On October 3rd, Senator John Kerry will host a field hearing at the Massachusetts State House to explore the effects of of the catch share program and to interview Dr Jane Lubchenco, Administrator of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).
We have some suggestions for the hearing and the interview of Dr Jane Lubchenco:
Call for the termination of any federal employee responsible for obstruction of justice, fraud, embezzlement, or any other felonious act.
Refer all pertinent documents to the Office of Special Counsel in the US Department of Justice for investigation and possible prosecution. NOAA has repeatedly produced documents that appear to absolve itself of any wrongdoing by employees. Repeatedly, documents have been produced to contradict NOAA findings. The Office of Special Counsel in the DOJ exists to investigate misconduct in the Executive Branch. NOAA has proved incapable of cleaning up its own house. Its time to invite in someone who can do so.
Publicly thank Richard Gaines of the Gloucester Times for his dogged pursuit of abuses by NOAA’s Office of Law Enforcement (OLE).
Address the shredding of documents relevant to an ongoing Inspector General investigation and get an explanation as to why no one has been fired including Dale J. Jones Jr, former director of NOAA’s OLE. Commerce Department Inspector General Todd Zinser wrote to NOAA chief administrator, Jane Lubchenco, in an April 2, 2010 memo, that the document shredding of November 20, 2009 involved the destruction of “75-80 percent of the files in the office of Dale J. Jones Jr.”
- “In addition to not complying with the above-reference records disposition regulation and policy, the shredding implicates an appearance that it was done to conceal information from the OIG (Office of the Inspector General)”
- “About six of law enforcement headquarters’ 40 employees” contributed files for shredding.
- “Such office-wide shredding was not a routine function for the Office of Law Enforcement; rather, the director and deputy director (Mark Spurrier) told us this was the first such an exercise in their 10-plus years with OLE.”
- At the time of the shredding party, the OIG was four months into an investigation alleging, “heavy-handed and unfair enforcement activities,” against the New England fishing industry.
This shredding party allowed law enforcement agents, in an agency that was under an ongoing review by an Inspector General’s office (triggered by numerous complaints of punitive abuse and mismanagement) to destroy whatever evidence of what may have looked improper or have been improper. The shredding violated regulations from multiple federal agencies including those of NOAA and the Department of Commerce as well as those governing the retention and management of federal agency records. That is horrible. Allowing that to occur with an agency, that is authorized to seize cash and property under civil asset forfeiture statutes that do not require proof of guilt, only more than mere suspicion, is particularly egregious given that the law enforcement officials were potentially in charge of destroying any evidence of whether there was a reasonable belief of criminality. And since the onus to prove the innocence of the property is on the owner, not the law enforcement agency, it gives the law enforcement officials an unchecked and unsupervised ability to seize property. That is both stupid and wrong.
Reopen the investigations into the US Coast Guard Administrative Law Judges (ALJs) and grant the availability for independent review to anyone who lost a case and wants review. We know that two different ALJs (Rosemary Denson and Jeffie Massey) have registered complaints that imply a manifestly unfair legal process. We know that USCG ALJ Judge Parlen McKenna and George Jordan (a member of Chief Administrative Law Judge Joseph Ingolia’s staff) were scheduled to take trips to Kuala Lumpur, paid for by what appears to be asset forfeiture funds seized by the OLE and subject to the USCG ALJ’s sanctioning. It also appears that questionable (possibly much worse) ex parte contact occurred between investigators and ruling judicial bodies.
Integrate Brian J. Rothschild into NOAA’s tactical plotting of the controversial catch share program. The New England fishing industry should have an involved, informed, and intelligent voice to shoot down any faulty and fatuous NOAA plots.