Watchdog Says Commerce Dept. Is Blocking Probe Into Trump’s “Sharpiegate”

“The Commerce Department is impeding findings into whether it coerced the top NOAA official to support President Trump’s inaccurate claim that Dorian would hit Alabama, the department’s inspector general said.”

“WASHINGTON — The Department of Commerce is preventing the release of an investigation’s findings into whether it coerced the head of a federal agency into supporting President Trump’s erroneous claim that Hurricane Dorian would hit Alabama last year, the department’s inspector general said on Wednesday.

In a memo to Commerce Secretary Wilbur L. Ross Jr., the inspector general, Peggy E. Gustafson, said that staff in his department had “thwarted” the publication of her report. According to Ms. Gustafson’s memo, the department has said portions of that report contain information that cannot be made public, but will not say which ones.

The department’s refusal to cooperate with the release of the investigation “appears to be directly linked to the content of our report and the findings of responsibility of the high-level individuals involved,” Ms. Gustafson wrote.

She compared the move to the department’s vetoing her investigation, a significant statement given that an inspector general’s office is designed to conduct inquiries that are independent from the agency being examined.”

Christopher Flavelle reports for the New York Times July 1, 2020.

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“Watchdog Accuses Commerce Of Holding Up ‘Sharpiegate' Probe Report” (The Hill)