NATIONAL REVIEW ONLINE
March 10, 2014 2:45 PM
Park Service Knew World War II Veterans Would Be Locked Out
Internal e-mails reveal Interior feared being blamed, bent rules for its own staff.
By Jillian Kay Melchior
The Department of the Interior knew beforehand that two groups of aging veterans would be visiting the World War II Memorial as the partial government shutdown began on Oct. 1 but decided to barricade the site anyway, according to e-mails obtained by National Review Online.
The newly released public records also show National Park Service employees busily monitoring the news for any bad publicity and making shutdown exceptions for their co-workers.
On Sept. 30, staff from the offices of Senator Tom Harkin (D., Iowa) and Representative Steven Palazzo (R., Miss.) contacted the Department of the Interior’s Office of Congressional Affairs, as well as the National Park Service’s Washington Office and at least one regional office.
Tom Buttry, a legislative correspondent in Harkin’s office, wrote on Sept. 30:
While I understand that these memorials have remained accessible to the public during past shutdowns (I’d imagine with the mall being so open, it’d probably [be] more manpower intensive to try to completely close them), I wanted to do my due diligence and make 100 percent sure that people could visit the outdoor memorials on the National Mall in the event of a shutdown.