Committee on Science, Space, and Technology

Lamar Smith

Smith Refutes Attorney General Healey’s Objections to Subpoena

2016/08/24

WASHINGTON – Science, Space, and Technology Committee Chairman Lamar Smith (R-Texas) today sent a letter to Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey in response to her objections to the committee’s validly-issued subpoena served on July 13 and accepted on July 14. Today’s letter, sent one day after Chairman Smith’s similar letter to New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, states the committee finds Attorney General Healey’s objections without merit. “The Committee is conducting an investigation to determine whether the actions of your office are having an adverse impact on federally-funded scientific research.  If such an adverse impact is discovered, the Committee may consider changes to federal law and/or the amount and allocation of federal funding for scientific research.  The Committee’s goal is to maximize the efficient and effective use of federal tax dollars intended to advance the progress of science without regard to non-scientific considerations such as a fear that certain types of scientifically justified research may lead to costly state investigations and adverse political pressure,” Chairman Smith explains. The committee’s inquiry is valid because it satisfies a three-prong test articulated by the Supreme Court, is consistent with the Tenth Amendment, and adheres to longstanding congressional practice in recognizing common law and state statutory privileges at its discretion. For the American scientific enterprise to remain successful and for federal funding of scientific research to be most effective, it is necessary that scientists are free to pursue research and intellectual inquiry in accordance with scientific principles without fear of reprisal, harassment, or undue burden. “If businesses believe that the research they fund can be mischaracterized for political or ideological reasons and used to build cases of fraud against the company, they will have a powerful incentive to cease funding that research and instead to direct their funds elsewhere.  This, in fact, may be your goal. “Similarly, if scientists believe that their industry-sponsored research, or discussions with industry about research funded by other sources, will be subpoenaed if it is in disagreement with the beliefs and preferences of state officials or advocacy groups, they will have a powerful incentive to cease conducting that research or disseminating the results of their research to all interested parties.  Maybe this is your goal, too,” today’s letter states. Today’s letter to Attorney General Healey can be found here.  Read More

Smith Letter to Attorney General Healeyon objections to subpoena

2016/08/24

The letter can be found HERE. Read More

Smith Refutes Attorney General Schneiderman’s Objections to Subpoena

2016/08/23

WASHINGTON – Science, Space, and Technology Committee Chairman Lamar Smith (R-Texas) today sent a letter to New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman in response to his objections to the committee’s validly-issued subpoena served and accepted on July 13. Today’s letter states the committee finds Attorney General Schneiderman’s objections without merit. “The Committee is conducting an investigation to determine whether the actions of your office are having an adverse impact on federally-funded scientific research.  If such an adverse impact is discovered, the Committee may consider changes to federal law and/or the amount and allocation of federal funding for scientific research.  The Committee’s goal is to maximize the efficient and effective use of federal tax dollars intended to advance the progress of science without regard to non-scientific considerations such as a fear that certain types of scientifically justified research may lead to costly state investigations and adverse political pressure,” Chairman Smith explains. The Committee’s inquiry is lawful because it satisfies a three-prong test articulated by the Supreme Court, and is consistent with the Tenth and First Amendments. For the American scientific enterprise to remain successful and for federal funding of scientific research to be most effective, it is necessary that scientists are free to pursue research and intellectual inquiry in accordance with scientific principles without fear of reprisal, harassment, or undue burden. “If businesses believe that the research they fund can be mischaracterized for political or ideological reasons and used to build cases of fraud against the company, they will have a powerful incentive to cease funding that research and instead to direct their funds elsewhere.  This, in fact, may be your goal. “Similarly, if scientists believe that their industry-sponsored research, or discussions with industry about research funded by other sources, will be subpoenaed if it is in disagreement with the beliefs and preferences of state officials or advocacy groups, they will have a powerful incentive to cease conducting that research or disseminating the results of their research to all interested parties.  Maybe this is your goal, too,” today’s letter states. Today’s letter to Attorney General Schneiderman can be found here.  Read More

Smith Letter to Attorney General Schneiderman on objections to subpoena

2016/08/23

The letter can be found HERE. Read More

Smith, With Support of Johnson, Issues Subpoenas to Hillary Clinton’s Private Email Server Companies

2016/08/22

WASHINGTON – U.S. Rep. Lamar Smith (R-Texas), chairman of the U.S. House Science, Space, and Technology Committee issued subpoenas today with the support of U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.), chairman of the U.S. Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, to three companies that provided software and services to former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton that played a role in maintaining her private email server. This bicameral effort builds on the request for information sent to the companies on July 12 by both Smith and Johnson. “Companies providing services to Secretary Hillary Clinton’s private email account and server are not above the law,” said Smith.  “These companies have failed to comply with our committee’s request for documents and interviews that would provide information critical to understanding Secretary Clinton’s private server and informing policy changes in how to prevent similar email arrangements in the future. The committee is issuing subpoenas to obtain the information necessary to answer questions about the structure and security of the email system and whether or not the cybersecurity standards and measures used to protect information stored on Secretary Clinton’s private server were in accord with NIST standards.  The committee is also concerned about the preservation of the records on Secretary Clinton’s private server.  Our committee plans to provide the American people with the transparency they deserve from our government leaders and the systems used to secure operations.” “I strongly support Chairman Smith’s decision to subpoena the three companies, which is why I co-signed the cover letter accompanying each subpoena,” said Johnson. “The companies have direct and unique knowledge of her private server and email account. The information being sought is a crucial step in bringing greater transparency to Secretary Clinton’s ‘extremely careless’ — I would call it dangerously reckless and grossly negligent — email practices. I hope the information we will obtain will inform policy changes that can prevent similar misconduct in the future.” Full copies of the letters can be found here: Letter to Mr. Austin McChord, CEO, Datto, Inc. Letter to Mr. Victor Nappe, CEO, SECNAP Network Security Corp. Letter to Mr. Treve Suazo, CEO, Platte River Networks Read More

Letters to Hillary Clinton’s Private Email Server Companies

2016/08/22

Letter to Mr. Austin McChord, CEO, Datto, Inc. Letter to Mr. Victor Nappe, CEO, SECNAP Network Security Corp. Letter to Mr. Treve Suazo, CEO, Platte River Networks Read More

Dear EPA, stop acting like a bully and start following the rule of law

2016/08/02

The Environmental Protection Agency’s core mission is to protect human health and the environment. But little of EPA’s proposed regulatory agenda would have any impact on the environment. That hasn’t stopped the agency from imposing some of the most expensive and expansive regulations in its history. Recent EPA rules will cost billions of dollars and place a heavy burden on American taxpayers. These egregious EPA rules will diminish the ability of businesses throughout the United States to compete globally. EPA’s political agenda is to rearrange the American economy, instituting “command and control” by the Obama administration. The House Science Committee’s investigations have revealed an EPA that intentionally chooses to ignore sound science. EPA cherry-picks the science that fits its agenda and ignores the science that does not support its position. When the science falls short of EPA’s predetermined outcomes, the agency resorts to a propaganda campaign designed to mislead the public. EPA has used suspect science, questionable legal interpretations, and flawed analysis to justify its unprecedented regulatory agenda. A glaring example is the president’s so-called Clean Power Plan. This plan is nothing more than a “power grab” to give the government more control over Americans’ daily lives. The regulation stifles economic growth, destroys American jobs, and significantly increases energy prices. That means costs will rise – from electricity to gasoline to food, disproportionately hurting low income Americans. The non-partisan Energy Information Administration at the U.S. Department of Energy has independently found that the Clean Power Plan will reduce economic growth, increase electricity costs, and result in almost 376,000 jobs lost over the next 15 years. EPA’s own data shows that this regulation would reduce sea level rise by only 1/100th of an inch, the thickness of three sheets of paper. The Clean Power Plan represents massive costs without significant benefits. In other words, it’s all pain and no gain. President Obama used this unconstitutional power grab as the cornerstone of his agenda at the Paris climate talks. The Paris Agreement is a bad deal for the American people that will shrink our economy without any recognizable benefits. Even if all 178 countries meet their promised reductions of carbon emissions for the next 85 years, that will reduce temperatures by only 1/6 of one degree Celsius! The committee also has revealed troubling and illegal activities in EPA’s promotion of the Waters of the U.S. rule. The committee found that the EPA engaged in inappropriate tactics to generate grassroots lobbying in support of this rule. This past December, the Government Accountability Organization (GAO) issued a legal opinion stating that EPA violated both the Anti-Lobbying and Antideficiency Acts. Over the past year, several of EPA’s major regulations have been halted by federal courts. These include the agency’s efforts to stop the Pebble Mine, the controversial Waters of the U.S. rule, and the Clean Power Plan. These regulations are power grabs that trample on the constitutional rights of individuals and rely on suspect legal interpretations of the law. As we head into the presidential election season, let’s not forget our neighbors across the country who would be out of a job at the hands of the Obama administration’s extreme climate agenda.  At a recent commencement speech at Vermont Law School, EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy stated, “[s]ometimes it feels like David and Goliath.” This is one thing she’s absolutely right about – the American people are David, and the EPA is Goliath. The EPA should stop acting like a bully, follow the rule of law, and allow science rather than politics to drive its regulatory agenda. Congressman Lamar Smith represents the 21st district of Texas in the House of Representatives and is the chairman of the House Science, Space, and Technology Committee.   Read More

Administration Failure on Travel Warnings Contributes to Zika Crossing the U.S. Border

2016/08/01

WASHINGTON –  Science, Space, and Technology Committee Chairman Lamar Smith (R-Texas) today reiterated his request that the Obama administration raise travel warnings for foreign countries where the Zika virus is widespread. Chairman Lamar Smith (R-Texas): “If Americans continue to believe it is safe to travel to countries where the Zika virus is rampant, more will return home with infections.  This increases the risks for all of us, whether we travel abroad or not, because if a mosquito bites a person who has carried Zika into the U.S., that mosquito can infect every other person it bites.” There are now 14 confirmed cases of the Zika virus in Florida. These cases could have been averted or at least minimized if the administration had issued more explicit level three travel restrictions on certain countries earlier this year. Scientists agree that no mosquitoes carrying the Zika virus flew across the Gulf of Mexico. Rather, Florida-born mosquitoes bit humans who acquired Zika through travel and brought the virus with them to south Florida. These mosquitoes became carriers of the disease and infected other Floridians that they bit. In June, Chairman Smith sent a letter to President Barack Obama requesting that travel warnings be raised for Zika-affected countries. Read More

Smith Statement on MA, NY Attorneys’ General, Environmental Groups’ Refusal to Comply with Subpoena

2016/07/27

WASHINGTON –  Science, Space, and Technology Committee Chairman Lamar Smith (R-Texas) today released the following statement in response to the Massachusetts and New York Attorneys’ General and several environmental groups’ refusal to comply with subpoenas issued and announced on July 13. Smith’s subpoenas demanded documents related to coordinated efforts to deprive companies, nonprofit organizations, scientists and scholars of their First Amendment rights. Chairman Lamar Smith (R-Texas): “The Committee is disappointed that the New York and Massachusetts Attorneys General and the environmental activist organizations behind the AGs’ efforts have refused to comply with lawfully issued subpoenas. Their noncompliance only raises additional questions. As discussions with the individual subpoena recipients move forward, the Committee will consider using all tools at its disposal to further its investigation.” Read More

Committee Probes Foreign Nationals’ Access to OPM Data

2016/07/19

WASHINGTON – House Science, Space, and Technology Committee Chairman Lamar Smith (R-Texas) today sent letters to Shaun Donovan, director, Office of Management and Budget (OMB), and Beth Cobert, acting director, U.S. Office of Personnel Management (OPM), requesting documents and information relative to foreign nationals’ potential access to OPM data prior to the agency’s public disclosure last year of one of the federal government’s largest cyber breaches. The request is made in the context of a report released  by the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) last month that reviewed the security controls of  federal agencies’ high-impact systems. GAO’s report notes “the 18 agencies having high-impact systems identified cyber attacks from ‘nations’ as the most serious and most frequently-occurring threat to the security of their systems.” GAO selected four agencies with high impact systems for further review in its report, including the U.S. Office of Personnel Management. “The identification of foreign nations as one of the most serious cyber threats to agencies underscores concerns that were raised after last year’s OPM breach over the potential access to OPM’s sensitive data by foreign nationals.  According to news reports at the time, it appears that some of OPM’s contractors may have given ‘foreign governments direct access to data long before the recent reported breaches.’  In one instance, an ‘administrator for the project “was in Argentina and his co-worker was physically located in the [People’s Republic of China].  Both had direct access to every row of data in every database: they were root,”’ the letters state. “Additionally, a different team working on the database was led by two employees with passports from the People’s Republic of China.  In other words, an agency that identifies foreign nations as the source of the most serious and frequently occurring threat, either failed to realize that foreign nationals had access to its database, or knew it and failed to correct the situation,” the letters continue. Today’s letters request information and responses to questions from both OPM, the agency with the data breach and continued cybersecurity concerns, and OMB, the agency with statutory oversight of agencies’ compliance with federal cybersecurity requirements. The letter to OMB can be found HERE. The letter to OPM can be found HERE. Read More

Contact Information

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Membership

Brian Babin

TEXAS' 36th DISTRICT

Jim Bridenstine

OKLAHOMA's 1st DISTRICT

Mo Brooks

ALABAMA's 5th DISTRICT

Barbara Comstock

VIRGINIA's 10th DISTRICT

Randy Hultgren

ILLINOIS' 14th DISTRICT

Bill Johnson

OHIO's 6th DISTRICT

Steve Knight

CALIFORNIA's 25th DISTRICT

Barry Loudermilk

GEORGIA's 11th DISTRICT

Frank Lucas

OKLAHOMA's 3rd DISTRICT

Thomas Massie

KENTUCKY's 4th DISTRICT

Michael McCaul

TEXAS' 10th DISTRICT

John Moolenaar

MICHIGAN's 4th DISTRICT

Randy Neugebauer

TEXAS' 19th DISTRICT

Dan Newhouse

WASHINGTON's 4th DISTRICT

Steven Palazzo

MISSISSIPPI's 4th DISTRICT

Gary Palmer

ALABAMA's 6th DISTRICT

Bill Posey

FLORIDA's 8th DISTRICT

Dana Rohrabacher

CALIFORNIA's 48th DISTRICT

Jim Sensenbrenner

WISCONSIN's 5th DISTRICT

Lamar Smith

TEXAS' 21st DISTRICT

Randy Weber

TEXAS' 14th DISTRICT

Bruce Westerman

ARKANSAS' 4th DISTRICT

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