Lawmakers seek federal probe into former Chemical Safety Board chairman

Lawmakers seek federal probe into former Chemical Safety Board chairman
Chemical Safety Board Chairman Rafel Moure-Eraso.

Leaders of the U.S. Committee on Oversight and Government Reform are calling for a federal probe into whether former U.S. Chemical Safety Board (CSB) chairman Rafael Moure-Eraso made multiple false statements while testifying before an oversight committee, according to the Associated Press.

On Wednesday, the Committee on Oversight and Government Reform’s Republican chairman, Jason Chaffetz, along with Democrat Elijah Cummings, called for the investigation citing multiple examples of inconsistent testimony, including allegations that Moure-Eraso continued to use his personal email account for government business long after he told Congress he had stopped the practice, the AP reported.

“The committee relies on the truthful testimony of witnesses who appear at our hearings to conduct effective oversight,” states a letter signed by Chaffetz and Cummings, according to AP. “We are concerned by information and documents that suggest that Mr. Moure-Eraso’s testimony was not truthful.”

Moure-Eraso denies lying.

“I never knowingly presented to Congress, to the oversight committee, any false information,” he said.

Before resigning in March amid allegations of mismanagement and retaliation against whistleblowers, Moure-Eraso led the 40-person CSB in investigating industrial accidents and making safety recommendations. Under Moure-Eraso’s watch, however, the CSB itself came under scrutiny for wide-ranging problems. Much of the strife dates back to the agency’s response to the Chevron Richmond fire of 2012 as this San Francisco Chronicle article discusses.

An inspector general investigation into retaliation against whistleblowers by the CSB also found Moure-Eraso and two CSB colleagues had violated the Federal Records Act by using private email accounts to conduct government business, presumably to be secretive. The allegations forced the Obama administration to ask for Moure-Eraso’s resignation.