Dem Lawmakers Call for Interior Ethics Probe

"A pair of Democratic lawmakers are calling on the Interior Department watchdog to look into ethical concerns involving a number of key agency officials.

Sen. Tom Udall (D-N.M.) and Rep. Betty McCollum (D-Minn.) wrote a letter to Interior’s acting Inspector General Mary Kendall on Friday, asking her office to investigate reports of “ethics irregularities” for senior Interior officials, specifically acting Secretary David Bernhardt.

The letter cited a February New York Time article that found that as deputy secretary, Bernhardt helped push a specific Endangered Species Act policy related to the delta smelt that will directly benefit a former client of his.

Bernhardt, a former lobbyist, previously worked for a group of California farmers who opposed protections on the finger-sized fish in order to gain access to more irrigation water in the state’s central valley. Since working at Interior, Bernhardt has been hard at work to strip those protections, according to the Times."

Miranda Green reports for The Hill March 18, 2019.

Source: The Hill, 03/19/2019