Interior Department

Watchdog Again Calls for Investigation of David Bernhardt’s Former Lobbying Firm for Lobbying Disclosure Violations

On May 14, 2019, CfA called on the Secretary of the Senate and the Clerk of the House of Representatives to investigate the lobbying firm Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck, LLP and one of its lobbyists, Luke Johnson, for possible violations of the Lobbying Disclosure Act in connection with their representation of Northeast Maglev, a company seeking to build a high-speed train along the Northeast Corridor.

Interior IG to Review CfA’s Request for Investigation into Acting Secretary Bernhardt’s Relationship with Former Client

On April 2, 2019, CfA announced that the Office of Inspector General at the U.S. Department of the Interior confirmed it is reviewing CfA’s request for investigation into Acting Interior Secretary David Bernhardt and his relationship with his former lobbying client, Westlands Water District, an agricultural conglomerate in California.

Interior’s watchdog opens an ethics probe into Bernhardt four days after his Senate confirmation

"In a letter to the executive director of one of the groups, the Campaign for Accountability, Inspector General Mary L. Kendall wrote that her office 'received seven complaints, including yours, from a wide assortment of complainants alleging various conflict of interest and other violations by then deputy secretary of the interior, David Bernhardt.'"

David Bernhardt confirmed as Interior secretary despite ethics concerns

"In 2017, [...] Campaign for Accountability filed a complaint with the Department of Justice, asking for an investigation into whether Bernhardt had violated the Lobbying Disclosure Act by continuing to work on behalf of Westlands, despite having formally ended his lobbying activity. According to the group’s executive director, Daniel Stevens, it never got a response."

Watchdog Again Calls for Investigation of Interior Nominee David Bernhardt for Lobbying Disclosure Violations

On April 5, 2019, CfA again called on federal officials to investigate whether Acting Secretary of the Interior David Bernhardt and his former lobbying firm, Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck, LLP, violated the Lobbying Disclosure Act and the False Statements Act by failing to disclose Mr. Bernhardt’s apparent lobbying in connection with Westlands Water District (Westlands), an agricultural conglomerate in California. New documents indicate that Mr. Bernhardt continued to work for Westlands through April 2017 despite formally withdrawing his lobbying registration on November 18, 2016.

Bernhardt pushes ethics reforms amid complaints

"Bernhardt's ethics memo yesterday also happened to come on the same day the Campaign for Accountability, a nonprofit watchdog group, announced that Interior's Office of Inspector General confirmed it is reviewing a request for investigation into Bernhardt and his relationship with his former lobbying client, Westlands Water District in California."

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