August 29, 2018 Press Release

Watchdog Group Launches Six-Figure Ad Buy Demanding Rep. Greg Walden Take Action on Family Separation Crisis

Despite overwhelming bipartisan support from his constituents for Congress to act on this issue, Walden has done next to nothing

08.29.18 - Starting tomorrow, Equity Forward Action will run a TV ad, “One Hour,” with a six-figure ad buy in Oregon calling on Representative Greg Walden (OR-02) to investigate the family separation crisis and hold the administration responsible for its reckless behavior.

The ad hits the airwaves as Walden continues to dodge his duties to conduct oversight of the administration in its failure to reunite hundreds of children who remain separated from their families.  Walden chairs the powerful Energy & Commerce Committee, and despite holding wide reaching oversight powers, he has done next to nothing to hold the administration accountable. Months after the crisis began, Walden sent a letter to Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Alex Azar requesting information on separated children in custody, but has failed to exercise the most basic form of oversight: a congressional hearing.

Watch the ad HERE.

“As the chair of one of the most powerful committees in Washington, Representative Greg Walden’s response to the child separation crisis is nothing short of a failure in leadership,” said Mary Alice Carter, Executive Director of Equity Forward Action.  

“Atop his perch as Energy & Commerce chair, Walden has produced no real results and refuses to use his power to hold the administration accountable for cruelly separating these families.  Hundreds of children could be orphaned and it is up to leaders like Walden to get to the bottom of what happened.  His constituents and these families demand and deserve answers.”

Walden’s committee has direct oversight responsibilities of HHS and its Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR), the entities responsible for caring for and housing the children separated from their families.  

Additional Background:

Equity Forward sent a letter to the Energy & Commerce Committee last week calling on its members to use their authority to conduct oversight hearings and specifically require HHS Secretary Alex Azar and ORR Director Scott Lloyd to answer for their roles in the crisis.  Not only has Walden failed to conduct any meaningful oversight of HHS and ORR during the crisis or held one hearing — despite requests from his Democratic colleagues — he also has yet to respond the letter.

Equity Forward Action launched today’s ad buy after conducting polling of Walden’s  constituents’ views on the Trump Administration’s child separation crisis and Congress’ role in holding the administration accountable for the policy.   Half of his constituents (49%) say Walden has not done enough on the issue and two-thirds of voters (68%) in the district say they want Congress to act by increasing the accountability and transparency of the agencies and officials overseeing the separated children.

Equity Forward Action is also launching a similar ad in Washington tomorrow calling on Representative Cathy McMorris Rodgers — who also sits on the Energy & Commerce committee with Representative Walden — to investigate the family separation crisis.  These ads are part of more than a million-dollar campaign by Equity Forward and Equity Forward Action to hold HHS and the administration accountable for the child separation crisis. The campaign has included numerous polls and ads in key members’ Districts, including Representatives Pete Sessions (TX-32)Carlos Curbelo (FL-26) and Leonard Lance (NJ-07).