Carper, committee members unhappy with Paul J. Ray

Today, Sen. Tom Carper, senior Democrat on the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, urged Paul J. Ray, President Trump’s nominee to be Administrator of Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs, to cooperate with relevant Congressional records requests regarding his nomination.

Carper also raised concerns about the potential precedent being set by Mr. Ray’s failure to adequately provide information related to his tenure at OIRA. Throughout the Committee’s vetting process, Mr. Ray has asserted some type of privilege or deferred to the OMB General Counsel more than any past OIRA nominee. In fact, he asserted privilege or deferred to counsel 19 times in his pre-hearing questionnaire responses.

Carper’s remarks follow an unanswered letter he signed onto with his colleagues to Acting Director Vought to OMB urging their cooperation with Congressional records requests regarding the nomination of Mr. Ray to be Administrator of OIRA. In a letter addressed to Acting OMB Director Russell Vought, the Senators raised serious concerns about Mr. Ray’s failure to adequately respond to multiple inquiries related to his tenure at OIRA and provide information that is critical to a full and fair evaluation of Mr. Ray’s record and qualifications for the position.

OIRA is the office within the Office of Management and Budget charged with reviewing of Executive Branch regulations, approving government information collections, establishing government statistical practices, and coordinating federal privacy policy, which includes review of additions to the census. Mr. Ray has presided over or been involved with dozens of controversial rulemaking decisions in the past year and a half in which he has worked at OIRA.

“The Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee is an oversight committee. We do oversight over the whole federal government. That’s the responsibility of this committee. The only way we can do our jobs effectively is to make sure that folks like you, if you’re confirmed, are forthcoming -- not asking for privilege and not declining to provide us with critical information we need to fully evaluate your record and qualifications,” said Senator Carper. “Eventually we’re going to have an election, who knows who is going to win next time, who is going to be in the majority, or who is going to be in the administration. But this could come back to bite folks on both sides of the aisle. Now, I know our chairman cares a lot about oversight and wants to make sure that this committee gets the information it needs. One of my concerns is that when you have a nominee who is not being especially forthcoming and cites privilege nineteen times -- which I think is more than anybody ever -- will that nominee, if confirmed, be any more forthcoming once they are confirmed in that position? That is a matter of great concern for me and I think it should be for all of us.”