Subpoenas Not Needed

March 6, 2007
Investigation report on NASA inspector to be released

Mark K. Matthews, Orlando Sentinel - March 6, 2007

White House officials have agreed to release a confidential report by April 2 that details a federal investigation of NASA Inspector General Robert Cobb, congressional sources said.

The decision comes after more than two months of wrangling between Congress and an oversight group on whether federal lawmakers could have access to the longstanding Cobb probe.

Launched last year following complaints to the office of U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson, D-Fla., the inquiry reportedly was completed by the end of last summer and examines dozens of allegations against Cobb in his role as inspector general.

However, a White House oversight group still has not decided what, if any, action to recommend.

Cobb, a White House political appointee, has been NASA's inspector general since April 2002. Investigators from the Department of Housing and Urban Development were told to conduct the inquiry and then forward their findings to the President's Council on Integrity and Efficiency.

NASA Administrator Michael Griffin also is reviewing the findings.

Some of the complaints accuse Cobb of stifling investigations, mistreating employees and maintaining more than the traditional arms-length relationship he was supposed to have with top officials of the agency he was supposed to independently monitor.

The Committee on Science and Technology's Subcommittee on Investigations and Oversight issued this response:

Administration Agrees to Hand Over Investigative Report on NASA's Inspector General

Subpoena Meeting is Cancelled

(Washington, DC) -- Rep. Brad Miller (D-NC), Chairman of the House Committee on Science and Technology's Subcommittee on Investigations and Oversight, cancelled tomorrow's scheduled subpoena meeting concerning the investigation of NASA Inspector General (IG) Robert Cobb after reaching agreement with the President's Commission on Integrity and Efficiency (PCIE) to provide to the Subcommittee the requested report on Cobb by April 2, 2007.

Said Chairman Brad Miller (NC-13):

"If these allegations are true, this has crippled the effectiveness of the Inspector General in ways that could contribute to not only more waste, fraud and abuse but also impact the safety of the human space flight program," said Chairman Miller. "It is critical that this investigation be completed immediately, and that the Committee obtains the requested documents to see whether additional actions need to be taken."

See previous reporting from the Washington Post.