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House Natural Resources Committee Chairman Doc Hastings (R-Wash.) isn’t convinced the Interior Department’s inspector general has been playing it straight with his panel.

Mary Kendall, the department’s internal watchdog, says she most certainly has.

Hastings this week launched the latest phase of his investigation of the infamous — in energy circles, anyway — May 2010 Interior report that called for the six-month deepwater drilling ban imposed after the BP spill.

The report implied that a panel of outside engineers had endorsed the freeze — they hadn’t — prompting an IG probe that called the error the result of late-night edits by the White House and concluded that Interior hadn’t intended to mislead.

But on Wednesday Hastings questioned whether Kendall, who is Interior’s acting IG, had conducted an impartial probe. He circulated internal Interior emails showing that Kendall was involved with meetings about the development of the report that she later investigated.

“Your apparent involvement … raises new questions about the IG’s independence and impartiality in conducting the investigation of the Drilling Moratorium Report and whether it was appropriate for you to oversee this investigation in the first place or whether you should have disclosed your involvement and recused yourself from all matters concerning the investigation,” Hastings said in a May 22 letter to Kendall that seeks an array of documents.

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