Doubling the National Park Service’s Annual Appropriation – The Unique Influence of the National Parks Conservation Association
Report, Documents Show that Chairman’s Son Lobbied Panel on Stimulus Earmark
WASHINGTON. D.C. – A report by House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Minority Staff contradicts assertions by the House Appropriations Committee that National Parks Conservation Association (NPCA) lobbyist Craig Obey does not lobby the House Committee chaired by his father, Rep. David Obey. The House Appropriations Committee approved a $2 billion earmark for the National Parks Service lobbied for by Craig Obey and the NPCA.
“The success of NPCA and Craig Obey in doubling the National Park Service’s annual appropriation through the economic recovery legislation raises the question of whether family ties played a role,” according to the report. “The seriousness of this potential conflict should have been disclosed to all Members before the vote took place.
The earmark for the National Parks Service, included by the House Appropriations Committee in H.R. 1, is more than twice the amount proposed by the U.S. Senate and would effectively double the budget for the National Parks Service without explaining how such a funding increase will be absorbed without creating abuse, waste, and misuse of funds.
The staff report points to lobbying disclosure documents indicating that Craig Obey does lobby on Appropriations as well as the National Park Conversation Association’s stimulus proposal for the Appropriations Committee which identifies Craig Obey as the primary point of contact.
“Two years ago, you pledged to ‘drain the swamp’ in the House of Representatives and create the most ethical Congress in history,” Oversight and Government Reform Committee Ranking Member Darrell Issa wrote in a letter to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. “The secret lobbying of the Appropriations Committee by special interest groups and false denials by the Committee itself is yet another example showing that your ethics reform proposals have done little to create a culture of ethical conduct.”
Issa requested that the House accede to the Senate’s lower proposal for the National Park Service which would save taxpayers over $1 billion.