House GOP probes monkey smuggling case, suggests wrongdoing

By Michael Doyle, Garrett Downs | 06/07/2024 01:47 PM EDT

The investigation could affect pending prosecutions and a top White House nominee.

Rep. Paul Gosar (R-Ariz.).

Rep. Paul Gosar (R-Ariz.), chair of the Natural Resources Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations, is questioning the administration over a monkey smuggling operation. Francis Chung/POLITICO

A high-profile monkey-smuggling case that led to a stunning courtroom loss for U.S. prosecutors is now the target of a House committee investigation.

Three months after a Florida jury acquitted a Cambodian environmental official of wildlife smuggling charges, Republicans on the House Natural Resources Committee on Thursday kicked off their own probe by blasting questions at the Fish and Wildlife Service.

“The behaviors of Service employees and contractors during the service’s internal investigation raise serious concerns regarding waste, fraud, and abuse of taxpayer funds,” committee Chair Bruce Westerman (R-Ark.) and Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee Chair Paul Gosar (R-Ariz.) wrote.


Westerman and Gosar home in on the service’s use of a paid informant, Francis Yeung, and the agency’s alleged decision to forgo the typical processes of investigating illegal animal smuggling.