Sen. Tom Carper, top Democrat on the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, released a statement Dec. 12 after the Senate voted 52-39 to confirm Aurelia Skipwith to serve as director of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
“In order for the Senate to fulfill its constitutional role to provide ‘advice and consent’ on presidential nominees, those nominated individuals must cooperate during the confirmation process,” said Carper. “To my deep disappointment and dismay, Aurelia Skipwith has failed to cooperate, and that is the main reason why I was unable to vote for her nomination today.”
“Despite my repeated requests for information since August — requests made twice in writing and twice in person — Ms. Skipwith has refused to provide information pertaining to her activities as a Department of Interior official,” said Carper. “This is information that is routinely provided by other nominees. Instead, she suggested that I file a Freedom of Information Act request for the basic information I’m seeking.”
“Ms. Skipwith’s lack of candor has elevated questions that already existed about her qualifications and her commitment to environmental conservation,” said Carper. “The nominee’s evasiveness has left serious questions unanswered as to whether she can ethically lead the Fish and Wildlife Service. And, her failure to cooperate gives me little confidence that she will be more transparent once sworn into office.”
“I worry that Ms. Skipwith’s failure to be forthright as a nominee is a harbinger of her tenure at the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service as director,” said Carper. “But, on behalf of the thousands of men and women who work at the service, I hope I am wrong.”