WASHINGTON, D.C. – Senators Mazie K. Hirono (D-Hawaii) and Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.) announced today that Phyllis K. Fong, the Inspector General of the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), opened an investigation into potential suppression and alteration of scientific reports, documents, and communications by political appointees at USDA.
Today’s announcement followed a June request by Senators Hirono, Stabenow, and 17 Senate Democrats to initiate the investigation following widespread reports of politically-motivated decision making at USDA that led to suppression of climate science, the unnecessary relocation of USDA scientists, and potential retaliation against career Department employees.
“Millions of people around the world have benefited and will benefit from the cutting-edge research produced by scientists at USDA every single day. These dedicated public servants should not be subjected to the whims of Trump appointees who have suppressed the Department’s work for their political agenda,” Senator Hirono said. “Across the government, inspectors general are playing a crucial role in holding this administration accountable, and I want to thank Inspector General Fong for initiating this important investigation.”
“The Trump Administration’s efforts to suppress science at USDA put our farmers and our economy at risk,” Senator Stabenow said. “This investigation will help us get to the bottom of what’s been happening and ensure scientific integrity is protected at the department.”
A copy of Inspector General Fong’s letter in response to the request from Senators Hirono and Stabenow can be found here.