Skip to main content
Report Published: Jun 15, 2016

Contempt Resolution for Administrative Official

Excerpts from the resolution:

“The documents and communications covered by the subpoena are central to the Committee’s investigation of the controversial WOTUS rulemaking process. WOTUS expanded the Clean Water Act’s purview and raised enforcement concerns, as well as state sovereignty considerations. In March 2016, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit announced it will consider the legality of WOTUS, and left in place a nationwide stay against enacting the rule.

“Mr. Shelanski’s unwillingness and inability to work in good faith to comply with the subpoena interfered with the Committee’s investigation. Mr. Shelanski and his staff are withholding key documents from the Committee—the volume of which is unknown except to OIRA, because Mr. Shelanski and his staff refused to provide basic information about the universe of responsive documents. 

“Having exhausted all available options for obtaining compliance, the Chairman of the Committee on Oversight and Government Reform recommends that the House of Representatives find Howard Shelanski in contempt for his failure to comply with the subpoena issued to him.”

Click to view the FULL REPORT.


The Committee first requested documents related to the WOTUS rulemaking on March 3, 2015, at a joint subcommittee hearing. On May 12, 2015, the Committee sent a letter to Administrator Shelanski reiterating its request for information related to the rulemaking.

Mr. Shelanski failed to produce all documents and the Committee issued a subpoena on July 14, 2015.

On October 28, 2015 the Committee sent a letter to Administrator Shelanski, regarding his failure to comply with the congressional subpoena.

The Committee held two separate document production hearings this past January and April, in addition to the Committee’s Government Operations Subcommittee hearing in March.

The Committee issued a final letter requesting documents to Administrator Shelanski on May 18, 2016, more than a year after the initial request was made.

Related Documents

Name Document
Resolution to Hold Howard Shelanski in Contempt Document