- The Washington Times - Tuesday, January 17, 2012

The chairman of a powerful House oversight committee has asked the director of the National Park Service to testify next Tuesday on the decision-making process behind Occupy D.C.’s camp at McPherson Square.

Park service director Jonathan Jarvis, D.C. Police Chief Cathy L. Lanier and Department of Health Director Mohammad N. Akhter are scheduled to testify before the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee.

The hearing comes more than a month after the committee’s chairman, Rep. Darrell Issa, California Republican, demanded answers as to why the protesters have been allowed to live relatively unbothered in the public park.

Rep. Trey Gowdy, South Carolina Republican and chairman of a subcommittee with oversight of D.C. affairs, said the hearing will focus on the “illegality” of permitting the camping in McPherson Square.

Camping is prohibited, Mr. Gowdy said, “unless it occurs in designated camping areas or is specifically allowed by the National Park. A flier posted and distributed in McPherson Square by the Park Service emphasized that ‘camping is not permitted’ in the park.”

The hearing is scheduled for the same day Mr. Issa set as a deadline for the Interior Department — which oversees the Park Service — to provide answers to a series of questions on whether politics has played into the agency’s decision to let the protesters remain in the park.

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