Congressman Asks Why Occupy Protesters Allowed to Camp at McPherson Square

Issa expresses concern for new grass, landscaping

By BEN NUCKOLS
|  Tuesday, Dec 13, 2011  |  Updated 5:46 PM EDT
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Occupying Wall Street and Beyond: May Day Protests

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Dozens of personal tents set up in McPherson Square as part of the Occupy DC and demonstration a few blocks north of the White House.

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A leading House Republican asked Interior Secretary Ken Salazar to explain why Occupy D.C. protesters have been allowed to camp in Washington's McPherson Square.

In a letter to Salazar, Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Calif., said that the square recently underwent a taxpayer-funded, $400,000 renovation that included new grass and landscaping.

Issa, who chairs the Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, claims that much of the grass has been “damaged or destroyed” by the protest.

Camping is prohibited on National Park Service property, but the Park Service has said a “24-hour vigil” is allowed. Issa is asking Salazar to explain the difference.

U.S. Park Police are working to ensure that the Occupy protests are safe and legal, Interior spokesman Adam Fetcher said. The department is reviewing the letter.

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