Protect the Public’s Trust Applauds Watchdog Group For Raising Ethics Concerns Over Haaland’s Top Lawyer

Elizabeth Klein helped run the Bloomberg-funded activist operation that used state Attorneys General to bring environmental litigation, raising serious ethics questions

Today, Protect the Public’s Trust applauded Energy Policy Advocates for raising important questions to ethics officials at the Department of the Interior regarding massive conflicts of interest concerns with Secretary Haaland’s appointment of Elizabeth Klein to serve as Senior Counselor to the Secretary.

“When you truly dig into the number of matters Klein would be prohibited from working on, it is mind-blowing. Such a massive recusal might be without precedent. If Klein was fully transparent with the Ethics office, this documentation should be readily available. It also means Klein should have a lot of free time on her hands.” said Clay Sutton, spokesman for Protect the Public’s Trust, a non-profit organization focused on corruption in government.

The documentation developed by Energy Policy Advocates supports previous reports that Klein is a walking conflict of Interest. Based on these records, it appears she would be prohibited from working on any matter involving as many as a third of US states, who maintained an attorney relationship with her former employer.

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BACKGROUND INFORMATION

If provided by the Department of the Interior, the records requested will likely assist the public in learning the answers to the following five questions:  

  1. Did Klein inform the Department of the Interior’s Ethics office of the reality that she and her former employer served as attorneys for a multitude of states?
  2. Did Ethics officials provide written recusal guidance to Klein?
  3. If so, has Klein distributed her written recusal guidance to various offices that deal with the Counselor to the Secretary to ensure proper screening?
  4. Has Klein participated in any deliberation, decision, or action related to any of the approximately 17 states who were her former employer’s client?
  5. Has Elizabeth Klein complied with her ethics obligations?
    1. To comply with the Biden Ethics Pledge, and specifically his Revolving Door policy, Elizabeth Klein may not participate in any matter involving specific parties that is directly and substantially related to her former employer or her former clients for a period of two years.