The Obama administration fired a top scientist, intimidated other staff, censored important information from Congress for political reasons, and waged “a reckless and calculated attack on the legislative process itself,” U.S. lawmakers concluded in a blistering new report about Obama’s scandal-plagued Department of Energy. All of it was done in order to advance Obama’s controversial “climate-change” agenda, according to congressional investigators. It is time for some serious changes in management at the U.S. Department of Energy, members of Congress declared. But even that is not nearly enough to remedy the damage unleashed by Obama via the unconstitutional bureaucracy.
The shocking revelations about the Obama administration’s lawless attempts to pursue its “global-warming” regulatory regime at all costs were exposed in a congressional staff report released this week by the U.S. House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology. According to the document, a top Energy Department (DOE) scientist, Dr. Noelle Metting, was fired from her job for providing honest and accurate information to Congress beyond the pre-approved “talking points” provided by Obama’s minions at the bureaucracy. The firing had a chilling effect on other scientists and staff, of course. Lawmakers were outraged.
“The Committee concludes that the DOE placed its own priorities to further the President’s Climate Action Plan before its Constitutional obligations to be candid with Congress,” the lawmakers said in the report’s executive summary. “The DOE’s actions constitute a reckless and calculated attack on the legislative process itself, which undermines the power of Congress to legislate. The Committee further concludes that DOE’s disregard for separation of powers is not limited to a small group of employees, but rather is an institutional problem that must be corrected by overhauling its management practices with respect to its relationship with the Congress.”
The latest scandal to rock DOE began with a piece of legislation introduced by liberty-minded Congressman Paul Broun (R-Ga.) to investigate the impact of radiation on human health. The bill, known as the “Low Dose Radiation Act” of 2014 (H.R. 5544), would have required the DOE to use funds it already had to review the science on low-dose radiation and its effects. Among other reasons why such an effort was called for, lawmakers said, was because the out-of-control regulatory bureaucracies were operating on the unproven and likely false assumption that, because high doses of radiation are harmful, low doses must also be.
Rather than working to figure out whether its assumptions on the alleged dangers of low-dose radiation were justified, however, the Obama DOE preferred to waste the tax money appropriated to it by pushing global-warming hysteria. “Instead of working to understand the value of the [Low Dose Radiation Research Program] LDRRP for emergency situations, DoE Management engaged in a campaign to terminate research programs that could divert funds from the president’s Climate Action Plan,” the report explains. Basically, Obama wanted the tax money to promote his increasingly discredited warming alarmism, not to do what the American people wanted as expressed through their elected representatives — and his minions were apparently willing to break the law to do it.
And so, the Obama administration set out to derail the bill in likely violation of the Anti-Lobbying Act, fire the scientist in question, and intimidate all of the other agency employees into going along with the White House agenda. Indeed, Energy Department e-mails handed over to the House Committee as part of the investigation revealed that the Obama agency was involved in a “premeditated scheme by senior employees” to “squash the prospects of Senate support” for Congressman Broun’s legislation and for the Low Dose Radiation Research Program, investigators concluded.
In a 2014 briefing for lawmakers about the program, Dr. Metting, who led the program, provided information that went beyond what her superiors wanted Congress to know. And so, Obama officials “removed Dr. Metting from federal service for allegedly providing too much information in response to questions posed by” lawmakers, according to the report. Investigators later found that her removal from federal service was “retaliation” by Obama officials because the scientist “refused to conform to the predetermined remarks and talking points designed by Management to undermine the advancement of” Broun’s bill.
And it gets even worse. According to the report, the House Committee also discovered that Obama’s DOE leaders “failed to exercise even a minimal standard of care to avoid chilling other agency scientists as a result of the retaliation against Dr. Metting for her refusal to censor information from Congress.” In other words, it seems that Obama’s minions at the DOE wanted to make sure that everyone else got the message loud and clear: Promote the Obama line and do not give Congress information it seeks, or lose your job. Other members of Obama’s cabinet even launched witch hunts against federal scientists who disagreed with the imploding climate alarmism.
Lawmakers expressed outrage about the DOE antics. “Instead of providing the type of scientific information needed by Congress to legislate effectively, senior departmental officials sought to hide information, lobbied against legislation, and retaliated against a scientist for being forthcoming,” Science, Space and Technology committee Chairman Lamar Smith (R-Texas) said in a statement. “In this staff report based on lengthy record before the committee, much has been revealed about how senior level agency officials under the Obama administration retaliated against a scientist who did not follow the party line.”
In the future, though, that has got to stop, Smith continued. “Moving forward, the department needs to overhaul its management practices to ensure that Congress is provided the information it requires to legislate and that federal employees and scientists who provide that information do so without fear of retribution,” explained the committee chief, who has long been critical of the Obama administration’s “global-warming” antics (and especially the pseudo-treaty known as the “Paris Agreement” that Trump vowed on the campaign trail to “cancel” upon taking office). Smith and the GOP majority could, of course, defund the department entirely.
The Energy Department has been embroiled in scandal practically for Obama’s entire time in office. Perhaps the most well-known scandal involved the Obama administration showering tax funds on its “green” cronies in sham companies such as Solyndra. The “solar panel” company received half of a billion U.S. dollars from taxpayers, then declared bankruptcy. Among the chief beneficiaries of the Obama administration’s lawless Solyndra scam were Goldman Sachs, whose executives were Obama’s largest campaign donors in 2008, as well as George Kaiser, another leading Obama fundraiser. Taxpayers were left holding the bag.
Similar examples of Obama’s “green” cronyism abound, and drew outrage from Congress. “The failure of several companies that received loans under the program, including Solyndra’s August 2011 bankruptcy, led to the loss of hundreds of millions of dollars in taxpayer funds,” explained a 2012 letter from lawmakers to Obama blasting the schemes. “The newly-obtained documents show that senior members of the administration were aware of substantial risks to taxpayers and objected to the way the funds were being distributed. They were overruled.”
Most recently, the Obama Energy Department has come under fire for refusing to provide the names of the department’s “climate” scientists to President-elect Donald Trump’s transition team. Critics of the Obama administration and its long record of manipulating data to promote outlandish global-warming alarmism suggested that DOE leaders fear a widely anticipated “swamp draining” may end up holding fraudsters accountable. Trump vowed to stop the “climate” scam and has long referred to the man-made global-warming theory as a “hoax” and even bovine excrement.
Former Texas Governor Rick Perry, a Republican who forgot the name of the department when providing a list of agencies he would seek to abolish as president, is set to serve as Energy Secretary in the incoming Trump administration. So it is possible that lawmakers will get their wish on reforming management at the massive bureaucracy, which has close to a $30 billion yearly budget, more than 10,000 employees, and almost 100,000 contractors. But even wholesale management reforms are not nearly enough to deal with the problems caused by Obama’s lawlessness and his pursuit of a radical anti-Constitution agenda. More serious efforts are needed.
The U.S. Constitution does not delegate any authority to the federal government to meddle in energy markets, push global-warming alarmism, hand tax money to cronies (“green” or otherwise), or any other such activities. Therefore, the Energy Department and virtually all of its functions are unconstitutional, with the exception of maintaining America’s nuclear arsenal, a task that could easily be folded into the Defense Department. Americans should keep pressing Congress to abolish the entire department, and several more along with it, as the damage on America inflicted by Obama is reversed.