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Press Releases :: June 7, 2007

Joint Subcommittee Probe Questions NASA Inspector General’s Conduct in Office

(Washington, DC) Members of the House Committee on Science and Technology’s Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations and Members of the Senate Subcommittee on Space, Aeronautics and Related Sciences held a joint hearing today to review the case against NASA Inspector General Robert “Moose” Cobb.

Cobb remains on the job after a six-month investigation by the President’s Council on Integrity and Efficiency (PCIE) found that Cobb had abused his authority and exhibited the appearance of a lack of independence from NASA management.

“Mr. Cobb must leave,” said Rep. Brad Miller (D-NC), Chairman of the Subcommittee on Investigations and Oversight. “He has two clients - NASA and the Congress. His office’s work is suspect and Congress doesn’t trust him anymore.”

“An IG has to conduct him or herself in a fashion such that the Congress trusts them, the IG’s staff believes in them, the whistleblowing community relies on them and agency managers fear them enough to respect them. IG Cobb has failed on every count,” added Full Committee Chairman Bart Gordon (D-TN).

Among those testifying today, a veteran Assistant U.S. Attorney told the subcommittees that Cobb had interfered in at last two NASA investigations involving FBI search warrants. Deborah Herzog, now a Senior Attorney with the U.S. Postal Service Office of Inspector General, also testified that she resigned as Cobb’s Deputy Assistant Inspector General for Investigations at NASA after she and other employees were subjected to profanity-laced tirades by Cobb used to humiliate and demean.

“Mr. Cobb’s arrogance, bullying style, and questionable independence limit his ability to lead the NASA OIG and has in turn demoralized the OIG workforce,” said Herzog.

Cobb testified today that the allegations against him are unjustified and he called the investigative process by the PCIE’s Integrity Commission dysfunctional.

“Cobb admits no wrong and his only defense is to pretend to be a victim of the process established by the PCIE,” said Chairman Miller. “The IG’s office is not a management training school or an adjunct of the agency head. Cobb has lost the confidence of Congress and is not independent of his agency, which means he is not effective for either of his constituencies.”

Added Space and Aeronautics Subcommittee Chairman Mark Udall (D-CO), “At the end of the day, the position of NASA Inspector General is not an entitlement. Given Congress’s loss of confidence in Mr. Cobb’s ability to carry out his responsibilities effectively and independently, I believe that the Administration should try to find another place where Mr. Cobb can serve the nation. He should not remain as NASA Inspector General.”



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