Watchdogs question whether Klein got ‘backdoor workaround’ on ethics waiver at Interior

Juliette Fairley, Legal Newsline

Energy Policy Advocates says that emails it has obtained through Freedom of Information litigation appear to show an “appointee-friendly” approach was used to approve an ethics waiver for Interior Department senior counselor Elizabeth Klein, whose past climate advocacy took positions adverse to the Department.

The U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia recently ruled for EPA, ordering Interior to provide all responsive documents until processing is complete. 

“As glad as we are breaking through the stonewall that the Interior erected when faced with requests for public records, the documents released and Interior’s withholding of attachments to the emails, appear to raise more questions rather than providing any answers,” said Robert Schilling, EPA executive director, in a joint press release with another watchdog group, Protect the Public Trust (PPT). 

“The Biden Administration is touting itself as the most ethical in history, but the Department of the Interior certainly doesn’t appear to have gotten that message,” stated Michael Chamberlain, director of PPT. “From the beginning of this administration they’ve been acting as if they have something to hide and, with the documents EPA was able to obtain after filing suit, it appears they probably do.”

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