"First they ignore you, then they ridicule you, then they fight you, then you win." -- Mahatma Gandhi

Will Senate Democrats Block Confirmation Of NRC Whistleblower, The Only Female NRC Commissioner?

April 20th, 2012 by Mark Truman · 1 Comment

On Wednesday, the AP wrote, “Last December, Kristine Svinicki and other members of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission told Congress that the NRC’s Democratic chairman was an intimidating bully whose actions could compromise the nation’s nuclear safety. The commissioners – two Democrats and two Republicans – said NRC Chairman Gregory Jaczko was responsible for an increasingly tense and unsettled work environment, and that women at the NRC felt particularly threatened. Svinicki, the only woman on the five-member panel, said she was so uncomfortable around Jaczko that she asked her chief of staff to ‘keep watch’ over a private meeting with the chairman in her office.

“Now Republican senators say Svinicki is being targeted by the White House and Democratic leaders in the Senate. Her term expires in June . . . and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid has made it clear he will oppose her. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., took to the Senate floor Wednesday to denounce the ‘curious lack of action’ on Svinicki’s reappointment and called any further delay unacceptable. Svinicki, 45, a nuclear engineer and former Senate GOP aide, is ‘one of the most respected commissioners ever to serve at the NRC,’ McConnell said, noting that the Senate unanimously approved her first nomination in 2008.”

This morning, Reuters reports, “President Barack Obama will renominate Republican Kristine Svinicki to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, defying opposition from Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, a White House official told Reuters on Thursday. Republicans want Svinicki, whose term as a commissioner expires in June, to stay on the panel and believe the process is being held up because she, along with three other commission members, accused the current NRC chairman, a Democrat, of bullying women.”

The important question now is whether Senate Democrats will swiftly confirm Svinicki since a Reuters report yesterday pointed out that Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) “is vehemently opposed to the idea” of Svinicki’s renomination.

Democrats have spent a lot of time recently trying to falsely claim that they are the only party that supports women. Why, then, would they oppose the nomination of an accomplished and respected women who blew the whistle on intimidation of women at the Nuclear Regulatory Commission by the commission’s Democrat chairman, Gregory Jaczko?

Reuters writes, “Last year, Svinicki and the three other commissioners at the NRC – two Democrats, two Republicans – took the unprecedented step of complaining to the White House about the management style of Gregory Jaczko, the NRC chairman. Their concerns were made public in December during hearings on Capitol Hill, where the commissioners accused Jaczko – a former Reid staffer – of berating senior women NRC staff members, bringing them to tears in front of others.” Svinicki told the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee about “the Chairman’s continued outbursts of abusive rage directed at subordinates within the agency’s staff” and emphasized that All members of the Commission, including me, have been on the receiving end of this conduct….”

One of the Democrats on the NRC, William Magwood, told the House committee, Senior female staff at an agency like NRC are smart, tough woman who have succeeded in a male-dominated environment. Enduring this type of abuse and being reduced to tears in front of colleagues and subordinates is a profoundly painful experience for them. The word one woman has used is ‘humiliated.’”

Would Senate Democrats really follow the lead of Harry Reid in opposing the nomination of a courageous whistleblower like Svinicki? As Leader McConnell said this morning, “[T]he only possible reason for this delay is the fact that she had the courage to blow the whistle on the Commission’s chairman, Gregory Jazcko, a guy whose temper and condescension toward subordinates — particularly women — nearly cost him his job. Let’s be clear about this: the only reason we’re even talking about Kristine Svinicki right now is because she had the courage to stand up to a hostile work environment, and to the bully who was responsible for it. She should be applauded for that, not hung out to dry.”

If Svinicki isn’t re-confirmed by the Senate, Leader McConnell said Wednesday, “[W]e will be forced to conclude that the reason is related to her honorable actions as a whistleblower — that she’s being held up in retaliation for speaking up against a rogue chairman who bullies his subordinates.”

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1 response so far ↓

  • 1 Fishwrapped April 20, 2012 | Thudbits // Apr 20, 2012 at 10:44 pm

    [...] Democrat internecine battles  Among others, whistle blower on Nuclear Regulatory Commission, loathed (my word) by Harry Reid, D-NV. [...]

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