Gosar Alerts DOI IG and Solicitor Calling for Protections for National Park Service Personnel

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Washington, August 3, 2020 | Rory Burke (202-225-2315) | comments

Today, U.S. Congressman Paul A. Gosar, D.D.S. (AZ-04) sent a letter to Department of Interior Solicitor Jorjani and Inspector General Greenblatt alerting them to a recent effort to pressure National Park Service personnel into providing limited access tickets for 4th of July access to Yosemite National Park for personal use by a member of Congress. 

“It gives me no pleasure to report on the questionable actions of a colleague, but the Department leadership must be aware of these efforts to pressure National Park Service personnel into providing special access passes to a Member of Congress. As the National Park Service works hard to reopen and balance the important needs of local communities and protecting our nation’s rangers, to see staff distracted by a long chain of communications clearly concerned with doing the right thing in the face of pressure from a member of Congress who was denied their personal request is deeply concerning,” said Gosar. “Official Congressional oversight is an important process, but as recently as June 2, the Natural Resources Committee majority was holding forums attacking the Department Leadership over reopening plans. Now to see just weeks later a member of the Majority pressuring the National Park Service for multiple non-public holiday passes to a busy National Park for personal reasons is simply unacceptable behavior from a Member of Congress.”

Background 

As part of a document release from the Department of the Interior the Natural Resources Committee received an email exchange between Yosemite National Park personnel and staff of Rep. T.J. Cox (CA).  The original email was a rejection of the Cox staff request for holiday weekend passes to Yosemite Park.  The subsequent exchange shows the Cox staff alerting the Congressman on his personal email, followed by the instance of a call between NPS personnel and Rep. Cox himself. The call request resulted in a lengthy exchange by National Park Service personnel to protect the ethics of the Department.

The Letter from Representative Gosar can be seen HERE

The email exchange between Rep. Cox’s Staff and NPS staff can be seen HERE

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