipartisan Commissioners of the NRC -- including three appointed by President Obama -- have testified that the agency's chairman and former Reid staff member, Gregory Jaczko has fostered a hostile work environment where senior female staffers have been repeatedly humiliated and reduced to tears by his unprofessional behavior," Buerkle said.

She added, "Senator Reid is wrong to engage in a bullying smear campaign against the Nuclear Regulatory Commission's only female commissioner in what is clearly an effort to retaliate against her decision to speak up for the agency's employees."

An Inspector General's report, Oversight Committee report and accompanying hearing last year with testimony from fellow commissioners, documented NRC Chairman Gregory Jaczko's pattern of withholding documents and "humiliating" colleagues including bringing female subordinates "to tears." "The Most troubling issue about Jaczko, [NRC Commissioner and former long-time staff member William] Magwood said, was his "raging verbal assault' of agency staff, particularly against women who have had "personal experience with the chairman's extreme behavior," Politico reported in December. Magwood's testimony before the Committee is available here.

Additionally, the Oversight Committee has pressed Jaczko on what appears to be inconsistent testimony he delivered in Oversight's December hearing. The Committee has heard no response from the NRC or Chairman Jaczko.

Reuters reported that "Other commissioners said they were most concerned Jaczko's temper was creating a hostile workplace for staff. "Enduring this type of abuse and being reduced to tears in front of colleagues and subordinates is a profoundly painful experience for them." In a letter to the White House, four NRC Commissioners asked the White House to intervene on their behalf to address Jaczko's behavior and its impact on NRC's mission, employees and fellow commissioners.

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