Bingaman Queries Norton About U.S. Park Police

December 19, 2003
12:00 AM
Today, Sen. Bingaman sent a second letter to the Department of the Interior – this time, to Secretary Norton – seeking information about charges against the U.S. Park Service police chief and information about underlying concerns the police chief has raised about public health and safety. The letter speaks for itself and won’t be improved with my further elucidation: December 19, 2003 The Honorable Gale Norton Secretary of the Interior Washington, D.C. 20240 Dear Madam Secretary: A week ago I wrote to the Director of the National Park Service, Fran Mainella, to request some information on the United States Park Police and the charges against its Chief, Teresa Chambers. To date, I have not yet received a reply. This morning, I learned by reading the Washington Post that Chief Chambers has already been formally notified that “the National Park Service intends to fire her” for “improperly lobbying Congress and disclosing secret budget details through her public comments.” I am writing you to renew the request I made of Director Mainella for information on this matter and to ask you not to take any further disciplinary action against Chief Chambers until that information has been provided and until the Committee on Energy and Natural Resources has had an opportunity to review it. As I wrote to Director Mainella, this Committee is charged with overseeing the administration of the laws relating to the National Park Service. The Members of the Committee take this responsibility seriously and, I believe, would regard with serious concern any action by the Department to silence or punish any Federal employee who lawfully discloses to the Congress information relating to a substantial and specific danger to the public health and safety. Sincerely, Jeff Bingaman Ranking Democratic Member