July, 18, 2018
The Office of Inspector General is a watchdog agency that provides some level of transparency and accountability for the Department of the Interior from Secretary Zinke down. Today the GOP voted down full funding for the OIG.
This will further complicate matters for our wild horses and burros. CAES has already sent in several complaints about lack of FOIA responses from several agencies, for over a year now. It will make bills like privatizing our public lands even more attractive to the western states and all of their commercial industry on those public lands. It goes hand in hand with the gutting of the Endangered Species Act, trying to add killing of wild horses to the Bureau of Land Management’s budget for FY 2019, gutting the Environmental Protection Agency, loosening regulations there and also on National Environmental Policy Act regulations. And don’t forget the attacks on wildlife, national monuments, and the list goes on and on.
Today really drew the line in the sand between public lands and commercial lands turned over to state management. Today, the GOP took transparency, accountability, and oversight off the table. They took the ‘public’ out of it all.
Here’s what ranking member Raul Grijalva had to say when his request to fully fund the OIG was voted down:
Grijalva: GOP Just Voted to Protect Secretary Zinke From Accountability by Denying Full Funding for DOI Inspector General
Washington, D.C. – Moments ago the House Republican majority voted down Ranking Member Raúl M. Grijalva’s (D-Ariz.) amendment to the Department of the Interior (DOI) funding bill that sought to increase the DOI Office of Inspector General’s (OIG) funding by $2.5 million. Grijalva said the vote shows how stubbornly Republicans refuse to hold Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke or the rest of the Trump administration’s DOI appointees accountable for their multiple scandals, policy failures and embarrassing missteps.
In addition to the funding increase, Grijalva’s amendment authorizes the hiring of five new auditors to address contracts and financial assistance, five investigators to focus on administrative issues, and up to six new investigators in field offices to allow OIG criminal investigators to focus on criminal misconduct.
“Secretary Zinke is already the most scandal-plagued Interior secretary in recent memory, and House Republicans just voted against holding him accountable,” Grijalva said today. “They’re comfortable passing a trillion-dollar tax cut for the rich but won’t spend two and a half million dollars on a watchdog agency that protects the public and saves taxpayers money. Something is very wrong with this picture.”
Zinke is the subject of at least 14 formal government investigations, more than the last four Interior secretaries combined. The DOI Office of the Inspector general is handling the bulk of those efforts, with others taking place at the Office of Special Counsel and the Government Accountability Office. Current OIG funding and staffing levels have proven inadequate given OIG’s overwhelming workload of investigations and financial audits.
Increasing OIG’s funding would have a positive economic impact, as the office’s work generates an approximately 20-to-1 return to taxpayers. Even as DOI awarded approximately $10 billion in financial assistance and contracts in fiscal years 2016 and 2017, the number of OIG audits dropped roughly 16 percent. Contracts and financial assistance are some of the highest risk areas in terms of the potential for waste, fraud, and abuse.”
With all of the recent issues surrounding corruption, and lack of transparency for our wild horses. And the recent information we have gained on the subject of BLM attitudes toward wild horse advocates as “highly emotional people” claiming that we do not read documents fully and that we “don’t understand NEPA” regulations. There is a clear disdain for the advocacy that we see in their similar behaviors toward our wild horses. The lies told by veterinarians surrounding mare sterilization surgeries, in panel discussions and videos, the lack of transparency at private leased pastures and even federal holding facilities, and so many other issues just tell us that they truly do not intend on doing their job to protect our horses. And today’s vote was just one more step to keep us in the dark about our resources, our property, our wild horses.
Call your Congressional representative and urge them to:
*Deny funding that is not essential to care for warehoused horses, or provide emergency care for an injured horse on the range. NO other funding should be allowed until BLM corruption and collusion is fully investigated by an outside agency.
Budget cuts to the OIG are not going to allow for proper investigation into claims, like the ethics and intentional misinformation campaign we have reported against several federal employees and elected officials.
*Deny any new amendments to the FY 2019 Wild Horse language, Land Management Language, or any other portion of the CFR that would remove wild horses from federal care, kill them or perform barbaric experiments, like spaying mares or hormonal fertility drugs like GonaCon.
*Ask them to direct BLM and Secretary Zinke to go back to the drawing board and present a report on how they can move forward with a plan to manage our horses on their rightful lands with PZP and stop the removals and warehousing.
*And finally, please ask them to deny funding or language changes in the Interior FY19 appropriations bill that allows horses to be sold without limitation, or sold overseas until such time they can account for every wild horse removed, especially in the past 10 years. (Reports to CAES have a common thread…there are not as many horses there as BLM claims.) Where are they?
Find your rep here: https://govtrack.us