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Senior Advisor to the Bureau of Land Management

Kathleen “Kathy” Benedetto is serving as a Senior Advisor to the Bureau of Land Management.

Before co-founding a nonprofit called the Women’s Mining Coalition, an organization that lobbied Congress on behalf of the mining industry, Benedetto worked nearly two decades for the mining industry. She was part of a coalition that wanted to “completely throw out” the Endangered Species Act. Benedetto worked as a field coordinator for Montanans for Common Sense Water Laws, an industry-funded group that opposed clean water initiatives unfavorable to mining companies. She then became the program director at the National Wilderness Institute, which was created to “roll back wetlands regulation.” Next, Benedetto moved to Washington D.C. to work for the House Natural Resources Subcommittee on Energy and Mineral Resources, where she stayed for 13 years, during which time she frequented trips sponsored by mining and oil industries. Since 2016, Benedetto has been a government affairs specialist at Bioxy Research, which provides “services for the oil and gas, refining and chemicals, mining, agriculture and construction industries.”

Sources: [Department of Interior, Press Release, 10/10/17, Al Shaw, Justin Elliott and Derek Kravitz, “Here are More than 400 Officials Trump has Quietly Deployed Across the Government,” ProPublica, 03/08/17, Sandy Neily (Maine Audubon Society) Report On Fly-In for Freedom Conference, 09/94, LinkedIn Profile for Kathy Benedetto, accessed 02/02/17, “Women’s Mining Coalition to be given Prazen Living Legend of Mining Award,” Mining Hall of Fame, accessed 02/17/17, Robin Bravender, “Former House aide joins Trump; Bishop advises on monuments,” Energy & Environment, 12/05/16, “History and Mission,” Women’s Mining Coalition, accessed 02/17/17, Joe Gutkoski, “Mining industry hides behind misleading name,” Bozeman Daily Chronicle, 10/05/96, Tom Kenworthy, “Mining Industry Labors To Drown Montana Water Quality Initiative,” Washington Post, 10/30/96, Jane Fritsch, “Nature-loving Names Hide Groups Of Eco-foes,” New York Times, 03/25/96, Legistorm Profile for Kathy Benedetto, accessed 02/15/17, and “About Us,” Bioxy Research, accessed 01/30/17]

Special Interests

Wise Use Leadership Movement (Political Extremism)

The Wise Use Leadership Conference, which teaches attendees public relations techniques to use to fight environmentalists, named Benedetto its Activist of the Year in 1995. The Wise Use movement is closely aligned with the militia movement in the West.

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also connected to:

Women's Mining Coalition (Resource Development on Public Lands)

In 1993, Benedetto co-founded a nonprofit called the Women's Mining Coalition, an organization that promoted the mining industry by lobbying Congress.

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also connected to:

Montanans for Common Sense Water Laws (Resource Development on Public Lands)

Benedetto, in 1996, was a county coordinator for Montanans for Common Sense Water Laws, an industry-funded group that opposed clean water initiatives unfavorable to mining companies.

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also connected to:

Zortman Mining (Resource Development on Public Lands)

Zortman Mining was one of the corporate donors of Montanans for Common Sense Water Laws, where Benedetto worked in 1996. The same year, Zortman agreed to pay $37 million "to settle lawsuits filed by state, federal and tribal agencies."

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also connected to:

National Wilderness Institute (Resource Development on Public Lands)

Benedetto, from 1999 to 2003, was the program director at the National Wilderness Institute, a green-scam group which was created to roll back wetlands regulation and restrictions in the Endangered Species Act.

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American Exploration and Mining Association (Resource Development on Public Lands)

When Benedetto worked on Capitol Hill, the American Exploration and Mining Association, a mining industry group, paid $1,414 to send her on trips to attend the Northwest Mining Association's annual meetings in 2003 and 2004.

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Domestic Petroleum Council (Resource Development on Public Lands)

When Benedetto worked on Capitol Hill, the Domestic Petroleum Council, a trade association representing large US independent producers, paid $980 to send her on a trip to review natural gas exploration and production in the Powder River Basin.

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Committee for a Constructive Tomorrow (Resource Development on Public Lands)

Freedom 21 Conference paid $873.00 for Benedetto to attend their annual conference. The conference was hosted by the Committee for a Constructive Tomorrow, which promotes an alternative view on environment and development issues.

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also connected to:

Bioxy Research (Resource Development on Public Lands)

Since 2016, Benedetto has been a government affairs specialist at Bioxy Research, which provides services for the oil and gas, refining and chemicals, mining, agriculture and construction industries.

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also connected to:

Grassroots ESA Coalition (Resource Development on Public Lands)

In 1995 Benedetto was an Executive Committee Member for the Grassroots ESA Coalition, who wanted to completely throw out the Endangered Species Act and substitute a new one in its place.

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also connected to:

Mountain States Legal Foundation (Resource Development on Public Lands)

The President of the Mountain States Legal Foundation presented Benedetto with the Wise Use Leadership Conference Activist of the Year award in 1995. MSLF is affiliated with ALEC and the Koch network and has taken funding from oil and gas companies.

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Background Information

Previous Employers

Additional Background on Employers of Note:

Kathy Benedetto, in 1993, co-founded a nonprofit called the Women’s Mining Coalition, which is an organization that promotes the mining industry by lobbying Congress.

Kathy Benedetto, in 1993, “co-founded” a 501(c)(4) nonprofit called the Women’s Mining Coalition to lobby Congress. The organization was “instrumental in rallying legislators to reject an onerous bill to change the 1872 mining law.”

[Robin Bravender, “Former House aide joins Trump; Bishop advises on monuments,” Energy & Environment, 12/05/16, and “Women’s Mining Coalition Prazen Living Legend of Mining Award,” YouTube, 09/28/16, (02:45 and 02:55)]

Kathy Benedetto, in 1996, was a county coordinator for Montanans for Common Sense Water Laws (MCSW), an industry-funded group that opposed clean water initiatives unfavorable to mining companies.

MCSW’s corporate donors included Zortman Mining, which had recently agreed pay $37 million, “the largest water quality settlement in state history… to settle lawsuits filed by state, federal and tribal agencies.”

[LinkedIn Profile for Kathy Benedetto, accessed 02/02/17, Joe Gutkoski, “Mining industry hides behind misleading name,” Bozeman Daily Chronicle, 10/05/96, and Tom Kenworthy, “Mining Industry Labors To Drown Montana Water Quality Initiative,” Washington Post, 10/30/96]

Kathy Benedetto, from 1999 to 2003, was the program director at the National Wilderness Institute (NWI), which was created to “roll back wetlands regulation” and Endangered Species Act protections. It has been described as a “‘green-scam group.'”

Groups have described NWI as a “‘green-scam group,'” and “a front for conservatives, ranchers, big business and other environmental foes.”

[LinkedIn Profile for Kathy Benedetto, accessed 02/02/17, Jane Fritsch, “Nature-loving Names Hide Groups Of Eco-foes,” New York Times, 03/25/96, “About NWI,” National Wilderness Institute, accessed via Wayback Machine, 08/29/05 and Frederick Kunkle, “Environmental Group’s Agenda Is Questioned,” Washington Post, 01/30/02]

After decades working on behalf of the mining industry and its interests, Kathy Benedetto moved to Washington D.C. For 13 years, Benedetto worked on the House Natural Resources Energy and Mineral Resources Subcommittee, where she frequently took trips sponsored by the mining and oil industries.

In her time working on the subcommittee she worked for Representative Barbara Cubin (R-WY) from 2003 to 2005, Representative Jim Gibbons (R-NV) from 2005 to 2007, Representative Steve Pearce (R-NM) from 2007 to 2009, and Representative Doug Lamborn (R-CO) from 2009 to 2016.

[LinkedIn Profile for Kathy Benedetto, accessed 02/02/17 and Legistorm Profile for Kathy Benedetto, accessed 02/15/17]

In 2003, Kathy Benedetto was an invited speaker at the Northwest Mining Association’s annual meeting. The American Exploration and Mining Association sponsored her trip at a cost of $865.64. Benedetto also traveled to Spokane, WA, to attend the Northwest Mining Association’s annual meeting in 2004 at a cost of $548.39.

[Legistorm Profile for Kathy Benedetto, accessed 02/15/17]

In 2004, Kathy Benedetto traveled to Boise, ID, and Gillette, WY, to review natural gas exploration and production in the Powder River Basin. The Domestic Petroleum Council sponsored her trip at a cost of $980.37.

[Legistorm Profile for Kathy Benedetto, accessed 02/15/17]

Kathy Benedetto, in 2004, spoke at the Freedom 21 Conference at a cost of $873.00. The Freedom 21 Conference was hosted by the conservative Committee for a Constructive Tomorrow (CFACT), which “was founded to promote a much-needed, positive alternative voice on issues of environment and development.”

[Legistorm Profile for Kathy Benedetto, accessed 02/15/17 and “Statement of Purpose,” Committee for a Constructive Tomorrow, accessed 02/20/17]

Kathy Benedetto, since September 2016, has been a “Government Affairs Specialist” for Bioxy Research, which provides “services for the oil and gas, refining and chemicals, mining, agriculture and construction industries.”

[LinkedIn Profile for Kathy Benedetto, accessed 02/02/17 and “About Us,” Bioxy Research, accessed 01/30/17]

Political Connections

Kathy Benedetto has contributed $3,650 to Republican candidates and committees at the state and federal level, and she has worked to elect various Republicans to Congress.

In 2012 Kathy Benedetto contributed $250 to Mitt Romney’s presidential campaign. In 1997 and 1998, she made three contributions totaling $1,509 to the National Republican Senatorial Committee. In 1996, she made three contributions totaling $891 to Denny Rehberg’s campaign. She also made two contributions totaling $500 to Barbara Vucanovich’s 1994 and 1996 congressional campaigns in Nevada.

[Political Moneyline Search for Kathleen Benedetto, CQ, accessed 02/23/17 and FEC Search for Kathleen Benedetto, accessed 07/10/17]

Current Activity

According to an analysis of Benedetto’s calendar, between March 1, 2017 and December 4, 2017, Benedetto “scheduled roughly twice as many meetings with mining and fossil-fuel representatives as with environmental groups.”

[Jimmy Tobias, “Trump official under fire after granting broad access to mining and oil firms,” Pacific Standard, 03/09/18]

Kathleen Benedetto said that managing a “large amount of federal estate” for “conservation purposes” is a “concern,” and identified wilderness as another “concern” because she believes only minerals can “drive progress.”

Wyoming BLM Director Mary Jo Rugwell’s memo of a July 2017 Executive Leadership Team meeting describes concerns expressed by Kathleen Benedetto. Benedetto said that one of her “concerns” is that “a large amount of federal estate is being managed for conservation purposes,” and that “it takes minerals (as a raw material) to drive progress.” Benedetto also identified Areas of Critical Environmental Concern and Lands with Wilderness Characteristics as “areas of concern.”

[Mary Jo Rugwell Email to BLM Wyoming Leadership Team, 07/25/17]

Financials

Financial Disclosure

[Office of Government Ethics]

Department of Interior Salary: $131,767

[Kathleen Benedetto, ProPublica’s TrumpTown, accessed 03/13/18]

Other Information

In 1995, Kathy Benedetto accepted the “Activist of the Year Award” at the Wise Use Leadership Conference.

In 1995, Kathy Benedetto accepted the “Activist of the Year Award” at the Wise Use Leadership Conference, a “right-wing” event that teaches attendees “public relations techniques” to use “against the environmental movement,” including the “formation of industry-friendly citizens’ groups.” The Wise Use movement is “closely aligned with the militia movement in the West.” The Wise Use Agenda calls for “opening national parks and wilderness areas to mining and drilling, logging all remaining old-growth forests and eliminating the Endangered Species Act.”

Kathy Benedetto, at the 1995 Wise Use Leadership Conference, received the conference’s “Activist of the Year Award.” The Wise Use movement is a “grassroots movement made up of private property rights, farming, ranching, logging and mining organizations dedicated to the wise use and sound management of the nation’s natural resources” and has been described as “closely aligned with the militia movement in the West.” The Wise Use Agenda calls for “opening national parks and wilderness areas to mining and drilling, logging all remaining old-growth forests and eliminating the Endangered Species Act.” The Wise Use Leadership Conference is a “right-wing” event that teaches its attendees “public relations techniques” to use “against the environmental movement,” including the “formation of industry-friendly citizens’ groups.”

[“Leadership Conference Report: What a Success!” The Private Sector, Autumn 1995, Michael Wickline, “Crapo gets money for Highway 25 or 95 or whatever it’s called,” Lewiston Morning Tribune, 04/16/98, David Helvarg, “Wild Western Movements,” In These Times, 07/28/97, and Paul MacGillivray, “Another branch industry,” The Vancouver Sun, 04/10/97]

Kathy Benedetto was presented the Activist of the Year Award by Perry Pendley, the President of Mountain States Legal Foundation (MLSF). The MSLF, which has been described as being affiliated with “ALEC/Koch,” is a 501(c)(3) dedicated “to individual liberty, the right to own and use property, limited and ethical government, and the free enterprise system.” In the 1970s, MSLF “battled the Bureau of Land Management” over limiting “development on public lands,” while taking “funding from oil and gas companies.”

[“Leadership Conference Report: What a Success!,” The Private Sector, Autumn 1995, “About Mountain States Legal Foundation,” Mountain States Legal Foundation, accessed 02/23/17, Joel Kirkland, “Senate GOP pledges vote on Pruitt as Trump chaos grows,” Environment & Energy, 02/15/17, and Bob Sloan, “ALEC, the Koch Led CABAL & ‘The Amicus Project’ – Fed Court Interference,” Daily Kos, 07/24/12]

Kathy Benedetto, who called the Endangered Species Act “‘morally bankrupt,'” was part of a group that wanted to “completely throw out” the ESA.

In 1995 Kathy Benedetto said the Endangered Species Act “‘defines our environmental policy; it states that plants, animals and bugs are more important than human beings and that’s morally bankrupt.'” At the time she was an “Executive Committee Member” for the Grassroots ESA Coalition, which wanted to “completely throw out the…ESA and substitute a new one in its place.”

[“Annual Meeting — Alliance for America,” Alliance for America, 09/13/95, and “Grassroots ESA Coalition Hits the Ground Running,” Alliance for America, 06/10/95]

Kathy Benedetto, in 2006, defended a congressional plan to sell a stone quarry on “federal land in central Idaho” to a private corporation without first completing the legally-required environmental impact statement.

Benedetto said completing the impact statement would have “‘adversely affected the company.'” The owner of the company had “given thousands in campaign contributions to Republicans.”

Kathy Benedetto, in 2006, defended a plan by then-Congressman Richard Pombo to allow Congress “to approve the sale of federal land in central Idaho that’s the site of one of America’s largest decorative stone quarries to its California operator.”

Conservation groups criticized the effort saying that Pombo was “trying to bypass tough public scrutiny requirements for 520 acres near the Salmon River to benefit a business owner who’s given thousands in campaign contributions to Republicans.”

Kathy Benedetto, who worked for Pombo at the time, said that completing an impact statement, as required by law, would “‘adversely'” affect the company. She said that the company was “‘in jeopardy of having to lay off a number of people, and maybe even close the quarry,'” and that the impact statement “‘would have delayed the process for a couple of years.'”

[John Miller, “Lawmaker aims to sell BLM land to quarry operator” Associated Press, 10/30/05]

Kathy Benedetto complained, “‘we have abundant resources in this country,'” but what “‘we do not have is access to those resources.'”

In 2008, at a legislative affairs panel at the Northwest Mining Association convention, Kathy Benedetto said, “‘we have abundant resources in this country. The thing we do not have is access to those resources.’ She emphasized that it was crucial that the domestic mining industry have access to energy and fuel. Yet, she added, 60% of the oil and gas reserves in the United States are not available for leasing from the federal government.” In the same panel, Benedetto advised “that climate change and/or global warming legislation could also put an additional burden on mining and the U.S. economy in general.”

[Dorothy Kosich, “Tough times ahead in Congress for U.S. miners,” Mineweb, 12/08/08]

Kathy Benedetto has “liked” provocative social media posts, including a Rush Limbaugh post in which he called supporters of the Clintons “feminazis.”

She has also complained on social media about renewable energy and raising taxes on the top one percent, and she suggested that liberals think red states are “Dumbfuckistan.”

Kathy Benedetto, in November 2016, “liked” a Rush Limbaugh Facebook post saying the New York Times, NBC, CBS, Washington PostLA Times, and USA Today are “fake news.”

[Facebook comment by Kathy Benedetto, accessed 02/23/17]

Kathy Benedetto “liked” a Rush Limbaugh article from July 2016 about Bill and Hillary Clinton. In the article Limbaugh criticized the Clintons by calling their supporters “feminazis,” and alleged that President Clinton “manhandle(d) us.”

[Facebook like by Kathy Benedetto, accessed 07/27/16, and “Clinton’s Performance Was Great, But I’ll Tell You the Real Story of Bill and Hillary,” The Rush Limbaugh Show, accessed 02/23/17]

In October 2013 one of Kathy Benedetto’s Facebook friends shared an image of wind turbines with the text “GREEN ISN’T WORKING.” He said that Americans “believe that 70 to 80 percent of electricity comes from renewables,” but it is actually “not quite 4 percent.” Benedetto commented, “it’s amazing what a little (or a lot) of propaganda can do for an issue.”

[Facebook comment by Kathy Benedetto, accessed 02/23/17]

In November 2014 one of Kathy Benedetto’s Facebook friends shared a political map of the US identifying red states as the “United States of America” and blue states as “Dumbfuckistan.” Benedetto commented, “the liberal left has this reversed.”

[Facebook comment by Kathy Benedetto, accessed 02/23/17]

In September 2012 one of Kathy Benedetto’s Facebook friends shared an image of George W. Bush with a word bubble that said, “if Obama is elected for a second term, just think of the mess he will inherit this time.” Benedetto’s friend commented, “whenever God closes one door He always opens another, even though sometimes it’s Hell in the hallway.” Benedetto replied, “Hell in the Hallway – Nice.”

[Facebook comment by Kathy Benedetto, accessed 02/23/17]

In a Facebook comment in January 2013 Kathy Benedetto complained about federal regulations. She said, “the top one percent do pay their fair share – the US has a progressive tax system – as you…earn more you are taxed at a higher rate. Try creating a job with no money. One of the problems in the US right now is the uncertainty with taxes, Obama care and an onslought [sic] of new regulations.”

[Facebook comment by Kathy Benedetto, accessed 02/24/17]