"Several conservation groups, including the Western Values Project and Campaign for Accountability, filed a complaint in June asking for an investigation into the process that allows Interior political appointees to look at requested public records pertaining to them prior to release."
"That policy, watchdog groups say, has allowed top officials appointed by President Trump to then withhold or delay the release of such information."
Inspector General Confirms Investigation as Groups Uncover More Evidence of Political Interference at Interior
Western Values Project, a Montana-based nonprofit conservation group, and Campaign for Accountability, a nonprofit watchdog group focused on public accountability, have uncovered additional evidence of political appointees interfering with public records at the Department of Interior, leading to requests being delayed or withheld – in a potential violation of open records laws. In response, the groups submitted the new information to Interior’s Acting Inspector General as part of a request for an investigation into Interior’s troubling practices. In response to the groups’ request, the Inspector General confirmed an investigation into the practice will begin.
"The nonprofit watchdog Campaign for Accountability filed a complaint alongside groups like the Western Values Project."
Coalition of Watchdog Groups Calls for IG Investigation of Interior Department’s FOIA Awareness Process
On June 17, 2019, CfA along with American Oversight, American Bridge 21st Century Foundation, Democracy Forward, and Western Values Project, filed a complaint with the Office of Inspector General at the U.S. Department of the Interior (Interior) calling for an investigation of the agency’s Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) Awareness Process. Political appointees at Interior appear to be using the Awareness Process to interfere with the release of documents in response to FOIA requests.
"Just the sheer lobbying firepower Rocky Mountain Resources is bringing to the project may be enough to pressure Interior employees, said Daniel Stevens, executive director at the watchdog group Campaign for Accountability."
"Galindo-Marrone’s letter to the Campaign for Accountability, which had filed the Hatch Act complaint against Zinke, was issued shortly after Zinke’s announcement in December that he would resign amid several ongoing ethics investigations."
"'Secretary Zinke engaged in political activity when he wore the above-referenced socks,' Ana Galindo-Marrone, chief of the Hatch Act Unit at the Office of the Special Counsel, wrote in a Dec. 20 letter to Campaign for Accountability"
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.