Issa said much of the refurbishment was “damaged or destroyed” by Salazar’s department permitting “illegal camping” in the park. Issa went into great detail about NPS’ definition of camping, and accused NPS of rejecting its own rules by declaring the protest a “24-hour vigil” rather than camping.
[Note: This article was originally posted on December 16th, 2011. The IFNM website was attacked by hackers and many articles are now gone from the archives. As a public service, IFNM is now reposting said articles.]
Rep. Darrell Issa, the chairman of the House oversight committee, is asking the Obama administration to explain how it could allow Occupy protesters to destroy $400,000 worth of landscaping and refurbishment by setting up camp in a D.C. park.
Issa wrote to Interior Secretary Ken Salazar on Tuesday requesting he reply to an eight-page letter detailing the decisions of the National Park Service to withhold evictions of protesters who had clearly set up a tent city despite NPS’ rules barring camping at the park.
Issa said NPS’ laxity toward enforcing its own rules has resulted in protesters killing “newly planted grass that had been funded by the stimulus” and “wasting much of the hundreds of thousands of dollars in taxpayer money used to rehabilitate McPherson Square.”
“While the merits of this stimulus funding are debatable, we can all agree that once the federal government invested the funds, no government agency should have allowed it to be damaged or destroyed when it legally could have been prevented,” Issa wrote.
“The National Park Service and U.S. Park Police are firmly committed to upholding Americans’ First Amendment rights while also enforcing our nation’s laws, guarding public safety, and protecting the resources with which we are entrusted,” Adam Fetcher, a spokesman of the Interior Department said in a statement to Fox News.