NGI The Weekly Gas Market Report / NGI All News Access

Richardson Sworn in as DOE Secretary

August 24, 1998
/ Print
| Share More
/ Text Size+

Richardson Sworn in as DOE Secretary

Bill Richardson was sworn in as the new energy secretary last Tuesday, one day after Senate Energy Committee Chairman Frank Murkowski (R-AK) cleared him of allegations that he may have misled Congress when testifying during his confirmation hearing last month about a job offer he made to former White House intern Monica S. Lewinsky.

Richardson will take over at the Department of Energy (DOE) today, but also will continue as U.S. ambassador to the United Nations for a short period due to urgent international matters, according to a department spokeswoman. Richardson has asked Deputy Energy Secretary Elizabeth Moler, who had been acting secretary in the interim, to remain at DOE, but she reaffirmed her plans to depart this fall. "Moler told the White House in June that she would leave. She has committed, however, to stay long enough to ensure a smooth transition" at the department, the spokeswoman said. A successor to Moler, former chair at FERC, has not been announced.

Richardson was sworn in one day after Murkowski informed President Clinton by letter that a bipartisan investigation "found no basis to believe that Ambassador Richardson had misled the committee in any way." The Senate leader also wrote a similar letter to Richardson.

At his confirmation hearing for the energy post in late July, Richardson testified he offered Lewinsky a $30,000-a-year position in November 1997, but that she turned it down. He told the committee that the position was not specially created for her.

The full Senate subsequently approved Richardson's confirmation, but Murkowski urged the White House to delay the swearing-in while his panel investigated a Washington Times report that Richardson did not have an opening on his staff when he offered the 25-year-old Lewinsky the job, that he gave Lewinsky "special treatment," and that he took steps to conceal his actions when news of Clinton's relationship with Lewinsky first appeared last January.

In the end, "we found no credible evidence" to support the Washington Times' allegations that Richardson intentionally misled Congress while under oath, committee investigators told Murkowski and other committee members in an Aug. 17th memo. "To the contrary, we found clear and convincing evidence corroborating the ambassador's testimony."

Murkowski told Clinton that he accepted the findings of the bi-partisan staff and supported Richardson as energy secretary.

Susan Parker

©Copyright 1998 Intelligence Press, Inc. All rights reserved. The preceding news report may not be republished or redistributed in whole or in part without prior written consent of Intelligence Press, Inc.

ISSN © 2577-9877 | ISSN © 1532-1266
Comments powered by Disqus