Commerce Seeks Wildlife Leakers

March 11, 2009

A Bush-appointed holdover inspector general has teamed up with an ultraconservative Senator in a "plumber" operation aimed at punishing agency employees who revealed attempts to gut the Endangered Species Act via "midnight regulations."

Commerce Department Inspector General Todd Zinser, a Bush appointee, agreed to a request by Sen. James Inhofe (R-OK), the ranking minority member on the Senate Environment Committee who calls climate change a "hoax." Inhofe asked for an investigation by both the Commerce and Interior IGs into leaks of documents on last-minute changes to ESA regs by the outgoing Bush administration.

The documents found their way to the National Wildlife Federation, and Zinser issued an "administrative subpoena" for information on how they got there. The documents "were not marked sensitive, secret or otherwise confidential or classified," according to Pete Yost, who broke the story for the Associated Press March 10, 2009. There is no stamp for "embarrassing."

"The executive director of wildlife conservation and global warming at the National Wildlife Federation, John Kostyack, said the group will go to court in an effort to get the subpoena quashed," the AP story said. "Kostyack acknowledged he was a recipient of the leaked draft rules."