Chairman Boxer Releases Expert Legal Analysis on NRC’s Failure to Cooperate with Congressional Investigation on San Onofre
Expert analysis makes clear that NRC’s refusal to release documents has no legal basis whatsoever
June 4, 2014

Washington, DC - During an oversight hearing with the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) today, U.S. Senator Barbara Boxer (D-CA), Chairman of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, released a detailed expert legal analysis dismantling the NRC's basis for refusing to provide the Committee with documents related to its ongoing investigation of how defective equipment was installed at the San Onofre nuclear plant. Senator Boxer requested the analysis from Morton Rosenberg, a renowned Constitutional scholar who worked as a specialist for over three decades in American public law with the American Law Division of the nonpartisan Congressional Research Service (CRS).

 

Senator Boxer said: "I have repeatedly called on the NRC to stop obstructing Congressional oversight and provide the Committee with all the documents I have requested. The expert legal analysis I am releasing today makes clear that the NRC's arguments are completely misguided and without any legal merit whatsoever."

 

Excerpts from the analysis are pasted below:

 

"The NRC Chairman demonstrates a profound misunderstanding of the plenary nature of Congress's investigatory power in the circumstances prevalent in the SONGS matter; misstates the authority of three cited cases dealing with the law on congressional intercession in agency decisionmaking; ignores the overwhelming contrary case law on the deliberative process privilege that is applicable in this situation; and shows a lack of awareness of over 90 years of congressional investigations in which agencies have been consistently obliged to provide documents and testimony regardless of whether a litigation or adjudication is pending or anticipated, or to explain why an enforcement action or investigation was or wasn't taken, or whether the agency failure to provide requested information was for the purpose of obstructing a congressional inquiry, all in the face of agency claims of constitutional or common law privilege or policy."

 

"I conclude that your Committee has jurisdiction, and authority and grounds for the successful exercise of compulsory process should the withholding of the documents you seek from NRC continues."

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