Documents reveal ethical lapses at Interior Department

Bernhardt continues to work on projects he lobbied for before becoming head of DOI

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Friends of the Earth today published over 1,000 pages of documents related to Interior Secretary David Bernhardt’s ethics agreements and interactions with his former clients. The documents were released after Friends of the Earth filed litigation against the Department of Interior for failing to release the documents under the Freedom of Information Act.

The documents are accessible here.

In response, Nicole Ghio, Friends of the Earth’s senior fossil fuels program manager, issued the following statement:

The Bernhardt documents tell a classic story of the fox guarding the henhouse. Departing from the practices of previous administrations, Bernhardt reached out directly to ethics officers to push for clearance to meet with former clients, a potentially coercive act. He then used that clearance to claim his continued engagement with clients is not a conflict of interest.

Congress must investigate Bernhardt’s conflicts of interest and hold him accountable for his giveaways to former clients at the expense of the American people.

Expert contact: Nicole Ghio, (510) 900-8061, nghio@foe.org
Communications contact: Patrick Davis, (608) 770-4800, pdavis@foe.org

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