This story may well have slipped under your radar, but if you plan to vote in the U.S.Senate race in Massachusetts later this year and you care about Massachusetts’ history and the unique attributes of its economy, you should take heed: Senator Scott Brown is currently engaged in the most effective direct constituent advocacy we are likely to see this year, on behalf of a struggling Massachusetts industry that desperately needs an effective champion in Washington.
The top-line story is pretty straightforward. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) is responsible for (among many other things) regulating the fishing industry. One of the myriad ways in which NOAA discharges that duty is by levying fines on fishermen who violate regulations. And employees of the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), a division of NOAA, were just caught rigging the federal procurement process to use some of the proceeds of those fines to purchase a pleasure yacht, which was then used to host booze cruises. Here’s the Seattle Times:
Federal fish cops in Seattle bought a $300,000 luxury boat to spy on whale-watching tours – but didn’t go through an appropriate bidding process, held barbecues onboard, ferried friends and family across Puget Sound to restaurants and resorts, and used the boat for what one visitor called “a pleasure cruise.”
When confronted, one federal employee in Seattle misled inspectors about how the vessel was used, and one interfered with federal investigators, according to an internal investigation by the Commerce Department. Those documents were released Friday by U.S. Sen. Scott Brown, R-Mass.
At issue is a 35-foot, 14-passenger boat purchased by federal agents with the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) using money seized from fishermen who violated the law.
Leave aside the ludicrous intended use of the vessel (spying on whale-watching tours??). In fact, the boat was used primarily to ferry NMFS officials and their spouses to seaside dinner locations along the coast of Washington.
So why is this getting any attention? Because Scott Brown is making a pretty loud fuss about it… READ THE REST at CriticalMASS