The nonprofit organization Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, or CREW, wants an ethics investigation of U.S. Rep. Randy Neugebauer, R-Texas, claiming the congressman violated House of Representatives rules when he berated a National Park Service ranger who was “just doing her job” guarding the shuttered World War II memorial.
A YouTube video of Neugebauer’s verbal attack on the ranger Tuesday showed the congressman was angered that the World War II memorial was closed during the government shutdown and took out his ire on her. (Scroll down to view the video.)
“How do you deny [the public] access? I don’t get that,” Neugebauer said.
After the ranger said it is difficult telling people the memorial is closed, the congressman responded, “Parks Service should be ashamed of themselves.”
Neugebauer said he was angered at President Barack Obama and the ranger’s agency, not at the employee herself, and that the viral clip is out of context.
“My beef wasn’t with the park ranger,” the congressman told the Lubbock Avalanche-Journal on Friday. “My beef is with the Park Service and with the administration.”
CREW Executive Director Melanie Sloan sent a letter to the House Office of Congressional Ethics on Friday, calling for an investigation of Neugebauer.
“Obviously, the Park Police employee had no role whatsoever in the decision to shut down the federal government,” Sloan wrote. “Instead, as is well recognized, the shutdown was forced by members of the House of Representatives, including Rep. Neugebauer, who have refused to vote for a resolution to fund government operations unless the president acquiesces to an ever-changing series of demands, the most recent of which was a delay in the implementation of the Affordable Care Act.”
Sloan said the Texas congressman’s behavior violated House Rule 23. The provision requires House members to conduct themselves “at all times in a manner that reflects creditably on the House.”
Sloan added: “Rep. Neugebauer abused his position as a member of the House by publicly assailing a federal employee who was acting in accordance with the will of the House. He also attempted to use his position to coerce the ranger to allow access to the memorial despite the fact that federal law requires its closure.”
CREW asked that the incident involving Neugebauer be forwarded to the House Ethics Committee “for appropriate action.”