Acting Labor Secretary Julie Su was subpoenaed by Rep. Virginia Foxx (R-N.C.) on Tuesday over potential misuse of taxpayer funds as part of an investigation by the House Education and the Workforce Committee.
Foxx alleges that the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s (OSHA) “Workers’ Voice Summit,” held in September 2022, was a political event and should not have been funded with taxpayer dollars.
The subpoena demands Su attend a Dec. 6 hearing of the committee as part of the investigation.
OSHA said the summit “focused on trends affecting workers and the need to foster open dialogue to identify workplace problems and find solutions.”
In a letter accompanying the subpoena, Foxx wrote that the summit “seemed more akin to a political pep rally than a legitimate use of taxpayer funds,” and that the Department of Labor has been “dismissive” of her and the committee’s concerns.
“The Committee is asking for simple answers from OSHA and Acting Secretary Su,” Foxx wrote in a statement. “The fact that the Committee must issue a subpoena to compel the agency to do its job and be forthcoming is outrageous.”
“That kind of behavior may fly in the Biden administration but not here. Every taxpayer dollar must be accounted for and used appropriately, and we will not rest until our questions are sufficiently answered,” she continued.
A Labor Department spokesperson contested Foxx’s framing of the summit as political and said the department has properly cooperated with the committee’s requests for information.
“We are baffled as to why the Committee has opted to issue a subpoena over an event that was publicized by the Department and covered by press outlets and participating organizations, including in summaries and blog posts on the Department’s official webpage,” the spokesperson said in a statement to The Hill.
“Far from being a ‘political rally,’ this event offered OSHA – the agency responsible for worker health and safety – an opportunity to hear from workers about health and safety issues.”
Updated: 5:05 p.m.