Rep. Doc Hastings (R-WA), chairman of the House Natural Resources Committee, has established a new Office of Oversight and Investigations to keep close tabs on the Interior Department and other agencies over which the panel has jurisdiction.

The office will be staffed with attorneys, investigators and experts on issues related to the committee's jurisdiction. The committee already has recruited Morgan Kim based on her experience as a nonpartisan investigator and prosecutor for the Department of Justice's Inspector General Office, the U.S. Attorney's Office and the House Ethics Committee.

She left her most recent position as deputy chief counsel and director of investigations and enforcement at the House Ethics Committee on March 4 to begin work with the committee's new Oversight and Investigations Office.

"Conducting oversight of the administration and issues under the committee's jurisdiction is one of Chairman Hastings' top priorities, and this newly established Office of Oversight and Investigations will ensure that it is done in a thoughtful and thorough manner," said Committee Chief of Staff Todd Young. He noted that Hastings worked with Kim while serving as the chairman and ranking member of the House ethics panel.

"I don't believe so," said Crystal Feldman, a spokeswoman for the House Energy and Commerce Committee, when asked if the new office of the House Natural Resources Committee would conflict with the duties of the House Energy and Commerce's Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations.

This office "is just for our committee and will address only those areas where we have jurisdiction," such as public lands, mineral resources on public lands and forest reserves, she said.

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