In the News

Biden Environmental Appointee Faces Conflict of Interest Scrutiny on Hill

Matthew Foldi, The Washington Free Beacon

House Republicans have joined a watchdog complaint against the acting director of the Bureau of Land Management, questioning whether the former environmental activist has improperly given favor to her former employees.

Following a Monday complaint by Protect the Public’s Trust regarding acting director Nada Culver’s implementation of her former employer’s policy agenda, Reps. Bruce Westerman (R., Ark.) and Paul Gosar (R., Ariz.) wrote to the Department of the Interior’s ethics office requesting further information about any conflicts of interest.

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Congressmen Probe BLM Leader’s Potential Conflicts

Scott Streater, E&E News

Specifically, the watchdog group, Protect the Public’s Trust, asked Interior Inspector General Mark Greenblatt to probe Culver’s involvement in the Interior Department’s decision last April to impose a two-year moratorium on five public lands orders signed by former Interior Secretary David Bernhardt that proposed to open about 28 million acres of federal lands in Alaska to mining and oil and gas development. Audubon Alaska was part of a coalition of groups that petitioned Bernhardt in October 2020 not to open the public lands to development.

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Top Biden Official Promoting Policy Agenda of Former Employer, Ethics Watchdog Says

Group calls for investigation of Bureau of Land Management acting director Nada Culver

Matthew Foldi, The Washington Free Beacon

A watchdog group is sounding the alarm that a top Biden administration official is doing the bidding of her former employer while working in the highest levels of the administration.

Nada Culver, who is serving as acting director of the Bureau of Land Management, has taken the lead for the administration on the issue of banning drilling in Alaska. The policy initiative is one of the primary goals of Culver’s previous employer, the National Audubon Society, prompting a watchdog to ask the agency’s inspector general to look into whether Culver may be violating both the Biden administration’s ethics pledge and federal law.

“Upon arriving at [Bureau of Land Management], Culver quickly advanced the very actions sought by her former employer,” Protect the Public’s Trust said in a statement on its letter to the agency. “Absent a waiver from Department ethics officials, this would appear to violate federal ethics laws as well as the Biden Ethics Pledge, which bars political appointees from participating in particular matters related to their former employers and clients.”

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Watchdog calls for probe into Bureau of Land Management official for possible ethics violations

The watchdog says the official’s actions may have violated federal ethics laws and Biden’s ethics pledge.

Nicholas Sherman, Just the News

A political ethics watchdog on Monday called for an Office of the Inspector General to look into possible ethics violations by a Bureau of Land Management official.

Protect the Public’s Trust, an ethics watchdog, is asking for the investigation of Bureau of Land Management Deputy Director of Policy and Programs Nada Culver. The group alleges Culver participated in matters related to Public Land Orders that may have violated federal ethics laws.

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Group urges IG to investigate BLM official

Scott Streater, E&E News

A recently formed nonprofit watchdog group is asking the Interior Department’s inspector general to investigate whether the Bureau of Land Management’s current top official skirted ethics rules in the recent decision to pause a series of public lands orders in Alaska.

At issue is whether Nada Culver, BLM’s deputy director of policy and programs who is temporarily leading the bureau, participated in the April decision to impose a two-year moratorium on five public lands orders signed by former Interior Secretary David Bernhardt in January that proposed to open about 28 million acres of federal lands in Alaska to mining and oil and gas development.

Protect the Public’s Trust — in an investigation request sent today to Interior IG Mark Greenblatt and Heather Gottry, Interior’s designated agency ethics official — asserts that Culver may have had a conflict of interest if she was involved in the delay decision.

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Klein’s conflicts of interest as DOI lawyer ‘raise serious red flags,’ says Protect the Public’s Trust

Timothy Stuckey, Centennial State News

Protect the Public’s Trust, a watchdog organization, has identified what it claims are ethical concerns involving the Department of the Interior’s Senior Counselor to the Secretary Elizabeth Klein, and has called on the department to provide public records regarding these issues.

According to Protect the Public’s Trust, Klein’s work at the State Energy & Environmental Impact Center (SEEIC) may conflict with positions she may take on problems involving states as parties.

“The Biden Administration promised the American public ‘the most ethically vigorous administration in history,” Director of Protect the Public’s Trust Michael Chamberlain said on the group’s website. “The American public should be able to trust that the conduct of high-level officials will be consistent with that promise. In light of the Biden Ethics Pledge’s ‘Revolving Door Ban’ it is difficult to reconcile Ms. Klein’s involvement with any of the more than 130 matters or the one-third of U.S. states the State Energy & Environmental Impact Center involved itself with during her tenure. The absence of a publicly available ethics waiver for Ms. Klein as well as the Department’s unwillingness to provide her recusal documents raise serious red flags.”

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Congressmen continue campaign against top Haaland aide

Emma Dumain, E&E News

The Biden administration pulled Elizabeth Klein’s nomination to be deputy Interior secretary months ago amid controversy, but congressional Republicans are still targeting her for her past positions and advocacy.

This morning, three Republicans on the House Natural Resources Committee wrote to Klein, now a senior counselor to Secretary Deb Haaland at Interior, and Heather Gottry, the designated ethics official at the agency, demanding the release of the list of agencies, individuals and issues on which Klein has agreed to recuse herself in official dealings.

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“In light of the Biden Ethics Pledge’s ‘Revolving Door Ban’ it is difficult to reconcile Ms. Klein’s involvement with any of the more than 130 matters or the one-third of U.S. states the State Energy & Environmental Impact Center involved itself with during her tenure,” said Michael Chamberlain, the group’s director.

“The absence of a publicly available ethics waiver for Ms. Klein as well as the Department’s unwillingness to provide her recusal documents raise serious red flags,” he said.

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Union lobbyists land administration posts with ethics waivers

“Does government really work for the public, or does it work for these large well-entrenched insider interests in Washington?” asks government ethics watchdog with Protect the Public’s Trust.

Sophie Mann, Just the News

The Biden Administration has granted nine ethics waivers for executive branch officials with ties to big labor and other organizations that would typically prevent them from interacting with their former employers from their new government perches.

Exemptions are made in every administration, but it is important to stay abreast of exactly who the beneficiaries of the waived standards are and why, according to Michael Chamberlain, director of Protect the Public’s Trust, a new government ethics watchdog group.

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