In the News

Watchdog group criticizes potential conflicts of two recent EPA appointments

Valerie Bonk, Washington DC Business Daily

A watchdog organization is questioning the potential conflicts of interest of two new additions to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.  

Protect the Public’s Trust said in a news release July 7 that Alejandra Nunez and Dimple Chaudhary are the latest executive branch officials to appear on the organization’s radar because they came to the EPA from large special interest groups “involved in broad swaths of litigation and challenges against EPA.”

“In light of their most recent positions with large, wealthy and powerful special interest groups engaged in a massive quantity of matters with the EPA, the roles of Ms. Chaudhary and Ms. Nunez would appear to create enormous potential conflicts of interest,” Michael Chamberlain, director of federal ethics, said in the organization’s news release.

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Congressmen say DOE official may have violated ethics pledge

Jeremy Dillon, E&E News

A trio of Republicans said the acting head of the Department of Energy’s Office of Energy Efficiency & Renewable Energy potentially violated her ethics pledge through the promotion of energy storage technology.

The allegations from Rep. Ralph Norman (R-S.C.), ranking member on the the House Oversight and Reform Subcommittee on Environment, against acting Assistant Secretary for EERE Kelly Speakes-Backman come as the department’s leadership seeks to follow through on its promise to find technological solutions to decarbonize the grid.

Norman’s letter to Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm alleges that Speakes-Backman is improperly using her leadership position to advocate for policies that advance energy storage in line with her previous job as CEO of the Energy Storage Association, the D.C.-based group representing the technologies.

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Oversight Members Outline ‘Pattern of Ethical Issues’ at Granholm’s Energy Department

Matthew Foldi, Washington Free Beacon

The questions on Speakes-Backman stem from a complaint by watchdog group Protect the Public’s Trust. The group in May submitted a formal complaint to the Energy Department’s general counsel, alleging that a series of Speakes-Backman’s speeches sponsored by donors of the Energy Storage Association “suggest a pattern of advancing the interests of her former employers and potentially endorsing them.”

The watchdog said Speakes-Backman’s disregard for oversight is “disturbing” and starts “from the top” with Granholm.

“When given the opportunity to provide documents demonstrating compliance, the department remained silent and has refused to provide the requested public records,” Michael Chamberlain, the group’s director, told the Washington Free Beacon. “All of this is part of a troubling pattern that seemingly flows down from the top. We applaud the Committee for raising these important questions, particularly in the wake of Secretary Granholm’s refusal to divest of her seven-figure Proterra stock options while the Administration was promoting the company.”

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Group questions Beaudreau’s ability to guide Interior’s agenda ‘while still fulfilling his ethics obligations’

Federal watchdog group Protect the Public Trust is questioning the recent appointment of the Department of the Interior’s new deputy secretary.

Andy Nghiem, Interior Newswire

Federal watchdog group Protect the Public’s Trust is questioning the recent appointment of the Department of the Interior’s new deputy secretary.

“As Tommy Beaudreau makes yet another pass through the D.C. revolving door, a number of questions arise,” Protect the Public’s Trust Director Michael Chamberlain said in a press release, as reported by Just the News. “The American public rightly demands that high-ranking government officials serve the public interest, not their former clients. With the depth and breadth of Mr. Beaudreau’s entanglements with offshore wind firms, we all have to wonder how he will be able to lead the department’s work while still fulfilling his ethics obligations.”

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Biden’s BLM Nominee Allegedly Lied to Congress on Being Investigated in an Eco-Terrorism Case

Veronika Kyrylenko, The New American

Earlier in June, Stone-Manning was accused by watchdog group Protect the Public’s Trust of violating federal law with her allegedly untruthful response to the question of whether she was ever the subject of an investigation. The group sent a complaint to the U.S. Attorney’s Office that reads:

Common sense and publicly available facts point to the conclusion Ms. Stone-Manning was under investigation for her role in the tree-spiking eco-terrorism plot…. Further, she was aware of the need to cooperate with the authorities to avoid federal indictment and/or prison.

The complaint added that it is irrelevant whether she was ultimately charged or convicted in the case: “She was being investigated by federal authorities in the tree spiking case, and the fact of her immunity undeniably reinforces this point.”

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Report: Biden nominee locked access to her college thesis calling for anti-child population control

Scott A. Davis, Law Enforcement Today

President Joe Biden’s nominee to head the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) who called for population control and called American children an “environmental hazard” in her master’s thesis requested access to the paper be locked.

Protect the Public’s Trust, a government watchdog group, filed a complaint on Tuesday with the acting U.S. Attorney for the District of Columbia against Stone-Manning, asking for an investigation into whether she violated federal law by providing false information to Congress.

The group said in a statement:

“In answering the committee’s official questionnaire, Ms. Stone-Manning appears to have knowingly and willfully concealed or covered up a material fact in order to deceive the U.S. Senate and the American public about the true nature of her involvement in an eco-terrorism case.

“She was granted immunity for her testimony in the case that resulted in at least one individual serving prison time. The facts, including as revealed by a U.S. Attorney and Ms. Stone-Manning’s previous assertions, warrant a full investigation.”

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Fauci Hit with Hatch Act Complaint

Peter Roff, American Action News

Dr. Anthony Fauci, the man many consider to be the public face of the U.S. government’s fight against the COVID virus, now stands accused of violating a federal law prohibiting certain government employees from engaging in activities and making statements intended to influence the electorate.

Protect the Public’s Trust, a government watchdog organization, said in a June 30 filing that Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, ran afoul of Hatch Act restrictions during an October 30, 2020 interview with The Washington Post in which he “intimated that the state of the nation’s public health outlook could be directly linked to the two candidates’ diverse approaches” to combating the spread of the novel coronavirus.

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EPA’s web of conflicts with climate groups forces ethics waiver for one official

Agency concluded politically appointed lawyer could participate in cases involving ex-client despite conflict, because other appointees already recused.

John Solomon, Just the News

The revolving door between climate change special interests and the Biden Environmental Protection Agency has swung open so often in recent months that the agency is being forced to grant an ethics waiver to one of its politically appointed lawyers allowing her to participate in cases involving a former client.

The reason? The other political appointees in the EPA office of general counsel (OGC) already have conflicts of interests that forced recusals, leaving the agency without someone to provide legal advice to the administration, according to new government memos unearthed by the citizen watchdog group Protect the Public’s Trust.

The limited conflict of interest waiver allows EPA Deputy General Counsel Marianne Engelman-Lado to participate in decisions involving one of her former environmental group clients, the National Resources Defense Council (NRDC).

“This situation is emblematic of what is happening in so many agencies across the administration,” [PPT Director Michael Chamberlain] told Just the News. “They filled leadership positions with activists from advocacy organizations that challenged virtually every action of the previous administration. The miasma of conflicts this has created in some cases is so thick they have to seek waivers from ethics commitments just to perform basic functions.”

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Protect the Public’s Trust demands investigation of BLM official for action that ‘raises serious questions’ about potential conflict of interest

Watchdog organization Protect the Public’s Trust is calling for the investigation of a top Bureau of Land Management (BLM) official.

Andy Nghiem, Interior Newswire

Watchdog organization Protect the Public’s Trust (PPT) is calling for the investigation of a top Bureau of Land Management (BLM) official.

Protect the Public’s Trust recently called attention to a BLM official allegedly promoting the policies of a former employer, a potential conflict of interest in violation of federal ethics laws and/or the Biden Ethics Pledge.

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