Congressman Urges Federal Investigation of Wespac

Posted by kahea at Feb 06, 2008 07:43 PM |
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The Chair of the Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, U.S. Congressman Henry Waxman, called for an investigation by the GAO (Government Accountability Office) on Monday, in response to calls of concern from Hawaii NGOs regarding improper use of government funds and unethical conduct by Wespac (Western Pacific Fishery Management Council) and its Executive Director, Kitty Simonds.

Hawaii groups have been calling for an investigation for more than four years. Allegations have included altering of data pertaining to the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands, misuse of coral reef conservation money used to promote expanded commercial exploitation in the sensitive, fragile, and strongly protected Northwestern Hawaiian Islands (NWHI), use of Coral Reef Conservation Act funds to promote recreational fishing near Nihoa, an island in the NWHI which is home to important cultural sites, and improper use of federal money for lobbying efforts.

“These are serious allegations, and we look forward to the results of a thorough investigation. Wespac must be held accountable for the way it has been spending public money in its attempts to weaken protections for the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands,” said Vicky Holt-Takamine, Board President of KAHEA: The Hawaiian-Environmental Alliance. “Full protection of our natural and cultural resources demands prosecution of any such violations to the fullest extent of the law.”

Wespac is also under investigation by the Department of Commerce Inspector General (IG).

More on Wespac.

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