With Nation Transfixed by Impeachment, Trump Admin Quietly Serves Offshore Drilling Companies a 'Sweetheart Giveaway'
By Andrea Germanos
Interior Secretary David Bernhardt was condemned Monday for a proposed policy shift on offshore drilling panned as a "sweetheart giveaway" for a former client.
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The Trump administration is rolling back protections for endangered California fish species, a move long sought by a group of wealthy farmers that Interior Secretary David Bernhardt continued to lobby for months before he began working for the administration, The New York Times reported Tuesday.
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An advisory panel appointed by Trump's first Secretary of the Interior, Ryan Zinke, has recommended privatizing National Parks campgrounds, allowing food trucks in and setting up WiFi at campgrounds while also reducing benefits to seniors, according to the panel's memo.
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Ethics investigations have been opened into the conduct of senior Trump appointees at the nation's top environmental agencies.
The two investigations focus on Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Andrew Wheeler and six high-ranking officials in the Department of Interior (DOI), The Hill reported Tuesday. Both of them involve the officials' former clients or employers.
"This is demonstrative of the failures at the very top of this administration to set an ethical tone," Campaign Legal Center Ethics Counsel Delaney Marsco told The Washington Post of the DOI investigation. "When people come to work for government, they're supposed to work on behalf of the public. It's a betrayal of the public trust when senior political appointees seem to give privileged access to their former employers or former clients."
Federal law requires officials to disclose any client over the past two years that paid them more than $5,000 ...Andrew Wheeler apparently failed to disclose a former lobbying client that paid him more than $5,000https://thehill.com/policy/energy-environment/440299-epa-administrator-failed-to-disclose-former-lobbying-client …<p>Here is a brief outline of officials implicated in the most recent investigation, as summarized in <a href="https://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/entry/ethics-investigation-interior-department_n_5cbf32e5e4b0f7a84a759984?guccounter=1&guce_referrer=aHR0cHM6Ly93d3cuaHVmZnBvc3QuY29tL2ltcGFjdC9ncmVlbg&guce_referrer_sig=AQAAALOPI_bMZEKXLvmbyrkz104m7wafK7jd3E8lhCu6PJbAbUlPhSAd3cC_bdeM8WrHgS_85EAeXA4rG2HS9uO15eVgC6kyRhn-jEAV1GGwR6IdZv2_cv_aJyhzZnHyXhFy3jdOhLLS71UEIdw4hMu2HTEE1HNAt54q_jWoxtvZDBVZ" target="_blank">The Huffington Post</a>.</p><ol><li>White House liaison Lori Mashburn, who attended two private events hosted by her former employer and right-wing think tank the Heritage Foundation</li><li>Senior Deputy Director for Intergovernmental and External Affairs. Ben Cassidy, who participated in agency meetings on issues he had lobbied the department about on behalf of the National Rifle Association, including <a href="https://www.ecowatch.com/tag/trophy-hunting" target="_self">trophy hunting</a> and the designation of <a href="http://www.ecowatch.com/tag/national-monuments" target="_self">national monuments</a></li><li>Assistant Secretary for Insular and International Affairs Doug Domenech, who met with his former employers, a Koch-link think tank called the Texas Public Policy Foundation, about issues over which the foundation was suing DOI</li><li>Former Energy Counselor to Zinke Vincent DeVito, who attended a meeting with a former energy client</li><li>Deputy Director of Interior's Office of Intergovernmental and External Affairs Timothy Williams, who participated in a video call with his former employer, who is vice president of the Koch-funded Americans for Prosperity</li><li>Director of Interior's External Affairs Office Todd Wynn, who had a phone call with a committee member of the oil-funded Council of State Governments, of which he had also been a committee member before taking the DOI job</li></ol><p>"An agency's ethical culture depends on ethical leadership. Former Secretary Ryan Zinke and Secretary David Bernhardt, now under investigation himself for ethics violations, have failed to demonstrate adequate ethical behavior at the top of Interior," Matsco said in a statement reported by The Huffington Post. "We hope this investigation will answer whether these officials are working on behalf of the American people or on behalf of the interests that used to pay their salary."</p><div id="c3b31" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="UI9LZD1568219117"><blockquote class="twitter-tweet twitter-custom-tweet" data-twitter-tweet-id="1121489365081968642" data-partner="rebelmouse"><div style="margin:1em 0">Federal law requires officials to disclose any client over the past two years that paid them more than $5,000 ...A… https://t.co/eyGYPLO60e</div> — Citizens for Ethics (@Citizens for Ethics)<a href="https://twitter.com/CREWcrew/statuses/1121489365081968642">1556218875.0</a></blockquote></div>
The Senate voted to confirm former oil-and-gas lobbyist David Bernhardt as Secretary of the Interior Thursday, despite calls from Democrats and government watchdogs to investigate his past conduct, The New York Times reported.
By Jessica Corbett
Environmental activists are calling on senators to reject the nomination of former fossil fuel lobbyist David Bernhardt to lead the U.S. Department of the Interior.
Acting Interior Secretary David Bernhardt, who faces a Senate confirmation hearing Thursday after President Donald Trump nominated him to head Interior permanently, acted to block a report that found that two pesticides "jeopardize the continued existence" of more than 1,200 endangered species, according to documents obtained by The New York Times and the Center for Biological Diversity (CBD).
Trump Nominates ‘Walking Conflict of Interest’ David Bernhardt to Permanently Replace Zinke as Interior Secretary
President Donald Trump officially nominated David Bernhardt—a former energy lobbyist environmental groups have described as a "walking conflict of interest"—to officially take over as interior secretary after Ryan Zinke stepped down in December 2018 following various scandals.
Hats off to Delta Air Lines. The company's charitable arm awarded the National Park Service an $83,500 grant to help reopen the Martin Luther King Jr. National Historical Park in Atlanta from Jan. 19 through Feb. 3 in honor of Dr. King's legacy.
The Atlanta-based airline was inspired to act after learning that some of the park's sites, including Dr. King's birth home, Ebenezer Baptist Church, Fire Station No. 6 and the visitor center, were closed due to the partial government shutdown, now on its 28th day, according to LinkedIn post from Delta Air Lines CEO Ed Bastian.
By Emilie Karrick Surrusco
As 2019 begins, it's out with the old and in with the same old, same old. Scandal-ridden Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke released a brief farewell letter Wednesday in red marker. With Zinke's successor not yet named, David Bernhardt becomes acting secretary. The move swaps out one political insider closely aligned with deep-pocketed special interests for another.
Bernhardt, who became deputy secretary of the Department of Interior in August 2017, is "a walking conflict of interest" who served as the Interior Department's top lawyer under George W. Bush—and went on to a lucrative career as a legal adviser for timber companies, mining companies and oil and gas interests. Since returning to the Interior Department under Trump, he has quietly implemented policy decisions that benefit his former corporate polluter clients.