Matt Dempsey Matt_Dempsey@epw.senate.gov (202) 224-9797 - Inhofe
Gregory Keeley Gregory_Keeley@barrasso.senate.gov (202) 224-6441 - Barrasso
Joel DiGrado (202) 224-4623 - Vitter
EPW SENATORS SEEK INFORMATION ON WHITE HOUSE ENERGY AND CLIMATE CZAR
Assert Need for Openness, Transparency, and Accountability
Washington, D.C.-Sen. James Inhofe (R-Okla.), Ranking Member of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, along with Sen. John Barrasso (R-Wyo.), Ranking Member of the EPW Subcommittee on Oversight, and Sen. David Vitter (R-La.), Ranking Member of the EPW Subcommittee on Clean Air and Nuclear Safety, sent requests to several federal agencies, as well as offices within the Executive Office of the President, seeking information about the role of the White House Coordinator for Energy and Climate Policy in formulating federal regulations and policies.
As the senators stated in their letters, the President can appoint advisors of his choosing, and those advisors can legitimately exercise influence over policies crafted and implemented by the Administration. Yet the White House energy and climate change "czar," as it is colloquially referred, along with several other "czars" situated in a similar position, are not accountable to Congress, and their considerable authority raises questions about transparency and openness in the White House and the Administration.
For this reason, the senators are requesting information about the role of the energy and climate czar over the proposed endangerment finding for greenhouse gas emissions and the related proposal to regulate greenhouse gas emissions from mobile sources.
"It appears that the White House energy and climate czar influenced proposals of major consequence for the economy, consumers, families, and jobs, which is fine, but Congress, in order to exercise its oversight responsibility, needs to know how these policies were shaped and crafted," Sen. Inhofe said. "By responding in a timely and forthright manner, the Administration will demonstrate its commitment to transparency and openness, and will show a willingness to work with Congress in performing its constitutional responsibility."
"This really is a czar too far and a czar too many. The President has effectively appointed a ‘shadow cabinet,' that is unaccountable to Congress. The Obama czars are not answerable to Congress, and, as a result, not responsible to the American people," Barrasso said. "I have requested information on the activities of the President's energy and climate change czar. The Administration has not been forthcoming. We need to ensure transparency and accountability are restored to decisions made by this Administration. The people of Wyoming demand it."
"This Administration has been touting openness and transparency as core values, but as it relates to czars, the White House has been less than forthcoming in detailing just what role these individuals play in directing government agencies on broad decisions that can have a significant economic impact on the entire country," said Vitter.