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Holly Lane

Leadership
/
Senior Advance Representative

Political Connections

Holly Lane has worked on Republican campaigns and in Republican administrations since 2004.

Holly Lane was Field Director for the Arizona Republican Party in 2004. She worked as a project manager at Kyle Moyer & Co., a Republican political consulting and lobbying firm, from 2005 to 2007. Lane was a Staff Assistant in the George W. Bush White House during the last 18 months of the administration at a salary of $35,500 annually.

She says on her resume that she did advance on Mitt Romney’s presidential campaign in October and November 2012, and Federal Election Commission records show she was paid $1,668 by the campaign. She says she was Northern Arizona Field Director for Senator John McCain in the first half of 2016. Lane was paid $25,092 for doing advance work for approximately the last four months of Donald Trump’s presidential campaign in 2016.

After working on the Trump campaign she worked for roughly two months on the Inaugural Committee, then did advance for the Department of Defense “beachhead” team and Vice President Mike Pence.

Sources: [Holly Lane Resume, ProPublica’s Trump Town, accessed 10/17/18, LinkedIn Profile for Holly Lane, accessed 10/17/18, Financial Disclosure, Ben Giles, “LD29 Senate race gets ugly: ‘Bernie Bro’ vs. ‘fake Democrat’,” The Arizona Capitol Times, 08/15/16, Dan Froomkin, “2008 White House Office Staff List – Name,” The Washington Post, 07/24/18, Kyle Moyer & Company Internet Site, accessed 10/17/18, Political Moneyline Search for Holly Lane, accessed 10/17/18, and Executive Office of the President Annual Report to Congress on White House Staff, 06/30/08]


Financials

Financial Disclosure

Source: Office of Government Ethics

Department of Defense Salary: $81,548-$106,012

Source: [Holly Lane, ProPublica’s Trump Town, accessed 10/17/18]



Special Interests

Jean Hovland

Indian Affairs
/
Former Senior Advisor to the Assistant Secretary

Background Information
Previous Employers

Office of Senator John Thune

Wanji Native Nations Consultants


Political Connections

Jean Hovland, from 2005 to early 2018 worked in the Office of Senator John Thune. In June 2018 the Senate confirmed her as the Commissioner of the Administration for Native Americans & Deputy Assistant Secretary for Native American Affairs in the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). In between her time working in the Office of Senator Thune and her current job at HHS she “served as senior advisor to the Assistant Secretary for Indian Affairs at the Department of the Interior.”

Jean Hovland, from 2005 to 2011, was the Native American Outreach Coordinator in the Office of Senator John Thune, and from 2011 to early 2018 she was a Tribal Affairs Advisor in the Office of Senator Thune. From April 1, 2017, to March 31, 2018, she was paid by the Office of Senator Thune $60,500.

In June 2018 the Senate confirmed her as the Commissioner of the Administration for Native Americans & Deputy Assistant Secretary for Native American Affairs in HHS. In between her time working in the Office of Senator Thune and her current job at HHS she “served as senior advisor to the Assistant Secretary for Indian Affairs at the Department of the Interior.”

Sources: [Jeannie Hovland Resume, ProPublica’s Trump Town, accessed 10/17/18, Legistorm Profile for Jeannie Hovland, accessed 10/17/18, “Leadership,” Administration for Native Americans, 07/11/18, and Press Release, White House, 02/13/18]


Financials

Office of Senator John Thune Salary: $60,500

Source: [Legistorm Profile for Jeannie Hovland, accessed 10/17/18]


Other Information

Jean Hovland liked a tweet on Judge Brett Kavanaugh that said, “I am confident that the president’s nominee has exactly what it takes to defend the Constitution and call balls and strikes from the bench. I will support his nomination to the Supreme Court.”

Jean Hovland liked an August 1, 2018, tweet by Senator John Thune in which he said, “after… meeting with Judge Kavanaugh, I am confident that the president’s nominee has exactly what it takes to defend the Constitution and call balls and strikes from the bench. I will support his nomination to the Supreme Court this fall.”

Source: [Tweet by Senator John Thune, accessed 10/10/18]

Jean Hovland implied that she is anti-evolution.

Jean Hovland “liked” a Facebook post by Franklin Graham in which he wrote, “CNN reported… that scientists have discovered ancient jawbones and some teeth in Ethiopia that they say may shed new light on our earliest ancestors. If you really want to know where our earliest ancestors came from, check the original source, God’s Holy Word. The Bible clearly tells you —they were created by God.”

Source: [Jean Hovland like of Franklin Graham Facebook post, 05/28/15]

Jean Hovland opposes funding for Planned Parenthood.

Jean Hovland “liked” and responded “Yes!!!” to a July 2015 Facebook post by Senator John Thune in which he said, a “Planned Parenthood video is appalling and inhumane. We must end federal funding of this organization now.” She also “liked” an August 2015 Facebook post by Dr. Ben & Candy Carson that said, “thousands rally on the streets of Falls Church, Virginia to #DefundPlannedParenthood. Keep the pressure on!”

[Sources: Jean Hovland like of and comment on Senator John Thune Facebook post, 07/14/15, and Jean Hovland like of Dr. Ben & Candy Carson Facebook post, 08/22/15]

Jean Hovland liked a post on an extremist Facebook page that promotes Breitbart, racist views, and extreme political opinions.

Christians Against Electing Liberals is an extremist Facebook page that promotes Breitbart, racist views, and extreme political opinions. For example, it is promoting an article in which a politician compares “Michelle Obama to a ‘chimp.’” Jean Hovland, in 2013, liked a Christians Against Electing Liberals post that asked, “SHOULD BARACK H. OBAMA BE FORCED TO TESTIFY IN REGARDS TO: BENGHAZI,” the “IRS SCANDAL,” and “ILLEGAL MEDIA WIRE TAPS”?

[Sources: Christians Against Electing Liberals Facebook Page, and Jean Hovland like of Christians Against Electing Liberals Facebook post, 05/26/13]


Special Interests

Matthew Dermody

Leadership
/
Special Assistant to the Deputy Secretary

Political Connections

Matthew Dermody was paid by the Republican Party of Virginia in 2017.

Matthew Dermody was paid $1,250 by the Republican Party of Virginia in 2017.

Source: [Political Moneyline Search for Matthew Dermody, accessed 10/31/18]

Matthew Dermody, in 2010, interned for Congressman Christopher Lee and Congressman John Carter, who is a known birther, before going to work in the Office of Senator John Kyl and for Congressman Rob Bishop on the House Natural Resources Committee.

Matthew Dermody, from January 2010 to April 2010, interned for Congressman Christopher Lee, and from May 2010 to August 2010 he interned for Congressman John Carter.

Source: [LinkedIn Profile for Matthew Dermody, accessed 10/31/18]

John Carter, in 2009, was a co-sponsor of a “so-called birther bill…requiring presidential candidates to prove they were born in the U.S.”

Source: [Martin Kady II, “So where’s your birth certificate, congressman?Politico, 08/07/09]

Matthew Dermody was a Staff Assistant and Legislative Correspondent in the Office of Senator Jon Kyl from 2010 to 2012. In 2015 he returned to Capitol Hill, where he worked on the House Natural Resources Committee for Chairman Rob Bishop for approximately 18 months.

Sources: [LinkedIn Profile for Matthew Dermody, accessed 10/31/18, and Legistorm Profile for Matthew Dermody, accessed 10/31/18]


Financials

Department of the Interior Salary: $53,062 – $68,983 (GS-11)

Source: [Department of the Interior, accessed 10/31/18]


Other Information

Matthew Dermody, since 2011, has liked numerous extreme pro-gun social media posts, including a post of a sleeping baby in front of boxes of ammunition, a post that is pro-silencer, a post praising a man for sleeping under numerous firearms, and a post of a weapon on top of a Confederate flag.

Matthew Dermody, in 2011, liked a Facebook post of a weapon on top of a Confederate flag.

Source: [Matthew Dermody like of Jim Bothwell Facebook post, 09/12/11]

Matthew Dermody, since 2013, has liked numerous other extreme pro-gun Facebook posts, including a post of a sleeping baby in front of boxes of ammunition, a post that includes someone wearing a pro-silencer shirt, and a post of a man sleeping under numerous firearms with the caption, “FREEDOM BLANKET BECAUSE AMERICA. THAT’S WHY.”

Sources: [Matthew Dermody like of Acadiana Gunworks Facebook post, 09/09/13, Matthew Dermody like of Galco Gunleather Facebook post, 06/13/14, and Matthew Dermody like of Gunsite Academy Facebook post, 06/23/17]


Special Interests

Rob Gordon

Leadership
/
Deputy Assistant Secretary for Policy, Management and Budget

Political Connections

Robert Gordon worked for Republicans on the House Natural Resources Committee for more than five years, and in 2016 he served on the Trump transition team.

Robert Gordon, 2004 to 2007, worked on the House Natural Resources Committee. From 2015 to 2017 he was the Staff Director on the House Natural Resources Committee’s Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations. In 2016 he served on the Trump transition team.

Sources: [LinkedIn Profile for Robert Gordon, accessed 11/01/18, Legistorm Profile for Robert Gordon, accessed 11/01/18, and Isaac Arnsdorf, “More lobbyists on the transition,” Politico, 11/11/16]

Robert Gordon, in the 1990s, was on the board of “the Grassroots ESA Coalition, a property rights advocacy group.”

“The Grassroots ESA Coalition, a property rights advocacy group,” listed Robert Gordon “as its contact” in 1995. At the time “he was a member of the coalition’s executive board and the director of the National Wilderness Institute.”

Source: [Lisa Vorderbrueggen, “Danville pilot aims to unseat Pombo,” Contra Costa Times, 08/03/05]

Robert Gordon has contributed to the California Republican Party and Republican Congressman Richard Pombo.

Robert Gordon, in 2009, contributed $500 to the California Republican Party, and in 2010 he contributed $250 to the campaign of Republican Congressman Richard Pombo.

Source: [Political Moneyline Search for Robert E. Gordon, accessed 11/02/18]


Financials

House Natural Resources Committee Annual Salary in 2016 and 2017: $160,000

Source: [Legistorm Profile for Robert Gordon, accessed 11/01/18]

 


Other Information

Robert Gordon is “an outspoken critic of” ESA, which he thinks is “a burden to property owners.” He “has fought for decades while in positions both in an out of government to change the ESA,” which he thinks “‘has been used to stymie economic growth and trample on private property rights.’” Gordon “recently penned a report alleging that the ESA has cost the country hundreds of billions of dollars” with very few success stories. He argues “that official estimates have dramatically underestimated the cost to industry and states for complying with the ESA, and that some single species can cost billions of dollars to protect.” He thinks “ESA is so ineffective that taxpayer dollars are used to fabricate successes.” The Interior Department, in July 2018, proposed making “it easier to remove a species’s protection,” allowing “for lesser protections for species that are designated as ‘threatened,’” and making “it more difficult to protect habitats. Gordon praised the proposal.”

Robert Gordon is “an outspoken critic of” ESA. He “has fought for decades while in positions both in an out of government to change the ESA.”

Source: [Timothy Cama, “Zinke hires Endangered Species Act critic for senior post,” The Hill, 09/05/18]

He criticizes the ESA because it “is often a burden to property owners.”

Source: [Lisa Friedman, Kendra Pierre-Louis and Livia Albeck-Ripka, “Law That Saved the Bald Eagle Could Be Vastly Reworked,” The New York Times, 07/19/18]

Robert Gordon said ESA “‘has been used to stymie economic growth and trample on private property rights.’”

Source: [Louis Sahagun, “Threatened species could lose habitat protections under Department of the Interior proposal,” Los Angeles Times, 07/19/18]

Gordon “recently penned a report alleging that the ESA has cost the country hundreds of billions of dollars” with very few success stories. He “recently worked as an adjunct fellow at the conservative Competitive Enterprise Institute” (CEI), where “days before leaving for the government, he published a major report arguing that official estimates have dramatically underestimated the cost to industry and states for complying with the ESA, and that some single species can cost billions of dollars to protect. ‘Clearly, the bureaucratic paperwork, annual agency expenditures, and anticipated costs for recovery, while often poorly estimated and tracked, amount to tens of billions of dollars alone. Economic impacts are clearly far larger,’ Gordon wrote. ‘Whatever the ESA’s cost is, it is much larger than generally acknowledged, and likely measured in the hundreds of billions of dollars,’ he concluded. ‘Unfortunately, the ESA’s poor record of recovering species does not indicate that we are getting what we pay for.’”

Source: [Timothy Cama, “Zinke hires Endangered Species Act critic for senior post,” The Hill, 09/05/18]

Gordon wrote, “the ESA is so ineffective that taxpayer dollars are used to fabricate successes — and many species now listed should be removed from the list as mistakes or extinct.”

Source: [Robert Gordon, “Correcting Falsely ‘Recovered’ and Wrongly Listed Species and Increasing Accountability and Transparency in the Endangered Species Program,” The Heritage Foundation, 04/16/18]

The Interior Department, in July 2018, proposed making “it easier to remove a species’s protection,” allowing “for lesser protections for species that are designated as ‘threatened,’” and making “it more difficult to protect habitats. Gordon praised the proposal in a…statement through CEI.”

Source: [Timothy Cama, “Zinke hires Endangered Species Act critic for senior post,” The Hill, 09/05/18]

Robert Gordon has dedicated much of his career to criticizing and trying to weaken ESA, but he has also been critical of the Land and Water Conservation Fund. He thinks the federal government owns too much land.

Robert Gordon, in 2014, wrote, “in the West…the government owns an absurd amount of land of which National Parks are only a fraction,” and as a result “counties struggle to raise enough tax revenue to pay for things like schools and emergency services. When Uncle Sam owns 70 percent, 80 percent, or even 90 percent of the county, it shrinks the tax base,” so Congress compensates counties with Payment in Lieu of Taxes (PILT) funds.

He continued, Congress makes this problem worse by providing “hundreds of millions of dollars for the federal government to buy more land with monies from something called the Land and Water Conservation Fund. This is despite the fact that the federal government is making PILT payments precisely because of the harm caused by the enormous federal estate. The federal government already owns over 600,000,000 acres.”

“Enough already,” he concluded.

Source: [Rob Gordon, “Congress Fattens the Federal Estate and Squashes Rural Communities,” The Daily Signal, 12/10/14]


Special Interests
Heritage Foundation (Resource Development on Public Lands)

Gordon worked at the Heritage Foundation, which has received almost $800,000 from ExxonMobil and millions from the family foundations of the oil-billionaire Koch brothers.

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also connected to:

Competitive Enterprise Institute (Resource Development on Public Lands)

Gordon worked at the Competitive Enterprise Institute, which receives funding from Americans for Prosperity, the Koch brothers, and the oil and gas industry.

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also connected to:

National Wilderness Institute (Resource Development on Public Lands)

Gordon was the Executive Director of 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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also connected to:

Ryan Hambleton

Fish, Wildlife and Parks
/
Deputy Assistant Secretary

Political Connections

Ryan Hambleton, since 2015, has contributed $500 to a local Republican candidate in Virginia.

Ryan Hambleton, in 2015, contributed $250 to Republican Virginia House of Delegates candidate Sang Yi. In March 2018 he contributed $250 to Sang Yi’s Fairfax City Council campaign.

Source: [Virginia Public Access Project Search for Ryan Hambleton, accessed 11/02/18]

Ryan Hambleton, from 2001 to April 2018, worked for Republicans on Capitol Hill. He worked for Senator Bob Smith, Senator Jim Bunning, and the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee.

Ryan Hambleton, from 2001 to 2003, worked in the Office of Senator Bob Smith, and from 2003 to 2011 he worked in the Office of Senator Jim Bunning. From 2011 to April 2018 he was a staffer on the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee. His final job on the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee was as “staff director of the Subcommittee on Interior, Energy and Environment.”

Sources: [LinkedIn Profile for Ryan Hambleton, accessed 11/02/18, Legistorm Profile for Ryan Hambleton, accessed 11/02/18, and Anna Palmer, Jake Sherman, Daniel Lippman, Zach Montellaro, and Akela Lacy, “Is Michael Cohen ready to flip?Politico, 06/13/18]


Financials

Financial Disclosure

Source: Office of Government Ethics

House Oversight and Government Reform Committee 2017-18 Annual Salary: $128,555

Source: [Legistorm Profile for Ryan Hambleton, accessed 11/02/18]


Other Information

Ryan Hambleton, in 2012, liked a Facebook post that called Democrats “scumbags” and implied that Democrats “lie for political gain.”

Ryan Hambleton, in 2012, liked a Facebook post that said, “I saw someone paying for their own birth control today without any help from the government or any church trying to stop them. Weird, I didn’t think that could happen. But Democrats wouldn’t lie for political gain, would they? Scumbags.” [Ryan Hambleton like of Derek Hunter Facebook post, 02/16/12]

Ryan Hambleton described on social media child actor Alana Thompson as “a future meth head.”

Ryan Hambleton, in 2012, described on Facebook Alana Thompson, who was known as Honey Boo Boo, as “a future meth head.” [Ryan Hambleton Facebook comment, 09/26/12, and IMDb Profile for Alana Thompson, accessed 11/02/18]


Special Interests

Samantha Hebert

Leadership
/
Director of the Office of Scheduling and Advance

Political Connections

Samantha Hebert was the Mississippi field director for Donald Trump’s presidential campaign and has worked on mayoral and city council campaigns for Republicans in Mississippi.

Samantha Hebert, in 2016, was the Mississippi field director and grassroots coordinator in Florida for Donald Trump’s presidential campaign, as well as a “member of [the] SEC Strike Team,” which she says “traveled across the country during the primary.”

In 2016 and 2017 she was the campaign manager for Republican Dane Maxwell, who was elected mayor of Pascagoula, MS, and in 2017 she was the campaign manager for Republican Darwin Nelson, who was elected mayor of Lucedale, MS. In 2017 she also worked on the campaign of Republican Jennifer Colmer, who was elected to the Pascagoula City Council.

Source: [Samantha Hebert Eubanks Resume, Department of the Interior, accessed 10/17/18]

 


Other Information

When Samantha Hebert worked at the Mississippi Department of Marine Resources she got caught up in a scandal in which “Executive Director Bill Walker’s neighbors, his daughter-in-law, local politicians and relatives of other employees” were given sketchy contracts. She was forced to pay thousands of dollars in restitution.

Samantha Hebert, from October 2010 to February 2013, worked as a videographer at the Mississippi Department of Marine Resources (DMR).

The DMR gave “jobs to Executive Director Bill Walker’s neighbors, his daughter-in-law, local politicians and relatives of other employees, state records show.” The contracts were “not advertised to the general public.” Walker said DMR Public Relations Director Lauren Thompson “hired Samantha Hebert, the sister of Tina Shumate, DMR’s director of coastal management.” Hebert worked “under contract as a videographer,” and was paid $98,080, according to the Mississippi Accountability and Transparency Act of 2008 contract worker database. As a result of her role in the scandal, Hebert landed up owing “civil restitution of $4,726.”

Shumate was also “scrutinized in a federal audit for using grant money for DMR’s purchase of her parents’ Pascagoula property.”

Sources: [Samantha Hebert Eubanks Resume, Department of the Interior, accessed 10/17/18, Karen Nelson and Anita Lee, “Connections: Neighbors, relatives and politicians land DMR jobs in South Mississippi,” The Biloxi Sun Herald, 12/23/12, Anita Lee, “Auditor still mum on DMR case, but restitution dollars trickling in,” The Biloxi Sun Herald, 06/29/14, and the Mississippi Accountability and Transparency Act of 2008 Contract Worker Database, accessed 10/17/18]


Special Interests

Nicholas "Nick" Davis

Leadership
/
Special Assistant

Background Information
Previous Employers

State Representative Andy Brenner


Political Connections

Nicholas Davis was a member of The Ohio State University College Republicans and president of Ohio State Students for Trump. He interned on the Trump presidential campaign and at the Republican National Committee. In 2016 he was a Constituent Aide for Republican State Representative Andy Brenner.

Nicholas Davis graduated from The Ohio State University in May 2018, where he was a member of The Ohio State University College Republicans and president of Ohio State Students for Trump. He interned on the Trump presidential campaign in 2016 and at the Republican National Committee in 2017. In 2016 he was also a Constituent Aide for Republican State Representative Andy Brenner, who represents part of Delaware County, OH.

Source: [Nicholas Davis Resume, Department of the Interior, accessed 11/02/18]


Other Information

When Milo Yiannopoulos was the technology editor at Breitbart he spoke at The Ohio State University at an event “organized by the Ohio State chapter of Students For Trump.” Nicholas Davis was president of the group at the time.

When Milo Yiannopoulos was the technology editor at Breitbart he spoke at The Ohio State University at an event “organized by the Ohio State chapter of Students For Trump. The group’s president, Nick Davis, said Yiannopoulos did not charge the group.”

Source: [Kevin Stankiewicz, “Milo Yiannopoulos brings his signature controversy to Ohio State,” The Lantern, 11/05/16]

Nicholas Davis, in 2017, “said he was not bothered by” Donald Trump firing FBI Director James Comey, and he does not think Donald Trump obstructed justice by firing him. “Davis doesn’t think there is any connection between Trump and Russia and said that ‘no one actually believes’ there is.” He defended Donald Trump revealing “highly classified intelligence gathered by a U.S. ally about ISIS to Russian diplomats.”

 

Nicholas Davis, in 2017, “said he was not bothered by the [FBI Director James] Comey firing overall, but felt the timing could have been better. Davis also said he doesn’t think the known contents of Comey’s memo describe an obstruction of justice. ‘(Trump) wasn’t telling James Comey ‘hey, stop this investigation,’’ he said. ‘If James Comey thought that it was obstruction of justice, then he could have reported it to the (Attorney General Jeff Sessions) or (Deputy Attorney General Dana Boente)…back when it happened.’”

“Davis added that Trump’s lack of political experience — the presidency is the first public office he has ever held — means he is untrained in the nuances of how to communicate with personnel like Comey, leading to statements intended as casual being interpreted as formal.”

“Davis doesn’t think there is any connection between Trump and Russia and said that ‘no one actually believes’ there is.” He continued, “‘(Senate minority leader) Chuck Schumer doesn’t believe it, (House minority leader) Nancy Pelosi doesn’t believe it,’ he said. ‘It’s all just politics, that’s all it is.’”

After Donald “Trump revealed highly classified intelligence gathered by a U.S. ally about ISIS to Russian diplomats,” Nicholas “Davis said he thought the president was within his rights to declassify and disclose the information, especially since both the U.S. and Russia are working to take down ISIS.”

Source: [Matt Dorsey, “Ohio State faculty, students weigh in on President Trump’s Russia relations, rumors of impeachment,” The Lantern, 05/19/17]


Special Interests

Jonodev Chaudhuri

Leadership
/
National Indian Gaming Commission Chairman

Political Connections

Jonodev Chaudhuri contributed $5,100 to Democratic candidates from 2005 to 2009, including $250 to Barack Obama in 2008.

Jonodev Chaudhuri contributed $250 to the presidential campaign of Barack Obama in 2008, $400 to Democratic congressional candidate Jack Johnson in 2005, $250 to Democratic congressional candidate Mary Kim Titla in 2007, and $4,200 to Democratic congressional candidate Harry Mitchell from 2006 to 2009.

Source: [Political Moneyline Search for Jonodev Chaudhuri, accessed 11/04/18]


Financials

Department of the Interior 2017 Annual Salary: $155,500

Source: [Jonodev Chaudhuri, FedsDataCenter Federal Employee Salary Database, accessed 11/04/18]

 


Special Interests

John Bockmier

Leadership
/
Advisor for Strategic Communication and Outreach/ Acting Director of Communications

Background Information
Previous Employers

Additional Background on Employers of Note:

In his former job as a consultant for non-tribal cardrooms in Washington state, John Bockmier spoke out against the creation of a tribal casino.

John Bockmier was a Washington state lobbyist starting in 1998, and a county-level consultant starting in 2003, mostly on behalf of La Center, Washington’s, then-four cardrooms. The cardrooms included Last Frontier, New Phoenix, the Palace and Chips. As of 2008, Bockmier had been lobbying in Clark County for 5 years. [Michael Anderson, “It can pay to have … FRIENDS in HIGH PLACES,” The Columbian, 06/01/08]

John Bockmier, in his job as a consultant for the cardrooms, spoke out against the proposed casino by the Cowlitz Tribe. The Columbian reported, “an Indian casino probably would hurt business at La Center’s four cardrooms, which are the city’s main source of tax revenue.” [Margaret Ellis, “Residents vow casino fight,” The Columbian, 02/17/04]

Bockmier, in his opposition to a tribal casino, said that “the solution was for the [Cowlitz] tribe to establish a reservation somewhere else.”

After the Cowlitz Tribe released a preview of its reservation plans with a hotel and casino, Bockmier spoke out against the plans. Bockmier, who was a consultant for local cardooms, compared the tribal casinos allowing higher betting limits and machine  games: “look at their ability and resources to offer what the cardrooms can’t. Of course they’re concerned.” The article continued, “Bockmier said the solution was for the tribe to establish a reservation somewhere else.” [Margaret Ellis, “Cowlitz Tribe previews reservation plans in ad; Site near La Center would be 152 acresThe Columbian, 02/17/04]

Bockmier “personally” gave a report regarding a proposed casino to Interior Associate Deputy Secretary, James Cason. Bockmier declined to reveal the cost of study.

The cardrooms of La Center issued a study, prepared by ECONWest of Portland, on the effects of the Cowlitz Tribe building a smaller casino on an alternate site. When asked about the cost, Bockmier declined to reveal the amount. In 2006, “Bockmier said he personally gave the report to James Cason, the associate deputy secretary for the Interior Department and the man who will decide if the Cowlitz Tribe’s casino plan receives federal approval.” The Columbian later reported Bockmier “said he believes the ECONorthwest report will have influence with federal officials.”[Jeffrey Mize, “Rivals suggest new site for casino; Cardroom owners: Put it farther north,” The Columbian, 03/11/06, Jeffrey Mize, “Casino foes say cardroom-funded report backs Vader site,” The Columbian, 11/17/07]

Released e-mail messages revealed Bockmier was in close contact with La Center City Council officials regarding the proposed Cowlitz Tribe casino. He referred Councilman Troy Van Dinter as “‘Brother Troy or Brother Love’” and also wrote he was “‘blessed to have you in my corner.’”

La Center Councilman Troy Van Dinter and John Bockmier were revealed to have a chummy friendship where Bockmier referred to Van Dinter in some messages as “Brother Troy” or “Brother Love and wrote he was “‘blessed to have you in my corner.’” Bockmier had written letters for the city council to review for consideration to send to the federal government and also shared some of the card room owners’ legal strategy with Van Dinter. When Van Dinter wrote in frustration about the situation, Bockmier responded with a reference to the 1970’s TV show Kung Fu by responding, “‘you have snatched the pebble from my hand grasshopper. And now you are ready to begin your journey.’”

When asked about his emails, Bockmier responded: “‘Part of my job is to communicate with elected officials on behalf of my clients. I don’t feel uncomfortable about any of my actions in any way…Troy is my friend…Calling him Brother Love and doing the grasshopper stuff, that’s just me being me.’” [Jeffrey Mize, “Officials, cardrooms working together;  E-mails reveal depth of animosity toward casino plan,” The Columbian, 06/06/06]

The two men and their families regularly communicate via social media. [Facebook Post by Kris Bockmier, 12/02/14, accessed 07/24/18, Troy Van Dinter, National Psoriasis Foundation, accessed 07/24/18, Facebook Post by John Mullowney Bockmier, 08/17/14, accessed 07/24/18]

Bockmier’s company, Shamrock 51 Productions, is listed as having donated $100 to Van Dinter in 2011.

[Search for Shamrock 51 Productions, Public Disclosure Commission, accessed 7/26/18]

Bockmier appeared on Clark County Commissioners’ “schedules 37 times in 2007, almost twice as often as anyone else.” Bockmier made a $200 political donation to a Clark County Commissioner with whom he reportedly met with 19 times.

Bockmier appeared in a report about lobbyists who appeared before Clark County Commissioners and what their roles were. According to The Columbian, Bockmier appeared on their “schedules 37 times, almost twice as often as anyone else,” including 18 with Commissioner Marcus Boldt and 19 with Steven Stuart. The Columbian reported, “donations to commissioner races since 2000: $200 to Stuart…” According to Washington State’s Public Disclosure Commission, Bockmier also donated to $100 Stuart in 2010. Bockmier donated to Boldt in 2008, 2012 and 2015 for $100 in each instance. Bockmier’s company Shamrock 51 Productions is listed as having donated $100 to Boldt in 2012.  His conversations involved discussing a proposed casino outside La Center, which his clients opposed.

The Columbian reported Bockmier, along with other lobbyists, met with commissioners 19 times in 2007 before a state board rejected the 2004 county-Cowlitz Tribe deal on June 22, 2007, which would have provided public services to the casino in exchange for a share of the casino’s revenue. According to the board, there had not been enough public airing before the county signed the deal. The Columbian reported such a deal would make federal officials more likely to approve the casino.

Bockmier, representing La Center’s cardrooms, met with Clark County Commissioners Marc Boldt and Steve Stewart within a week. Over the rest of the year he, and two other lobbyists who worked for the Confederated Tribes of the Grand Ronde, who were owners of the rival Spirit Mountain Casino, appeared on the schedules of the Stuart and Boldt 34 more times. [Michael Anderson, “It can pay to have … FRIENDS in HIGH PLACES,” The Columbian, 06/01/08, Michael Andersen, “Friends in High Places – Effort to thwart casino near La Center keeps lobbyists busy,” The Columbian, 06/01/08, Search for John Bockmier, Public Disclosure Commission, accessed 07/26/18, Search for Shamrock 51 Productions, Public Disclosure Commission, accessed 07/26/18]

The Cowlitz Tribe’s casino broke ground in February of 2016. Bockmier still called for the casino to be built elsewhere.

The Cowlitz Tribe’s casino broke ground in February of 2016; the project was still in litigation at the time of the groundbreaking. Some of the concerns cited by the opponents of the casino included the wastewater treatment plant and disposal system. Tribal Chairman William Iyall said that they would meet all the environmental protection requirements and that “we’re going to build a better community for everyone at this junction, and that will be in spite of what the cardrooms are doing,” Bockmier responded “’This isn’t an effort to stall their project. This is an effort to see that the project is built in another location where it would be more appropriate. That’s been our stance for 15 years.’” [Marissa Luck, “COWLITZ CASINO RISES” The Daily News, 02/16/16]  

A local newspaper called Bockmier one of the “‘big five’ lobbyists of Clark County government.”

In an opinion column in the The Columbian called Bockmier one of the “big five lobbyists” and noted he represented the La Center cardrooms, who did not want to see a tribal casino in the county.  The column continued, “in 2007, Bockmier’s name appeared on the commissioners’ schedules 37 times, but he isn’t saying what he said to them.” [Editorial Board, “In our view: Illuminate Lobbyists [Opinion],” The Columbian, 06/06/08]


Current Activity

Bockmier is listed on Director of Intergovernmental and External Affairs Todd Wynn’s calendar for a meet and greet video call on December 1, 2017 with Steve Wachowski, Senior Advisor to the Secretary of Alaska. [Todd Wynn October-December 2017 Calendar, accessed 07/25/18]


Financials

According to ProPublica, Bockmier’s salary at Shamrock 51 Productions prior to his employment at the Department of Interior was $120,865.

The cardrooms Bockmier represented as a lobbyist in Washington included Last Frontier, New Phoenix, the Palace and Chips. According to ProPublica, he received compensation from M.T. & M Gaming and Michel’s Development.

According to the Vigilant database, Bockmier received compensation from Jimmy G’s Casino ($3,500.01 in 2002, $7,000.02 in 2003), the Entertainment Industry Coalition ($8,866 in 2002), Schwabe Williamson & Wyatt PC ($$7,187.50 in 2007, $1,120 in 2008), and Steve Michels ($1,500 in 2006, $2,000 in 2007).

ProPublica lists Bockmier’s job as “Senior Advisor for Strategic Communication and Outreach” with a salary of $112,021.

[Michael Anderson, “It can pay to have … FRIENDS in HIGH PLACES,” The Columbian, 06/1/08, John Bockmier, ProPublica, accessed 07/30/18, Search for John Bockmier, Vigilant database, accessed 07/26/18, LinkedIn Profile for Kris Bockmier, accessed 07/30/18]


Other Information

John Bockmier testified in Oregon regarding a bill on “social games.”

On March 29th, 2017, Bockmier submitted testimony the Oregon House Business & Labor Committee regarding HB2190, which would allow cities and counties to authorize social games only if they are operated and controlled by charitable, fraternal or religious organizations. Bockmier said that he was testifying after his clients indicated interest in opening a poker room in Oregon but had concerns regarding the lack of regulations. Bockmier said he and his clients “are in strong support of this bill.” [HB 2190 Staff Measure Summary, Oregon Legislative Assembly, accessed 7/30/18, John Bockmier, Testimony in Support of HB 2190, 03/29/18, accessed 07/30/18]

John Bockmier cited minimum wage increase and rising healthcare costs as reasons for cardroom closure.

The Chips Casino in La Center, WA closed in January 2014, less than three weeks after the implementation of the state’s 13-cents-per-hour minimum wage increase. According to Bockmier, operating costs had gone up because most of the former employees were being paid minimum wage. Bockmier also cited the increase in healthcare for employees. [Tyler Graf, “La Center cardroom Chips Casino closes”, The Columbian, 01/14/14]

Bockmier refused to reveal his hourly pay as a lobbyist.

When profiled in a 2008 article about his work as a lobbyist, Bockmier declined to reveal his hourly pay: “Hourly rate: Won’t say.” [Michael Anderson, “It can pay to have … FRIENDS in HIGH PLACES,” The Columbian, 06/01/08]

John Bockmier and Department of Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke posed for a photo with former Las Vegas City Council member Michele Fiore.

Michele Fiore is a controversial figure who has discussed her desire to shoot Syrian refugees.

[Lee S. Gliddon Jr, “LAS VEGAS – CITY COUNCILWOMAN MICHELE FIORE NOTIFIES OF 03/07/2017 MEETING AND OF EASTER EGG HUNT,” Conservative Patriot blog, (03/8/18), accessed 7/25/18, Scott Lucas, “Michele Fiore says she wants to shoot Syrian refugees,” Las Vegas Sun, (12/7/15), accessed 07/25/18]

John Bockmier has “liked” Milo Yiannopoulos. 

[Facebook Profile Likes for John Bockmier, accessed 07/24/18]

He also liked a Department of Interior editorial by Ryan Zinke on “America First” energy policy.

[Facebook Profile Likes for John Bockmier, accessed 07/24/18]

According to the Washington Secretary of State’s Corporations and Charities Division, a John Bockmier is the registered agent to a “Lunar Media, LLC.”

The business’s status had been inactive since October 1, 2008. [Lunar Media LLC, Washington Secretary of State, accessed 07/30/18]


Special Interests

Faith Vander Voort

Leadership
/
Deputy Press Secretary

Background Information
Previous Employers

Republican Study Committee, U.S. House of Representatives

Congressman Gosar, U.S. House of Representatives

Angela McGlowan, Fox News Political Analyst

Political Strategies and Insights

The Heritage Foundation/The Daily Signal

Fischella for Congress

Waller and Company

CelebExperts

Congressman King, U.S. House of Representatives

Additional Background on Employers of Note:

As an intern with The Heritage Foundation, Vander Voort wrote a piece for The Daily Signal on Sen. Rand Paul’s (R-KY) investigation into alleged wasteful spending regarding a climate change project.

In her piece for The Daily Signal, Vander Voort outlined Sen. Rand’s Waste Report that investigated the participation of the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) in the Climate Ready project to help the Philippines address rising sea levels due to climate change. Vander Voort’s article cites the Waste Report, calling the project an ‘egregious exampl[e] of waste within the U.S. government’ as well as a quote from the group Citizens Against Government Waste, who said ‘Sen. Paul’s report clearly illustrates everything that’s wrong with the grant process. Taxpayer dollars are allocated for a purpose that’s not in America’s direct national interest…Taxpayers’ money should only be spent on critical national priorities and must include several layers of oversight requiring specific details on how and where the money will be used.’” [Faith Vander Voort, “Rand Paul Waste Report Highlights $25 Million Climate Change,” The Daily Signal, 06/08/16]

Vander Voort called Rep. Steve King (R-IA) “one of the good ones” and “a man of principle, and I will always be proud to have my name tied to his for the rest of my professional career.”

On December 12, 2015, Vander Voort wrote in a now-deleted a blog entry on her personal website that she ended her time as an intern in King’s office on December 10th. She expressed gratitude to King’s office and stated, “Let me be clear, Congressman King is one of the good ones. In an institution of greed and power, I am extremely honored to have worked for Steve King. He is a man of principle, and I will always be proud to have my name tied to his for the rest of my professional career.” [Faith Vander Voort’s personal blog, via archive.org, 07/18/18]

Vander Voort calls King “a genuinely good guy” and says that she has a “great deal of respect” for him. She wrote she was “extremely proud” to work in his office.

On her blog Vander Voort says “it makes sense for Congressman King to have quality people working for him because he too is a genuinely good guy, and that’s not something you see in politics every day. I have a great deal of respect for Congressman Steve King. He is a truth-teller who has no time for political correctness. Congressman King is an unwavering defender of conservative ideals, even when it’s not the popular thing to do. With that said, I am extremely proud to work in this office.” [Faith Vander Voort’s personal blog, via archive.org, 07/18/18]

Vander Voort, while she was the spokeswoman for Rep. Paul Gosar, accused an environmental group of releasing a statement that was “not only intentionally inflammatory but deliberately factually bankrupt” and accused the Center for Biological Diversity (CBD) of “claiming the legislation will be used to build a science-fiction-style solar skyscraper.”

Senator Jeff Flake (R-AZ) testified before the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources regarding one of the bills he sponsored that would turn control of federal land in rural La Paz County over to local authorities and would potentially open it to energy exploration. CBD reviewed Flake’s bill and criticized it for “shameless giveaways to private companies.”

Although the bill did not specify whether land in La Paz County would be targeted for energy exploration, CBD released a statement that the 8,000 acres would be used to build a “2,400 foot ‘solar chimney.’” “Vander Voort called the release ‘not only intentionally inflammatory but deliberately factually bankrupt’ and accused the center of ‘claiming the legislation will be used to build a science-fiction-style solar skyscraper.’” [Joshua Bowling, “Bills would sell federal lands in La Paz County; Flake, Gosar tout energy potential; environmental groups raise objections,” The Arizona Republic, 02/10/18]


Current Activity

Faith Vander Voort defended a change in media protocol that required U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) employees to clear all media inquiries with Interior press prior to interviews.

Interior Press Secretary Heather Swift sent out an email stating standard protocol for a national outlet “‘such as the Washington Post, Discovery, NYT, The Atlantic, CNN, etc. — go through approval. Additionally, topics that are either very controversial or that are likely to become a national story even if a regional reporter is asking …also go through approval.’” A U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) official said in a follow-up email that Swift “’is in the position of clearing interview requests for all bureaus’ within the Department of the Interior, which includes the USGS, the National Park Service, the Bureau of Land Management and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.”

USGS employees spoke on the condition of anonymity as they were not authorized to speak about the new interview protocol. This new procedure would impact the ability of scientists at USGS to respond to media inquiries in a timely manner and that the public would see less knowledge from the USGS as reporters would seek information elsewhere. The changes in protocol also allows the communication office at Interior to reject interview requests on scientific topics.

Interior Deputy Press Secretary Faith Vander Voort responded in an email that “the characterization that there is any new policy or that it for some reason targets scientists is completely false.” Vander Voort did not respond to a question asking what prompted the change in protocol and stated that Interior’s communications office follows the media guidelines set in 2012 by the Obama administration.

[Rong-Gong Lin II, “Clearance before airing; A new Trump administration directive tightens rules for federal scientists talking to reporters; some worry about a chilling effect,” The Los Angeles Times, 06/25/18]

Faith Vander Voort defended new Interior Department guidelines that required USGS employees to “submit their presentation titles for review” before attending conferences to ensure that their attendance would “advance the department’s priorities.”

After media reports that USGS employees to “submit their presentation titles for review” by the Interior Department before attending conferences to ensure that their attendance would “advance the department’s priorities,” Vander Voort replied in an email that due to budget limits at the Department, they could “only ‘afford to send people who have a meaningful role at the conference….if taxpayer dollars are being spent to send someone to a conference, we’d like some degree of confidence that their attendance will advance the department’s priorities.’” [Rong-Gong Lin II, “Clearance before airing; A new Trump administration directive tightens rules for federal scientists talking to reporters; some worry about a chilling effect,” The Los Angeles Times 06/25/18; Sarah Kaplan, USGS scientists face new scrutiny; Conference work must first be OK’d,” The Washington Post, 06/25/18]

Faith Vander Voort claimed environmental groups are “only interested in wasting taxpayer dollars on frivolous litigation.”

After the Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit rejected arguments by the Western Organization of Resource Councils and Friends of the Earth that the government was obligated by the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) to “update its environmental impact statement in light of new scientific evidence on the role of coal in climate change,” Department of Interior Secretary Faith Vander Voort said, “‘for the second time, a federal judge proved that the environmental special interest groups are only interested in wasting taxpayer dollars on frivolous litigation. The department will continue to run a responsible coal leasing program that supports jobs and economic vitality for rural communities.’” [JP Casey, “US appeals court upholds lease of federal land for coal mining,” Mining Technology, (06/20/18)]

After two Congressmen called for an investigation into whether Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke violated the Hatch Act and called for a separate inquiry regarding the National Park Service scientific integrity policy, Vander Voort defended Zinke saying, “‘The Secretary works closely with career ethics officials and lawyers at all times to ensure that his conduct complies completely with all laws, rules, and regulations.'”

Congressman Raul Grijalva and Congressman Donald McEachin, on April 5th, 2018, wrote a letter to the US Office of the Special Counsel to ask “for an investigation into whether Zinke broke the act when he traveled Florida to hold a press event with Florida GOP Gov. Rick Scott to announce he would exempt Florida from the new plans to expand offshore drilling off the US coast.” They argued that while the event “‘involved matters related to (Interior’s) work, several facts may signify that the real reason for holding the event was to further Rick Scott’s campaign and not to advance the Department’s mission.’”

In response to CNN’s reporting on Grijalva and McEachin’s letter, Vander Voort responded, “’The Secretary works closely with career ethics officials and lawyers at all times to ensure that his conduct complies completely with all laws, rules, and regulations.’” [Clare Foran and Sara Ganim, “Democrats call for investigations into Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke, National Park Service,” CNN, 04/06/18]


Other Information

In a since-deleted October 10, 2015 blog post, Vander Voort claimed  that a Muslim “could never serve” as President of the United States “because their own religion strictly prohibits them from taking an oath to anything other than Allah.” According to Vander Voort, that incumbent would be a “shoddy” Muslim or be impeached as “Shariah Law and the United States Constitution are not compatible.”

On her personal blog Vander Voort defended HUD Secretary Ben Carson  from criticism over comments he made about Muslims, “to his defense, a devout Muslim could never serve in the Oval Office of the United States of America, not because of exclusion or discrimination, but because their own religion strictly prohibits them from taking an oath to anything other than Allah. That being said, if a Muslim were to be elected president, they would either be a shoddy and inconsistent Muslim or subject to impeachment the moment they took office because Shariah Law and the United States Constitution are not compatible.”

According to Vander Voort, “radical Islam is the single most pressing issue of our world today.” [Faith Vander Voort personal website via archive.org, accessed 07/18/18]

In the same blog post Vander Voort appears to claim in that “anchor babies” are not U.S. Citizens but rather “illegal aliens.”

Vander Voort wrote “I watched a Buzzfeed video the other day suggesting a series of alternative names we could use instead of ‘anchor babies’ because Mexicans find it offensive. One suggestion of an alternative title was ‘Americans’. I’m sorry Buzzfeed, but you need to re-read the 14th amendment to the Constitution of the United States because those babies are illegal aliens. Not Americans. Why do we strive to make a fancy and comfortable title for someone who entered our nation illegally? Because heaven forbid we offend them. Here, let’s grant them amnesty while we’re at it.”

[Faith Vander Voort personal website via archive.org, accessed 07/18/18]

Faith Vander Voort is active on Twitter, and has posted tweets supporting the Trump administration and Rep. Paul Gosar, her former boss.

You’re lying to yourself if you can’t acknowledge how many campaign promises @POTUS has kept in his #First500days. Proud of this Administration. Really proud.

[Tweet by Faith Vander Voort, 06/4/18, accessed 07/18/18]

Tweeted: “Loved being your full-time hype man, Dr. G” in a quote tweet of Rep. Paul Gosar’s tweet acknowledging Vander Voort’s move to the Department of the Interior.

[Tweet by Faith Vander Voort, 03/08/18, accessed 07/18/18]

Vander Voort tweeted a picture of Donald Trump giving a thumbs up in his meeting with Kim Jong-Un, saying: “Speechless. Proud of our POTUS.”

[Tweet by Faith Vander Voort, 06/12/18, accessed 07/18/18]

Vander Voort wrote a pre-2016 election opinion piece for Azusa Pacific University’s newspaper, The Cause, on November 4th, 2016 discussing what she would believe her hypothetical daughter would face should Hillary Clinton win the election.  

In her column, Vander Voort wrote, “My daughter will grow up outwardly rejecting the God-ordained gift of love between a man and a woman because she belongs to a nation where women paint men as pigs. But inwardly, she will sincerely believe that she is incapable of greatness without a man going before her.”

She continued, saying, “my daughter will quickly master when to leverage her femininity to her advantage and when to pretend it is merely a social construct rather than something God blessed her with. Her femininity will be used to seek special treatment rather than equality.

My daughter will view the Constitution solely as a faded piece of paper rather than the supreme law of the United States of America. Her land of the free will be slave to big government and grand overreach, and her home of the brave will celebrate violent riots of masked marchers and looters. Her military will no longer be the strongest in the world, and the servicemen who risk their lives for her freedom will receive Vietnam-era homecomings.”

[Faith Vander Voort, “My daughter’s America,” The Clause, 11/06/16]

In a deleted entry dated October 1, 2015 on her blog, Vander Voort wrote Planned Parenthood was “heralding the ‘war on women’” and “preaching that we should all be offended that some people would actually consider a fetus inside the womb a child.”

She then discusses Planned Parenthood and abortion, saying this is in the news as “Planned Parenthood and pro-choice crusaders are heralding the “war on women” and preaching that we should all be offended that some people would actually consider a fetus inside the womb a child.  Our voice for the voice-less seems to violently offend their ‘right to choose.’”

[Faith Vander Voort personal website via archive.org, accessed 07/18/18]

Vander Voort created an image spread highlighting the Unauthorized Spending Accountability Act, which was intended to reduce government spending.

As part of her portfolio on her website, Vander Voort created an image regarding Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers introducing the Unauthorized Spending Accountability Act. Social media posts are shared as part of the image, with text including “our job is to stand up for you, and we have your back,” and the image of people with their backs to the camera.

[“Design,” Faith Vander Voort personal website, accessed 07/19/18]

Vander Voort has claimed that the US is in an “era political correctness,” and, in 2015 wrote a blog post to deride political correctness with the title of “Did I Offend You?” The blog post has since been deleted.

On October 10, 2015, Vander Voort wrote in a deleted blog entry that “Americans today are looking for every opportunity they can find to be offended about something… literally anything. This era of political correctness we live in has resulted in an ‘I’m offended’ culture where truth is demonized. It’s watered down and molded into something we can live with because the truth can be terrifying.”

In the following paragraph of her blog Vander Voort says “leftists in the media and academia pulled out their go-to ‘PC’ card, and rather than engage in a dialogue about what he said, told Muslims they are entitled to be offended and then turned to the rest of us saying, ‘shame on you’ for being ‘offensive.’”

[Faith Vander Voort personal website via archive.org, accessed 07/18/18]

Vander Voort supports blocking commentary on a public official’s social media page. When she worked for Rep. Gosar, Vander Voort defended his decision to block Facebook users if they “‘don’t adhere to our policies.’”

Rep. Paul Gosar (R-AZ) defended his decision to block followers on his Congressional Facebook page, saying “‘if you think a block on Facebook is infringing upon your constitutional right to petition the government, you are sorely mistaken.’” Gosar said he blocked posters who wrote about off-topic discussions or used words and phrases including profanity, name-calling, personal attacks, and “known factual inaccuracies.”

Gosar also wrote “‘…quite frankly, we don’t care if a Facebook ‘block’ offends you.’”

Vander Voort said that Gosar’s comment policy was clearly posted on the Facebook page and “‘A lot of members of Congress have these disclaimers that say these are our rules, please follow it. And we abide by it…We have no problem blocking people who don’t adhere to our policies.’” She said she did not have an exact number of blocked users but that they numbered in the “hundreds.”

She said the staff at Gosar’s office had dealt with abusive comments for years and that it had escalated with the upcoming GOP health care bills. As one example, Vander Voort cited “‘a stretch when Mr. Gosar was commonly called terrible and offensive things, like ‘Hitler.’ Of course, that isn’t tolerated.’”

Vander Voort specifically commented on threats on social media, stating “’It just goes to show that threats on Facebook and other forms of social media to someone’s life or someone’s well-being are actual threats,” she said. “And it needs to be seen that way.’”

[Bob Christie, “Rep. Gosar tells blocked Facebook followers, ‘I don’t care,’” Associated Press, 06/10/17; Ronald J. Hansen, “Gosar fires back at his critics on social media; Lawmaker: I’ll block users on Facebook who post ‘hostile,’ ‘crass’ things,” The Arizona Republic, 07/08/17]

Vander Voort wrote a column titled “I wish Milo [Yiannopolous] the very best.”

In a deleted blog post from February 27th, 2017, Vandver Voort wrote that while “struggled  to gauge my own feelings” regarding Yiannopoulos, she felt “he brought many tough issues to light, some of which I have agreed with. For an example, he tore apart modern-day ‘feminism’ and called it out like the hypocrisy it is.” She wrote “I wish Milo the very best.”

[Faith Vander Voort, “I wish Milo Yiannopoulos the very best,” The Daily Nerv, 02/27/17]

Vander Voort called Steve Bannon “the Man Behind the Curtain and Donald Trump is the microphone.”

As part “The Depolorables” series that appears to have been deleted from her website, Vander Voort profiled members of the Trump administration, including Steve Bannon. After relating her experience about watching The Wizard of Oz and being fascinated by the man behind the curtain, Vander Voort wrote, “with blatant bravado, the old man used a microphone behind a facade to maximize his potential. Maximize his power. Steve Bannon is the Man Behind the Curtain, and Donald Trump is the microphone. Pay no attention to that man behind the curtain.”

Vander Voort can be seen holding a printed version of her series that is autographed by Trump on her website. Although the full series appears to have been deleted, the section on Fox News reporter Jesse Waters can also be seen on the “Design” page of the site. [Faith Vander Voort, “The Deplorables: A series by Faith Vander Voort, accessed via archive.org, 07/19/18, “Design,” Faith Vander Voort personal website, accessed 07/19/18]


Special Interests
Heritage Foundation (Resource Development on Public Lands)

Vander Voort worked at the Daily Signal, which is the multimedia news organization of the Heritage Foundation, a conservative think tank that has received almost $800,000 from ExxonMobil and millions from the family foundations of the oil-billionaire Koch brothers.

Learn More

also connected to:

Evan Wilson

Leadership
/
Field Coordinator

Political Connections

Evan Wilson has a long history of working on the campaigns and in the government offices of Montana Republicans.

Evan Wilson claims on LinkedIn that he was the campaign manager for Rehberg for Congress from October 2009 to December 2010. Federal Election Commission records show he was paid by the campaign from July 2010 to December 2010. During this period he was paid $12,911 in wages by the campaign. In the first four months of 2011 he was chief of staff for the Republicans in the Montana House of Representatives before working as a caseworker in the Office of Congressman Denny Rehberg for the rest of 2011. He was paid by the Office of Congressman Denny Rehberg $22,350 in 2011. Evan Wilson claims on LinkedIn he was the political director for Denny Rehberg’s U.S. Senate campaign in 2012. Federal Election Commission records do not indicate he was paid by this campaign.

When Denny Rehberg was in Congress he was an “ardent advocate” for the mining industry. Congressman Rehberg “used his influence to push Washington to approve deals sought by mining companies, including land swaps the government questions as disadvantageous to taxpayers, or opening up copper mining in northwestern Montana.” He worked in Congress against rules “intended to combat black lung disease, blamed for 10,000 miners’ deaths” in the first decade of the 21st Century. He also worked to block “rules intended to help pay for the cleanup of toxic waste at abandoned mine sites or to prevent strip mines from contaminating streams.” While in Congress he also “pushed for more access to federal lands to drill for oil and natural gas and to harvest timber,” and “to repeal rules that might limit access.”

Denny Rehberg’s federal campaigns raised $18.7 million, and $1.2 million of that came from oil, gas, and mining interests.

Evan Wilson, in 2012, was paid $396 by Republican gubernatorial candidate Jeff Essmann.

He was the western district director in the Office of Congressman Ryan Zinke from March 2015 to February 2016. Evan Wilson was paid by the Office of Congressman Ryan Zinke $43,629 in 2015 and 2016.

In 2016 he was paid $59,113 in wages to manage Ryan Zinke’s congressional campaign, and in the first five months of 2017 he was paid $34,375 for work as a policy advisor in the Office of Congressman Ryan Zinke. The four months after that he worked in the Office of Congressman Greg Gianforte, and was paid $16,167. Later in 2017 he was paid $9,360 in wages to work on the congressional campaign of Greg Gianforte.

Sources: [LinkedIn Profile for Evan Wilson, accessed 10/17/18, Legistorm Profile for Evan Wilson, accessed 10/17/18, Political Moneyline Search for Evan Wilson, accessed 10/17/18, Montana Campaign Electronic Reporting System Campaign Expenditure Search for Evan Wilson, accessed 10/18/17, Denny Rehberg, Career Summary, Center for Responsive Politics, accessed 10/18/17, and Eric Lipton, “Mining Companies Back Friend’s Bid for Senate,” The New York Times, 12/24/11]

Evan Wilson has contributed more than $2,800 to Republican politicians in Montana since 2010.

Evan Wilson contributed $200 to Denny Rehberg’s U.S. Senate campaign in 2012 and $255 to Ryan Zinke’s congressional campaign in 2015.

He contributed $75 to Republican state Senate candidate Roy Brown in 2010, $50 to Republican state Senate candidate Frederick Moore in 2010, $160 to Republican state House candidate Errol Galt in 2012, $600 to Republican gubernatorial candidate Jeff Essmann in 2012, $310 to Republican attorney general candidate Timothy Fox in 2012, $200 to Republican Secretary of State candidate Scott Aspenlieder in 2012, and $1,000 to Republican gubernatorial candidate Greg Gianforte in 2016.

Sources: [Political Moneyline Search for Evan Wilson, accessed 10/17/18, Montana Campaign Electronic Reporting System Campaign Contribution Search for Evan Wilson, accessed 10/18/17]


Financials

Financial Disclosure

Source: Office of Government Ethics


Other Information

Evan Wilson is sympathetic to the concerns of local officials who complain about “restrictions on local oil and gas development,” including restrictions on “‘lands with wilderness characteristics.’”

“With a Republican in the White House, Park County [WY] commissioners say it’s high time for the federal government to lift some restrictions on local oil and gas development.” Commissioners were “unhappy with parts of a 2015 land use plan that governs the management of millions of acres of public lands across the Big Horn Basin. They say…the Bureau of Land Management’s plan are holding back the minerals industry.”

“‘I can appreciate the sentiment…and it is well-received,’ responded Evan Wilson, a Denver-based BLM official.” Wilson who “said he hears similar concerns about lands with wilderness characteristics on a weekly basis,” responded, “‘this is not a unique problem and it is one we are all ears to.’” [CJ Baker, Commissioners urge feds to ease restrictions on oil and gas industry,” Powell Tribune, 06/19/18]


Special Interests

Kyle Scherer

Indian Affairs
/
Deputy Solicitor

Background Information
Previous Employers

Additional Background on Employers of Note:

Kyle Scherer gave legal advice to representatives of Concho Resources Inc, an oil and gas company.

On May 30, 3014, Simpson Thatcher & Bartlett issued a news release stating it had advised the underwriters on a 7,475,000-share equity offering by Concho ResourcesInc. Kyle Scherer was one of the attorneys who had helped. Concho Resources “is an independent exploration and production company engaged in the acquisition, development and exploration of oil and natural gas properties. Concho’s operations are concentrated in the Permian Basin of Southeast New Mexico and West Texas.” [Search for Kyle Schrerer, Simpson Thatcher & Bartlett, 05/30/14, “Homepage,” Concho, accessed 08/02/18]

When he worked at Simpson Thatcher, Scherer’s clients included Peabody Energy and CCNG Energy Partners.

According to his resume, Scherer’s clients at Simpson Thacher & Bartlett LLP

included Peabody Energy and CCNG Energy Partners. Peabody Energy describes itself as “the leading global pure-play coal company.” CCNG Energy is an oilfield waste disposal company that went bankrupt in 2016. [Resumes, Department of Interior, accessed 08/27/18, “About Us”, Peabody Energy, accessed 08/27/18, Jerry Bohnen, “Bankruptcy Leads to New Owner of Oilfield Waste Disposal Company,” OK Energy Today, 05/06/16]


Financials

Financial Disclosure

[Office of Government Ethics]


Other Information

Scherer “liked” a post regarding why then-Judge Neil Gorsuch was deserving of support from Native Americans.

Scherer liked a post written by attorney Robert Odawi Porter on why Gorsuch was worthy of Indian Country support.

[All Activity by Kyle Scherer, LinkedIn, accessed 08/02/18]

According to his LinkedIn Profile, Scherer was the Director of Native American Alumni of Harvard University from 2015-2017.

[LinkedInProfile for Kyle Scherer, accessed 08/02/18]

Scherer was listed as a Consultant on the “Annual Report” from the Office on Violence Against Women Tribal Consultation. His title is listed as “Counsel” with Office of the Associate Attorney General. [“Annual Report,” Office on Violence Against Women Tribal Consultation 2017, accessed 08/02/18]

 


Special Interests
Concho Resources Inc. (Resource Development on Public Lands)

As an attorney in private practice, Scherer gave legal advice to the underwriters working on a share equity offering by Concho Resources Inc. independent oil and natural gas company headquartered in Midland, Texas.

Learn More

also connected to:

Peabody Energy (Resource Development on Public Lands)

When he was an attorney in private practice, one of Scherer's clients was coal giant Peabody Energy.

Learn More

also connected to:

CCNG Partners (Resource Development on Public Lands)

When he was an attorney in private practice, one of Scherer's clients was CCNG Energy, an oilfield waste disposal company.

Learn More

also connected to:

Christopher "Chris" Stolte

Leadership
/
White House Fellow

Background Information
Previous Employers

Chris Stolte agreed that the administration was “crushing it” regarding the low bids to lease land in the Natural Petroleum Reserve in Alaska. He also emphasized removing “unnecessary regulations” would be better for business.

In a December 2017 email to Vincent DeVito regarding the low and few bids to lease land in Alaska in the Natural Petroleum Reserve, Stolte wrote, “overall, would have certainly been nice to get more bids, however, that is somewhat secondary.” He continued, “amazing to see what happens when you signal to a market that you will ensure unnecessary regulations will be removed and that you will act as a better business partner going forward.”

Stolte wrote, “in short, I fully agreeing that the administration is crushing it, there’s been so much opportunity locked-up or restrained during the last administration, it seems like there’s a flood of people wanting to get their investment going.” He continues to state that this has been visible in projects with significant investment and thorough “environmental stewardship; yet had their permits and timelines pushed for years.” He concludes the email stating, “Imagine what will happen when we reduce the permitting times…” [17-00938cc, Page 9].

In August 2015, the Obama administration approved Shell Oil’s bid to drill for oil in Alaska’s Chukchi Sea. Shell would abandon its Arctic search one month later. A source at Shell told Reuters, “the company had found U.S. regulation very prescriptive and in some cases contradictory, making it difficult to navigate the regulatory process.” Stolte was formerly employed by Shell. [Elana Schor, “Obama administration OKs Shell bid to drill for oil in Arctic,” POLITICO, (8/17/15), accessed 7/24/18, Karolin Schaps, “Royal Dutch Shell pulls plug on Arctic exploration,” Reuters, (9/28/15), accessed 7/24/18]

Stolte is listed in the calendars of James Cason and Vincent DeVito as an attendee of “AK Oil & Gas Meeting” calls and as an attendee of a discussion on the “Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act.”

Stolte is listed on James Cason’s calendar on September 5th, 2017 as being scheduled to attend an “AK Oil & Gas Meeting” video call. He is also listed on Vincent DeVito’s calendar on September 28th, 2017 as being scheduled to attend an “AK Oil & Gas Meeting” conference call. [James Cason Calendar September 2017, Page 4, James Cason Calendar September 2017, Page 34]

On Vincent DeVito’s calendar for November 30, 2017 Stolte is listed as attending a discussion call on the Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act (ANILCA). [Vincent DeVito Calendar December 2017, Page 1]

Stolte attended multiple meetings of the Royalty Policy Committee’s (RPC) Subcommittee on Planning, Analysis, & Competitiveness. A representative of Shell Oil, Stolte’s former employer, also attends these meetings.

Kevin Simpson is the Offshore Lead, Regulatory Policy and Advocacy at Shell according to his Linkedin profile. [LinkedIn Profile for Kevin Simpson, accessed 07/10/17]

In the Planning, Analysis, & Competitiveness Subcommittee meeting on December 1st, 2017, Stolte and Simpson were both present. [Planning, Analysis, & Competitiveness Subcommittee meeting on December 1st, 2017, accessed 7/24/18]

Stolte and Simpson both attended the Planning, Analysis, & Competitiveness Subcommittee meeting on January 5th, 2018. [Planning, Analysis, & Competitiveness Subcommittee meeting on January 5th, 2018, accessed 7/24/18]

Stolte and Simpson both attended the meeting on January 19th, 2018. [Planning, Analysis, & Competitiveness Subcommittee meeting on January 19th, 2018, accessed 7/24/18]

Stolte and Simpson both attended the February 2nd, 2018 meeting. [Planning, Analysis, & Competitiveness Subcommittee meeting on February 2nd, 2018, accessed 7/24/18]

Stolte and Simpson both attended the Planning, Analysis, & Competitiveness Subcommittee meeting on February 16th, 2018. [Planning, Analysis, & Competitiveness Subcommittee meeting on February 16th, 2018, accessed 7/24/18]

Stolte and Simpson both attended the meeting on February 27th, 2018. [Planning, Analysis, & Competitiveness Subcommittee meeting on February 27th, 2018, accessed 7/24/18]

Stolte and Simpson both attended the meeting on March 16th, 2018. [Planning, Analysis, & Competitiveness Subcommittee meeting on March 16th, 2018, accessed 7/24/18]

Stolte was invited to meet with Independent Petroleum Association of America members.

According to an email received from the Interior Department, Stolte was been invited to meet with members of the Independent Petroleum Association of America on October 10th, 2017. [17-01063ca, Page 512]


Other Information

Stolte is listed as a member of the Tribal Energy Resource Agreements Work Group of Interior’s newly formed Royalty Policy Committee.

[Recommendation: TERA, accessed 7/23/18]

Stolte has extensive academic experience.

During his tenure with Shell, Stolte was listed as the author of two papers discussing the process of creating these wells, the impacts of their construction and what data was collected. [Christopher James Stolte, Chris S. Wu, Darryrl C. Carroll, Liang Jin, Shiqian Wang, “The Path from Vertical to Horizontal Shale Gas Wells,” accessed 7/19/18, Chris Stolte, Chris Wu, Darryrl Carroll, Wang Shiqian, “Coiled Tubing and Well Testing Experiences on Sichuan Horizontal Shale Gas Wells,” accessed 7/19/18]

Stolte served as an advisor on a thesis regarding hydraulic fracturing and its impact in the Appalachian basin. [Fredrick Woodward, “Recycling Produced Water in Hydraulic Fracturing: A Comprehensive Analysis of its Impact on the Formations of the Appalachian Basin,” accessed 7/19/18]

In 2014, while a student at MIT, Stolte gave a presentation regarding the technologies being used in the oil and gas industry, including its impacts, how to mitigate risk with these technologies and the role played by environmental and safety professionals. New Technologies Being Employed in the Oil & Gas Industry With a Focus on the Unconventional Gas and Ultra-Deepwater Sectors, Harvard-NIOSH Education and Research Center Environmental and Occupational Medicine and Epidemiology Program, 12/1/14, accessed 7/19/18]

Stolte spoke about his MBA experience at MIT.

Stolte appeared in a YouTube video to talk about MIT’s MBA program.

[The MIT Executive MBA: Forging Global Connections, via MITSloan, 01/29/16, (0:00)]

Stolte’s acceptance as a White House Fellow was noted by his alma mater, the Colorado School of Mines.

Colorado School of Mines tweeted about Stolte becoming a WH Fellow.

[Tweet by Colorado School of Mines, 09/25/17, accessed 7/20/18]


Special Interests
Shell Oil Company (Resource Development on Public Lands)

Stolte previously worked at multinational oil corporation Shell.

Learn More

also connected to:

Katie Mills

Leadership
/
Counsel, Immediate Office of the Secretary

Political Connections

In 2016, Katie Mills gave $100 to Pat McCrory’s gubernatorial campaign, and in 2007, gave a $25 in-kind contribution to Fayetteville Republican Women.

[North Carolina State Board of Elections and Ethics]


Other Information

Katie Mills has been involved in pageantry since 2010 and kept an active blog when she was Miss Greater Sampson in 2010.

She also kept a blog when she was Miss Fayetteville in 2011. [Katie Mills, “Miss Greater Sampson 2010,” WordPress, accessed 08/07/2018; Katie Mills, “missfayetteville2011,” WordPress, accessed 08/07/2018]

Katie Mills pushed for  watermelons as an alternative fuel source.

[Chick Jacobs, “Eastover resident touts watermelons for biofuel use,” Fayetteville Observer, 04/10/10]


Special Interests

Brandon Middleton

Leadership
/
Deputy Solicitor, Water Resources

Background Information
Previous Employers

Additional Background on Employers of Note:

While at the Pacific Legal Foundation, Middleton sued Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) over the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta Water Supply.

In 2009, while at the Pacific Legal Foundation, Brandon Middleton was part of the legal team that represented California farmers suing the Fish and Wildlife Service for allegedly violating the Commerce Clause of the Constitution by cutting off the farmers’ water supply. This was part of an ongoing fight regarding water in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta. The case was closed the next day. [Colin Sullivan, “ENDANGERED SPECIES: Calif. farmers sue over federal efforts to protect delta smelt,” E&E News, 05/22/09, Stewart & Jasper Orchards et al v. United States Fish and Wildlife Service et al, 1:09-cv-00892-LJO-DLB, 05/21/09]

While at the Pacific Legal Foundation, Middleton fought to remove the valley elderberry Longhorn Beetle from the threatened species list.

On September 9, 2010, the Pacific Legal Foundation filed papers with the US Fish and Wildlife Service to have the valley elderberry longhorn beetle removed from the federal threatened species list. The PLF attorneys represented a group including Sacramento, CA landowners, businesses and farmers. Middleton was quoted from a news release as saying, “In the midst of a deep recession, we should be facilitating economic development, not stifling it with unjustified restrictions on land use and job creation.” [Melanie Turner, “Developer, others seek to remove beetle from endangered list,” Sacramento Business Journal, 09/09/10]

On March 12, 2012, PLF filed another suit on behalf of farmers, property owners and levee maintenance agencies to remove the beetle from the endangered species list. Middleton was quoted as saying, “The clock has run out on the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to act.” [Matt Weiser, “Sacramento-area group sues to remove beetle from endangered list,” Sacramento Bee, 03/12/2012, North Sacramento Land Co., et al v. U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, et al, 2:12-cv-00618-JAM-CKD, 03/12/12]

While he was at the Justice Department, Middleton had several meetings with the Environmental Protection Agency and other staff over the Clean Power Plan.

On July 3, 2018, E&E News reported that an email sent on October 31, 2017 revealed Middleton, as a member of the Justice Department’s Environment and Natural Resources Division had met with EPA and other staff regarding the Clean Power Plan, a dispute on haze in Utah and policy on oil and gas. [Zack Colman, “Trove of emails reveals constellation of climate aides,” E&E News, 07/03/18]

While working for then-Senator Jeff Sessions, Middleton met with representatives of Drummond Coal, which was lobbying Sessions to oppose federal cleanup.

On August 2, 2018, Mother Jones reported that Attorney General Jeff Sessions was named as a witness for a trial for David Roberson and Joel Gilbert. Roberson, vice president of Drummond Coal, and Gilbert, a partner in the Birmingham-based law firm Balch & Bingham, who were each “found guilty of paying off an Alabama lawmaker to oppose a federal environmental cleanup.” Mother Jones reported that Balch & Bigham and Drummond Coal were the second and third largest contributors to Sessions’s Senate career. Sessions had previously intervened with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to block the cleanup at the location at the center of the case.

According to Mother Jones, Middleton was the only named lobbying contact for a February 4th, 2015 meeting regarding the inclusion of North Birmingham’s 35th Avenue neighborhood to the National Priorities List, which is a group of highly polluted sites that are targeted for a more accelerated and extensive cleanup process. Mother Jones reported that Gilbert contacted then-Sen. Sessions’s office the day after the meeting and that on February 18th, 2015, Steve McKinney, another Balch & Bigham attorney, “McKinney spoke with Middleton ‘regarding North Birmingham.’” [Nicholas Schwellenbach, Russ Choma, and Adam Zagorin, “Bribery Trial Reveals Jeff Sessions’ Role in Blocking EPA Action Targeting One of His Biggest Donors,” Mother Jones, 08/02/18]

While working for then-Senator Sessions, Middleton worked with Drummond Coal representatives on “how to deal with the EPA’s response.”

On February 26th, 2016, Middleton reportedly delivered a letter by Sen. Sessions, Sen. Richard Shelby (R-Ala.), and Rep. Gary Palmer (R-Ala.), which had been drafted by Balch staff which “disputed the methods the EPA had used to determine responsibility for the pollution (and thus potential liability for the cleanup).” The letter “also summoned top EPA officials to a meeting ‘to discuss the concerns.’” After the letter was delivered, Balch internal records showed “Balch attorneys and Middleton exchanged emails and spoke over the phone about how to deal with the EPA’s response and prepare for the meeting with EPA officials.”

Balch & Bigham donated $1,000 to Sessions’s political action committee on June 30, 2016, and Mother Jones reported that on the same day Middleton “sent the EPA a message setting the agenda for a July 7 sit-down in Sessions’ office to discuss why the proposed Birmingham cleanup should not go forward.”

Mother Jones said Sessions had “appointed Middleton as a top deputy in the Justice Department’s environmental and natural resources division—the office responsible for bringing cases against corporate polluters, such as Drummond, to force them to fund environmental remediation.” [Nicholas Schwellenbach, Russ Choma, and Adam Zagorin, “Bribery Trial Reveals Jeff Sessions’ Role in Blocking EPA Action Targeting One of His Biggest Donors,” Mother Jones, 08/02/18]


Political Connections

According to the Louisiana Ethics Administration Program, a Brandon Middleton who resided in Alexandria, VA donated $100 to David Vitter on November 10th, 2015.

[Search for Brandon Middleton, Louisiana Ethics Administration Program, accessed 08/02/18]

 


Financials

Brandon Middleton currently makes $162,000 in his job at Interior as “Deputy Solicitor for Water Resources.”

[Brandon Middleton, ProPublica, accessed 7/31/18]


Other Information

Middleton has claimed the Endangered Species Act (ESA) “does a poor job” protecting imperiled species, and is “better understood as a job and innovation killer.”

The Endangered Species Act aims to protect and conserve imperiled species. As a Staff Attorney at the Pacific Legal Foundation, Middleton wrote a blog post titled “What the environmental movement does not want you to know,” where he claimed the ESA “not about protecting endangered species. It does a poor job at that (Does anyone really expect the status of fish species to improve as a result of biological opinions?) and is better understood as a job and innovation killer.”

Middleton claims the ESA is unpopular with those who “actually bear the brunt” of the ESA’s application and that it “places the interests of human beings below that of endangered animals.”[Endangered Species: Overview, U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, accessed 07/31/18, “What the environmental movement does not want you to know,” Pacific Legal Foundation, 07/06/09]

Middleton has claimed “the Endangered Species Act represents a triumph of environmental extremism over human progress.”

In a blog response to a post from Doug Obegi of the National Resources Defense Council on a water crisis in California, Middleton wrote “… the Endangered Species Act is the law that codifies that ‘fish before people’ mantra that Mr. Obegi for some reason believes to be a lie.” Middleton continued, “…national environmental advocates like Mr. Obegi don’t want the public to realize that it is unmistakably clear that the ESA puts fish and endangered species ahead of people.”

Middleton continued, discussing the Supreme Court case TVA v. Hill, “The Endangered Species Act and TVA v. Hill have been numerous times used to stifle the reasonable economic development — in other words, the Endangered Species Act represents a triumph of environmental extremism over human progress.” [Brandon Middleton, “reality bites: the Endangered Species Act puts fish before people,” Pacific Legal Foundation, 07/13/09, “TENNESSEE VALLEY AUTHORITY V. HILL,” The United States Department of Justice, accessed 08/1/18]

Middleton agreed with a blog post that claimed the Endangered Species Act was “’synonymous with tyranny.’”

On the Pacific Legal Foundation blog, Middleton said “it becomes more and more evident that there something inherently wrong” with the ESA. He wrote the “skepticism towards overzealous enforcement of the ESA is well-justified.” Continuing in his blog post, Middleton cites the “The American Contrarian” blog: “On this subject, Sean Paige has a great post on why those in the West think the Endangered Species Act is “’synonymous with tyranny.’” [Brandon Middleton, “The misuse of the Endangered Species Act: becoming clearer everyday,” Pacific Legal Foundation, 08/25/09]

Middleton criticized the Endangered Species Act as “inflexible” when he testified before the House Committee on Natural Resources. He said the ESA had “flaws,” and called the success rate “dismal.”

On December 6th, 2011, while he was an attorney with the Pacific Legal Foundation, Middleton appeared before the House Committee on Natural Resources to testify on the Endangered Species Act. In his opening statement, Middleton said: “The flaws behind the Endangered Species Act are numerous and well-known. Rather than provide incentives for conservation and environmental stewardship, the Endangered Species Act punishes those whose property contains land that might be used as habitat by endangered and threatened species. The statute’s success rate is dismal, at best–few species that are classified as endangered or threatened ever return to recovered, healthy populations. Further, expansive and inflexible Endangered Species Act regulation by federal agencies often frustrates innovative local and state conservation efforts, with the result being greater conflict and less compromise. These structural defects raise serious concerns over the Endangered Species Act’s efficacy as a conservation statute and demonstrate that the statute provides little meaningful benefit to endangered and threatened species.” [Brandon Middleton Testimony-The Endangered Species Act: How Litigation is Costing Jobs and Impeding True Recovery Efforts,” Hearing of the House Committee on Natural Resources, 12/06/11]

Middleton claims that the Endangered Species Act makes humans a “second priority” over endangered species.

In a December 10, 2009 post, Middleton discusses a Public Policy Institute of California paper about California’s water crisis. But, according to him, “PPIC fails to address one key question, however: Does the Endangered Species Act put species ahead of people?” He claims further down in the blog entry: “The Endangered Species Act gives first priority to endangered species.  Who gets second priority? Everyone else, including humans. When it comes to debate on California’s water policy, this reality should not be ignored.” [Brandon Middleton, “Revisiting myths and the Endangered Species Act,” Pacific Legal Foundation, 12/10/09]

Middleton wrote a blog post asking: “Is anyone else tired of the word ‘conservation?’” The first line of the post was: “I know I am.”

On a Pacific Legal Foundation blog post dated June 21, 2010, Middleton wrote, “Is anyone else tired of the word ‘conservation’? He responds to his own question in the affirmative: “I know I am.” The blog entry continues with Middleton discussing regulations from the federal government to protect the delta smelt and other fish species and says: “Sadly, the government felt that considering the human impacts of ESA restrictions was unnecessary. At the conclusion of the blog, he writes, “The point: the next time you’re asked to conserve, be sure to do your part to help California’s water supply.  Just don’t expect the federal government to do the same–it’s gone fishin’.” [Brandon Middleton, “Is anyone else tired of the word ‘conservation’?,” Pacific Legal Foundation, 06/21/10]

Middleton gave a talk about the Endangered Species Act and California’s Water in 2010.

Middleton was scheduled to give a talk titled: “California’s Water and the Endangered Species Act.” The talk was scheduled by the Lamorinda Republican Women, Federated Club. [Lamorinda Sun, “Calendar — Best of the Sun, Jan. 8,” Contra Costa Times, 1/8/10]

Middleton says California bar dues are going towards diversity issues.

On February 22, 2011, Middleton wrote on the Pacific Legal Foundation blog on a post titled, “If you’re an attorney in California, and you’re wondering where your bar dues go, this is where …” that “rest assured, fellow attorneys, for the State Bar is wisely spending our dues to emphasize the importance of diversity in law schools throughout the country. He cites an article from The National Law journal discussing a proposal by the State Bar of California’s Council on Access & Fairness that the U.S. News adjust its law school rankings to include diversity.

The blog continues: “According to the proponents of this diversity initiative, law school rankings should be based less on the quality of the legal education offered, and more attention should be paid to ‘what schools are doing to promote diversity on campus.’” Middleton wrote “I find it hard to believe that attorneys and their clients will benefit from yet another call for increased diversity–especially in the context of legal education and ends the post with the comment: “Perhaps the State Bar should focus on ensuring that the lawyers which it governs are competent instead of spending member dues on the nebulous concept of diversity.  But then again, this is California.” [Brandon Middleton, “If you’re an attorney in California, and you’re wondering where your bar dues go, this is where…” Pacific Legal Foundation, 02/22/11]


Special Interests
Granite Construction Corporation (Resource Development on Public Lands)

While at Harrison Temblador, Middleton offered legal services to Granite Construction Co, which builds "power plants, airports, ventilation facilities, parkways, reservations, tollways, bridges, light rails, dams, and highways."

Learn More

also connected to:

Chevron (Resource Development on Public Lands)

While at Harrison Temblador, Middleton offered legal services to multinational energy corporation Chevron.

Learn More

also connected to:

Pacific Legal Foundation (Resource Development on Public Lands)

Middleton was a staff attorney at the Pacific Legal Foundation, an anti-environmental law firm founded by oil tycoons that has received funding from the oil billionaire Koch brothers.

Learn More

also connected to:

BoDean Co. (Resource Development on Public Lands)

While at Harrison Temblador, Middleton offered legal services for BoDean Co., a company that addresses construction material and aggregate needs.

Learn More

also connected to:

James Voyles

Leadership
/
Senior Counsel, Immediate Office of the Secretary

Background Information
Previous Employers

Additional Background on Employers of Note:

Voyles’ former employer, Consumer Energy Alliance (CEA), was created by another employer of his, HBW Resources. CEA has  been an “outspoken critic” of low carbon fuel standard legislation.

James Voyles’ former employer Consumer Energy Alliance was created by HBW Resources, another one of Voyles’s former employers. Both organizations share multiple officials in common, including Michael Whatley, who is Partner at HBW Resources and Executive Vice President at CEA, Andrew Browning, who is Partner at HBW Resources and COO at CEA and David Holt, who is Managing Partner at HBW Resources and President at CEA. [Geoff, Dembicki, “Big Oil and Canada thwarted U.S. carbon standards,” Salon, 12/15/11, Bios Leadership – Managing Partner, HBW Resources, accessed 08/07/18, Bios Leadership, HBW Resources, accessed 08/07/18]

Whatley’s work included serving “as attorney and senior policy advisor on George W. Bush’s first presidential campaign and transition team.” He would later serve chief of staff to Senator Elizabeth Dole. He and HBW Resources would develop close ties to Alberta’s tar sands oil industry, and would become concerned about the effects of adopting a low carbon fuel standard in the United States. To counteract this, Whatley would propose using groups such as trade associations, railroads and other groups reliant on oil to contact key governmental figures. This would be complimented by “engaging with seven prominent think tanks, two of which, the Cato Institute and the Heritage Foundation, received millions of dollars in funding from Koch Industries to question the science behind global warming.”

Geoff, Dembicki, “Big Oil and Canada thwarted U.S. carbon standards,” Salon, 12/15/11 “About Consumer Energy Alliance,” Consumer Energy Alliance, accessed 08/07/18, “Members,” Consumer Energy Alliance, accessed 08/07/18]

While Consumer Energy Alliance describes itself as an organization “advocating for all types of energy consumers,” it has received support from BP, Chevron, ExxonMobil, Marathon, Shell, and Statoil, and has been described as an “astroturf” group. CEA has “been one of the most outspoken critics of low carbon fuel standard legislation.”  [“About,” Consumer Energy Alliance, accessed 11/16/18; Geoff Dembicki, “Big Oil and Canada thwarted U.S. carbon standards,” Salon, 12/15/11]


Other Information

Voyles’ father goes by James K. Voyles. The senior Voyles is currently Senior Counsel at Chevron, was previously Vice President of Environment and Community at Coeur Mining, Director of Environmental Affairs at The Mosiac Company, Senior Corporate and Environmental Counsel at The Mosiac Company and Counsel at ExxonMobil. [James K. Voyles Facebook photos, accessed 08/09/18, James K. Voyles Facebook Profile, accessed 09/09/18, LinkedIn Profile for Jim Voyles, accessed 08/09/18]


Special Interests
Chevron (Resource Development on Public Lands)

Voyles' father is senior counsel at multinational oil corporation Chevron.

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also connected to:

Coeur Mining, Inc. (Resource Development on Public Lands)

Voyles' father was previously Vice President of Environment and Community at mining company Coeur Mining Inc.

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also connected to:

Mosaic Company (Resource Development on Public Lands)

Voyles' father was previously a Director at the Mosaic Company, the world's largest supplier of phosphate and potash.

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also connected to:

ExxonMobil Corporation (Resource Development on Public Lands)

Voyles' father was previously a Counsel at multinational oil and gas corporation ExxonMobil.

Learn More

also connected to:

Alex Sterhan

Bureau of Reclamation
/
Special Assistant

Political Connections

Alex Sterhan, since 2010, has contributed $480 to Montana Republicans, including $250 to Greg Gianforte’s 2016 gubernatorial campaign.

Alex Sterhan, in 2010, contributed $130 to the campaign of Roy Brown, who was a Republican state Senate candidate.

Source: [National Institute for Money in State Politics Search for Alex Sterhan, accessed 10/17/18]

In 2012 he contributed $100 to the campaign of Richard Hill, who was a Republican gubernatorial candidate.

Source: [National Institute for Money in State Politics Search for Alex Sterhan, accessed 10/17/18]

Alex Sterhan, in 2016, contributed $250 to the campaign of Greg Gianforte, who was a Republican gubernatorial candidate.

Source: [National Institute for Money in State Politics Search for Alex Sterhan, accessed 10/17/18]


Financial

Financial Disclosure

Source: Office of Government Ethics

Department of the Interior Salary: $53,912

Source: [Alex Sterhan, ProPublica’s Trump Town, accessed 10/17/18]


Special Interests

Raymond "David" Vela

National Park Service
/
Nominee for Director

Background Information
Previous Employers

National Park Service

S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office of the Inspector General

Congressman George Thomas “Mickey” Leland Equal Employment Opportunity Commission

Texas Child Support Program

Additional Background on Employers of Note:

Vela repeatedly failed to follow procedures that would increase public awareness and input into NPS policies.

As Director of the Southeast Region, Vela tried to open 40,000 acres of “Addition lands” for off-road vehicle use in Big Cypress National Preserve. He submitted a request to the Director of NPS to “waive national Management Policies requiring that wilderness eligible lands be managed so as not to forfeit future designation as wilderness.” After his initial request was denied, Vela ordered a new Wilderness Eligibility Assessment (WEA) that “was done without public notice or participation.”  The WEA allegedly consisted of “a series of unsupported declarations without citing authority or data.” The analysis was never made public, as the NPS “failed to publish the required notice in the Federal Register.” Following the WEA, Vela made a second waiver request, which was approved by then-NPS Deputy Director Dan Wenk in May 2010.

[Letter from Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility to Lisa Murkowski and Maria Cantwell, 09/04/18, Kurt Repanshek, “PEER Questions David Vela’s Qualifications To Lead National Park Service”, Complaint from Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility to NPS Washington Administrative Program Center, 12/29/10, Appeal from Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility to Jon Jarvis, 06/29/11]

On June 29th, 2017, Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER) claimed that then-Grand Teton Superintendent David Vela failed to follow procedures to ensure public notification regarding construction of a cell tower within 10 days of the initial application. According to PEER, Grand Teton National Park (GRTE) had been receiving written applications for the cell towers since 2013, while public notice did not occur until April 2015. GRTE acknowledged that it had been received applications since 2013, but none of these applications were made public. According to PEER, GRTE also failed to comply with Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act (NEPA), which requires that the public be consulted at the early stages of planning. GRTE had been working on the telecommunications plan for at least four years without providing the public with details. The public was never provided with descriptions of the land targeted for construction, maps of service levels, coverage site plans, or a photo-illustration of access.

[Letter from PEER to David Vela, 06/29/17, [“NEPA and NHPA: A Handbook for Integrating NEPA and Section 106,” Council on Environmental Quality, accessed 09/10/18, Telecommunications Infrastructure Plan and Environmental Assessment Scoping, Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility, accessed 09/10/18

Vela once refused a bipartisan congressional appeal to extend one public comment periods, and extended another only after being summoned by a sitting governor.

 On April 16th, 2010, Congressman North Carolina Congressman Walter B. Jones and North Carolina Senators Richard Burr and Kay Hagan submitted a letter to then-NPS Director Jon Jarvis to extend the public comment period on the Draft Environmental Impact Statement for the Cape Hatteras National Seashore Off-Road Vehicle Management Plan (DEIS) by an additional 30 days. The letter states: “The DEIS is a complex document that is over 800 pages long.  It is also incredibly important – as NPS has stated, once finalized, the environmental impact statement ‘will form the basis for a special regulation, guiding the management and control of ORVs at the Seashore for the next 10 to 15 years.’  Given these facts, the 60-day comment period provided by the Park Service does not provide sufficient time for the public to adequately review such a significant document.” The letter goes on to request an extension of the comment period by 30 days “to allow taxpayers the opportunity to fully participate in this process.”

Vela, then the Southeast Regional Director of National Parks, replied on April 29th, 2010. He stated that the DEIS was made available for comment on March 5th, 2010, with a closing date of May 11th, 2010, and also noted that public hearings were held. The letter continues: “Based on this history and the current status of the process, we believe the current 60-day comment period fully meets the requirements of the National Environmental Policy Act and provides ample opportunity for public involvement and comment. We have decided not to extend the public comment period at this time.”

[Letter from Walter B. Jones, Richard Burr and Kay Hagan to Jon Jarvis, 04/16/10, Letter from David Vela to Walter B. Jones, Richard Burr and Kay Hagan to Jon Jarvis, 04/29/10]

In 2015, Wyoming Governor Matt Mead criticized then-Grand Teton Supervisor Vela for the inadequate amount of time granted to review documents on the Moose-Wilson Corridor Plan, as well as his lack of communication regarding the plan. Vela and other NPS officials were summoned to meet with Mead on November 29th, 2015. Shortly afterwards, the public comment period regarding the plan had been extended from its initial end date of December 29th to January 30th, bringing the total public review and comment period to 93 days.

[Letter from Matt Mead to David Vela, 09/11/15, Letter from Matt Mead to David Vela, 10/16/15, Angus M. Thuermer Jr., “Gov protests plan to limit Teton Park traffic,” WyoFile, “Comment Extended For Grand Teton National Park’s Moose-Wilson Corridor Plan,” National Parks Traveler, 12/08/15]

In 2008, when he was Southeast Regional Director of National Parks, Vela withheld emails requested as part of a FOIA request.

 In October 2008, the Island Free Press submitted a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request to figure out why National Park Service meetings regarding the administration of Cape Hatteras National Seashore were being moved.

In response, David Vela, who at the time was the Regional Director of the National Park Service’s Southeast Region, said that he and Michael Stevens, attorney/advisor of the Office of the Regional Solicitor in Atlanta, GA were “withholding” 26 requested emails to or from individuals including NPS staff and Interior Department solicitors.

[Irene Nolan, “What you can and cannot find out about harassment of negotiated rulemaking committee,” Island Free Press, 12/05/08]

 An Interior Inspector General report found that, from 2011 to 2014, a time period that included David Vela’s early tenure as the Superintendent at Grand Teton National Park, the park was improperly allowing government officials to use Brinkerhoff Lodge as a low or no-cost vacation spot. 

David Vela became Superintendent of Grand Teton National Park in February 2014. The following year, in September 2015, the Interior Department Inspector General issued a report that found that between 2011 and 2014 Grand Teton officials were allowing government officials to use the Brinkerhoff Lodge in Grand Teton National Park as a low or no-cost vacation spot.

The report found that over this four-year period, “guests of the historic cabin near Jackson Lake Dam were billed just 15 percent of the time.”

The inspector general found that only 11 parties were billed, and a total of only $7,143 was collected. The report found that the federal government “would have collected nearly $29,000 in additional revenue were guests to the Brinkerhoff Lodge properly billed.”

[Mike Koshmri, “Teton park is scolded for Brinkerhoff abuse,” Jackson Hole News&Guide, 10/14/15]


Financials

Financial Disclosure

[Office of Government Ethics]


Other Information

Vela made some baffling comments about “both [historical] perspectives” of the civil war having “equal value,” during an interview about his efforts to attract more minorities to public parks.

 In 2014, Vela was interviewed about the challenge of attracting minorities to public parks. As an example of successful efforts in that area, Vela cited a meeting that NPS held with the Sons of Confederate Veterans and the Charleston NAACP to prepare for ceremonies commemorating the 150th anniversary of the Civil War at Fort Sumter National Monument. Vela stated that NPS believed that “both perspectives were of equal value” and that the meeting between the two groups was to “let each community decide on their own how to celebrate” the 150th anniversary of the Civil War.

[2012 Award Recipients, Clemson University, accessed 09/13/18, Brentin Mock, “To attract minorities, the national parks need some better ideas,” Grist, 04/02/14]


Special Interests

Paul Blair

Royalty Policy Committee
/
Subject Expert

Other Information

Paul Blair is currently a registered lobbyist for Americans for Tax Reform.

[Search for Paul Blair, Senate Lobbying Disclosure Act Database, accessed 05/31/18]

Blair is a member of ALEC, and even thinks that ALEC is going “center-left” on energy and environment issues.

Paul Blair is a member of the Koch-funded American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC). [Zack Colman, “Climate civil war brewing at ALEC,” Energy & Environment, 11/15/17; Lisa Graves, “ALEC Exposed: The Koch Connection,” The Nation, 07/12/11]

Blair believes that ALEC is going “center-left” on energy and environment issues. [Zack Colman, “Climate civil war brewing at ALEC,” Energy & Environment, 11/15/17]

Paul Blair has praised oil and gas drilling on social media.

Paul Blair has tweeted, “All of the above energy to me means drilling offshore, onshore, and everywhere we find oil or natural gas. Nuclear everywhere too. But the Left doesn’t want that.” [Tweet by Paul Blair, accessed 05/31/18]

Paul Blair, on April 19, 2018, tweeted “#DrillBabyBrill” and posted an Associated Press article titled “Oil, gas drilling in pristine Alaska refuge takes step ahead” about the Trump administration drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. [Tweet by Paul Blair, accessed 05/31/18]

Paul Blair is speaking at the Heartland Institute’s America First Energy Conference in August 2018.

[“Paul Blair,” America First Energy Conference 2018, accessed 05/31/18]


Special Interests
American Legislative Exchange Council (Resource Development on Public Lands)

Blair is a member of the Koch-backed American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC).

Learn More

also connected to:

Americans for Prosperity (Resource Development on Public Lands)

Blair worked as the Virginia Field Director for Americans for Prosperity, a Koch-backed group that pushes pro-oil policies.

Learn More

also connected to:

David Kreutzer

Royalty Policy Committee
/
Subject Expert

Other Information

David Kreutzer has advocated giving states control over permitting on federal land and selling federal lands to the states.

David Kreutzer, in 2016, co-authored a Heritage Foundation paper titled “Time to Unlock America’s Vast Oil and Gas Resources.” Among other points, the paper argued that Congress and the next administration should: “open access to energy exploration of federal waters and lands,” “prevent and reverse federal regulations on fracking,” and “allow states to manage energy development.” [Kevin Dayaratna, David Kreutzer and Nicolas Loris, “Time to Unlock America’s Vast Oil and Gas Resources,” Heritage Foundation, 09/01/16]

In the paper, Kreutzer and his co-authors argued, “Permitting fracking on federally owned land will result in even more oil and gas extraction and create jobs in areas that would otherwise not see such economic growth. Congress should explore ways to sell federal lands to states and private individuals who are in a better position to reap the benefits from energy production while protecting the environment. Short of that, however, Congress should grant authority to states for environmental review and permitting of energy projects on federal lands within their borders.” [Kevin Dayaratna, David Kreutzer and Nicolas Loris, “Time to Unlock America’s Vast Oil and Gas Resources,” Heritage Foundation, 09/01/16]

David Kreutzer has “advocated for more arctic drilling.” [Valerie Volcovici, Timothy Gardner, “Trump’s new EPA transition team draws from oil industry groups,” Reuters, 01/23/17]

David Kreutzer has been described as a “climate change denialist.” He has claimed that “‘no consensus exists that man-made emissions are the primary driver of global warming.'”

[Coral Davenport, “Climate Change Denialists in Charge,” New York Times, 03/27/17, and Steven Mufson, Juliet Eilperin, and Chris Mooney, “A second climate-change skeptic is leaving the EPA and will return to Heritage,” Washington Post, 03/30/17]

Kreutzer has argued that “the ’97 percent’ claim — the widely cited idea that about 97 percent of all scientists agree on the existence and science behind anthropogenic climate change — is a myth propagated by a single faulty study published in 2013.” [Chelsea Harvey, “These are the climate myths guiding Trump’s EPA team,” Washington Post, 12/13/16]

Kreutzer “has pressed for recalculating the ‘social cost of carbon,’ a metric that the Obama administration had used to assess the negative impacts of climate change,” in a way that “would make it harder to justify action to reduce greenhouse-gas emissions.” [Steven Mufson, Juliet Eilperin, and Chris Mooney, “A second climate-change skeptic is leaving the EPA and will return to Heritage,” Washington Post, 03/30/17]

While working on Donald Trump’s EPA landing team, Kreutzer “played an important role in shaping and writing” the executive order Donald Trump issued on energy policy that “dismantled a White House working group on the social cost of carbon and rescinded a variety of Obama-era technical documents on the matter.” [Steven Mufson, Juliet Eilperin, and Chris Mooney, “A second climate-change skeptic is leaving the EPA and will return to Heritage,” Washington Post, 03/30/17]


Special Interests
Heritage Foundation (Resource Development on Public Lands)

Kreutzer worked at the Heritage Foundation, which has received almost $800,000 from ExxonMobil and millions from the family foundations of the oil billionaire Koch brothers.

Learn More

also connected to:

Charles "Chuck" Laudner

National Park Service
/
Senior Advisor, Congressional and Legislative Affairs

Other Information

Chuck Laudner helped forge the “beginning of a political marriage of convenience between Trump and the NRA.”

Over the course of his political career, Chuck Laudner has “developed relationships with NRA officials. Laudner worked those relationships on Trump’s behalf” and in 2015 was able to get then-candidate Trump a chance to speak at the NRA convention. [Mike Spies, “The Making of Donald Trump and the NRA’s Marriage of Convenience,” The Trace, 04/28/17] 

Chuck Laudner reportedly ordered press removed from Trump campaign events.  

In January 2016, Chuck Laudner, and his wife Stephanie, ordered New York Times reporter Trip Gabriel to be removed from one of the Trump campaign’s Iowa events.

Laudner later denied that he had Gabriel removed. In a text to Laudner, Gabriel said “I didn’t even know you were [at the event].”

Gabriel’s removal from the event came just days after had written a piece questioning “the performance of Mr. Trump’s field operation in Iowa, which [had been] run by Mr. Laudner.” [Trip Gabriel, “How I Got Ejected From a Donald Trump Event,” New York Times, 01/15/16]

Chuck Laudner defended racist comments Representative Steve King made about young immigrants.

Steve King, in July 2013, said of young immigrants, “‘For every one who’s a valedictorian, there’s another 100 out there that weigh 130 pounds, and they’ve got calves the size of cantaloupes because they’re hauling 75 pounds of marijuana across the desert.’” [Russell Berman, “Young immigrants deliver cantaloupes to Rep. King’s office on Capitol Hill,” The Hill, 07/25/13]

Chuck Laudner, who previously worked for Rep. King, defended the comments and criticized other Republican leaders for rebuking King, saying, “‘The reason they lashed out at him is because they’re weak leaders and they want to get through this amnesty debate, and if you can muzzle Steve King, that debate becomes a lot easier.'” [Jennifer Jacobs, “Congressman draws more flak for comments,” USA Today, 07/25/13]

Chuck Laudner’s wife, Stephanie Laudner, runs a political communications firm.

Stephanie Laudner worked on the Donald J. Trump campaign in Iowa, and currently runs a company called Strategy Resources that provides “full service public relations and communications services.” [LinkedIn Profile for Stephanie Laudner, accessed 05/14/18]


Financials

Financial Disclosure

Source: Office of Government Ethics


Special Interests
National Rifle Association (Resource Development on Public Lands)

In 2015, Laudner helped then-candidate Donald Trump develop a relationship with the National Rifle Association.

Learn More

also connected to:

Paul Daniel Smith

National Park Service
/
Acting Director

Background Information
Previous Employers

Senator Sam Ervin

National Rifle Association

Department of the Interior

General Services Administration  

House Subcommittee on National Parks and Public Lands

Additional Background Information on Employers of Note:

Daniel Smith “inappropriately intervened on behalf of Washington Redskins owner Daniel Snyder” to help Snyder bypass environmental laws and cut down over 100 trees on a Park Service-protected easement so that Snyder could get a better view of the Potomac River. An Inspector General report found that Smith inappropriately pressured lower-level staff to give Snyder this favor.

When he was Special Assistant to National Park Service Director Fran Mainella, P. Daniel Smith “ran into trouble,” when he got Washington Redskins owner Daniel Snyder “a secret sweetheart deal… to give [Snyder’s] Maryland home an unobstructed view of the Potomac River.” “Snyder wanted more than 130 trees removed to improve his view of the Potomac River. Smith helped Snyder get rid of the trees on a Park Service-protected easement between his Potomac property and the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal.” [Dan Berman, “NPS official ‘unduly influenced’ tree-clearing decision – report,” Greenwire, 05/22/06; Rob Hotakainen, “Zinke juggles Park Service leadership,” Greenwire, 01/24/18; Tim Murphy, “Smokey and the Bandit,” Washington Monthly, 01-02/14]

In 2000, Snyder paid $10 million for a riverside estate in the Washington suburb of Potomac. Snyder “couldn’t see any water from his waterfront property” because the C&O Canal National Historic Park’s trees were in the way. However, since the park was “designated a national historic site in 1971, any alterations to the land, no matter how small, have had to first pass through an intensive period of paperwork, environmental impact statements, and waiting. For thirty years, no modifications were granted.” [Tim Murphy, “Smokey and the Bandit,” Washington Monthly, 01-02/14]

Smith “intervened in 2004 to help Snyder remove the trees from a hillside between his estate and the C&O Canal and plant saplings to improve Snyder’s view of the Potomac River,” by pressuring “lower-level officials to approve a deal that disregarded federal environmental laws, harmed the Chesapeake & Ohio Canal National Historical Park.” An Interior Inspector General Report found that Smith “‘inappropriately used his position to apply pressure and circumvent NPS procedures,'” and “left the agency vulnerable to charges of favoritism.” The report said that the “decision should have been left to park biologists and horticulturists,” who had warned of the ecological hazards of removing the trees. [Darryl Fears, “Official who improperly helped Redskins owner cut down trees picked as National Park Service deputy director,” Washington Post, 01/06/17; Kurt Repanshek, “Former NPS Official Found To Have Overlooked Environmental Regs Said To Be Next Acting Director,” National Parks Traveler, 01/04/18]

“After the report revealed his work on Snyder’s behalf, Smith transferred to the park that manages Historic Jamestowne, the Yorktown Battlefield and the Colonial Parkway in the Hampton Roads region of Virginia.” [Darryl Fears, “Official who improperly helped Redskins owner cut down trees picked as National Park Service deputy director,” Washington Post, 01/06/17]

Smith has supported turning “over operation of some National Park Service facilities to outside agencies.”

Daniel Smith, in 1986 when he was President Reagan’s deputy assistant secretary for Fish, Wildlife and Parks, proposed “that the Department of Interior turn over operation of some National Park Service facilities to outside agencies.” Smith, along with another high ranking Interior official, agreed that there was “‘a probability that these (outside) organizations could operate NPS activities as well as NPS, and possibly at a lesser cost.'” [J.M. Johnson, “OFFICIALS URGE PRIVATE OPERATION OF US PARK FACILITIES,” Sacramento Bee, 03/28/86]

Smith refused to support a bill to protect national parks from water development projects.

Daniel Smith, in 1986 when he was the deputy assistant secretary for Fish, Wildlife and Parks, refused to support a bill to “prohibit expanding and building new Water development projects on nationalParklands.” The bill had been drafted in response to concerns of Yosemite National Park flooding after the possible raising of the O’Shaughnessy Dam in Yosemite National Park. [“INTERIOR WON’T BACK BILLS ON PARK NOISE, WATER PROJECTS,” Sacramento Bee, 05/21/86]

Smith supported legislation to make it easier to allow natural gas pipelines to cross national parks.

In 2002, when he was Special Assistant to the Director of the National Park Service, P. Daniel Smith testified before Congress in support of a bill to “authorize the Secretary of the Interior to issue right of way permits for natural gas pipelines within the boundary of the Great Smoky Mountain National Park.” [P. Daniel Smith Testimony, Subcommittee on National Parks, Recreation and Public Lands, 03/19/02; “Jenkins testifies in support of natural gas pipeline right of way in Smokies,” Newport Plain Talk, 03/27/02]


Current Activity

Smith is currently under investigation by the Interior’s Office of Inspector General for “allegedly making a gesture involving his genitalia” to another Interior employee. 

“In a letter, an anonymous Park Service employee describes how on either Jan. 10 or Jan. 11 [2018],” P. Daniel Smith “‘grabbed his crotch and his penis and acted out as though he was urinating on the wall’ while relaying a story to another employee at the Main Interior Building in Washington.”

The employee did not sign the letter for fear of retaliation, saying that retaliation at the agency was “real.”

On March 23, 2018, the Interior’s Office of Inspector General confirmed that their office would “begin a probe into the allegation.”

[Dino Gradoni, “Internal watchdog to open probe into National Park Service leader for allegedly making crude gesture,” Washington Post, 03/23/18]


Financials

Financial Disclosure

Source: Office of Government Ethics


Special Interests
National Rifle Association (Resource Development on Public Lands)

P. Daniel Smith worked for the National Rifle Association from 1978 to 1980.

Learn More

also connected to:

James Reilly

United States Geological Survey
/
Director

Background Information
Previous Employers

Enserch Exploration

National Aeronautics and Space Administration 

TAEUS Corp.

American Public University System

National Security Space Institute, U.S. Air Force

Mach25Management LLC

Delta Solutions and Strategies

PhotoStencil, Corp

Additional Background on Employers of Note:

James Reilly was “chief geologist… at Dallas-based oil and gas company Enserch Exploration, Inc.”

While at Enserch, Reilly “focused on exploring offshore areas in the Gulf of Mexico,” work that, he claims “‘resulted in the discovery of over 115 million barrels of oil and over 1.5 trillion cubic feet of natural gas.'” [Chris D’Angelo, “Trump Names Former Astronaut And Oil Geologist To Lead Key Scientific Agency,” Huffington Post, 01/26/18]

James Reilly was an Associate Vice President and Dean at American Public University System, an online for-profit university that claims it aims “to provide high quality higher education with emphasis on educating the nation’s military and public service communities.” American Public University’s parent company has faced class action lawsuits in the past, and is currently under investigation by the Massachusetts Attorney General for “allegations of unfair or deceptive acts or practices relating to student recruitment, retention and financing.”

From December 2009 to May 2014, James Reilly was the “Associate Vice President, Dean School of Science and Technology” at American Public University System, “a for-profit online university started in the 1990s.” According to their mission statement, American Public University System aims to provide “high quality higher education with emphasis on educating the nation’s military and public service communities.” American Public University System’s parent company is American Public Education Inc. [Paul Voosen, “Retired astronaut picked to lead U.S. Geological Survey,” Science, 01/26/18, Profile for James Reilly, LinkedIn, accessed 03/01/18, and “Mission and Vision,” American Public University System, accessed 03/02/18]

In August 2010, American Public Education Inc., was sued in a federal class action lawsuit by its shareholders, who alleged that the company had “fraudulently billed the federal government for students it recruited illegally, and inflated its share price as it did so.” The case was dismissed with prejudice. [Headlines, Class Action Reporter, 08/19/10, and “Order Granting Defendant’s Motion to Dismiss,” Gaer v. American Public Education Inc., Case No. 3:10-CV-8, 12/08/11]

Additionally, American Public Education Inc. is currently under “investigation by the Attorney General of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts regarding allegations of unfair or deceptive practices in recruiting students and financing of student education.” The complaint, issued on July 31, 2017, focuses on “allegations of unfair or deceptive acts or practices relating to student recruitment, retention and financing by American Military University, which is operated by American Public Education’s wholly owned operating subsidiary, American Public University System, Inc.” [“Public Disclosure: American Military University under American Public University System has received the ‘Governmental Investigation’ designation,” Higher Learning Commission, 02/07/18; Press Release, Kahn Swick & Foti, LLC, 08/18/17]

James Reilly’s company, Mach 25 Management LLC, does “consulting and speaking work” for a variety of clients including schools, technology companies, government agencies and intergovernmental organizations. 

Reilly “started his own firm, Mach 25 Management, for consulting and speaking work.” On his OGE 278e Form, Reilly describes Mach 25 Management LLC as his “personal LLC under which all contracting, training events, consulting, speaking arrangements are managed,” and says that the LLC “will be inactive during my appointment and all outstanding client income will be fixed before I enter Government service.” [Jeff Foust, “Former astronaut nominated to run U.S. Geological Survey,” SpaceNews, 01/27/18, and James Reilly, OGE Form 278e, 2017]

Mach 25 Management’s clients include:

European Space Agency

Stevens Institute of Technology

NASA

Lockheed Martin

DNC Resort (Kennedy Space Center)

University of Colorado

Wallisch and Associates

Australian Petroleum Production and Exploration Association

FBI National Academy Associates Inc.

American Public University System

Medisend International

SAIC

American Society of Mechanical Engineers

Independent School Casualty Corporation

English Language Schools Association

Delphi Technology

Property Casualty Insurers Association

Dixie State College

St. George, Utah, Chamber of Commerce

Southern Utah Homebuilders Association

Delta Solutions and Strategies,

Teaching Science and Technology, Inc.

[James Reilly, OGE Form 278e, 2017]


Current Activity

  • Possible Conflicts of Interest

James Reilly has had a variety of clients through his consulting company, one of which is Lockheed Martin. This could constitute a possible conflict of interest, as Lockheed Martin is a major government contractor and has previously received contracts from the United States Geological Survey. [James Reilly, OGE Form 278e, 2017, and Search for Contracts Awarded from USGS to Lockheed Martin, USA Spending, accessed 03/02/18]

Reilly has also consulted for NASA, which could also constitute a conflict of interest as USGS conducts business with NASA. [James Reilly, OGE Form 278e, 2017, and “USGS and NASA Select New Landsat Science Team,” USGS, 12/15/17]


Financials

Financial Disclosure

[Office of Government Ethics]


Other Information

In 2012, James Reilly was late in filing the required paperwork for his LLC.

James Reilly’s LLC, Mach 25 Management, LLC, on May 1, 2012 was “Noncompliant for
failure to file Periodic Report” with the Colorado Secretary of State’s Office. On August 27, 2012, Reilly filed a “Statement curing delinquency” for Mach 25 Management LLC with the Colorado Secretary of State’s office. [History and Documents for Mach 25 Management LLC, Colorado Secretary of State, accessed 03/01/17]


Special Interests
Enserch Exploration (Resource Development on Public Lands)

Reilly was chief geologist at Dallas-based oil and gas company Enserch Exploration, Inc., where he focused on exploring offshore areas in the Gulf of Mexico.

Learn More

also connected to:

Australian Petroleum Production and Exploration Association (Resource Development on Public Lands)

APPEA, the organization that represents "Australia's oil and gas exploration and production industry," is a client of Reilly's consulting firm, Mach 2 Management LLC.

Learn More

also connected to:

Steve Howke

Leadership
/
Senior Advisor, Office of Policy, Management and Budget

Political Connections

Steve Howke has given at least $485 in political contributions to Republican candidates, including $160 to Ryan Zinke in 2008. He does not appear to have contributed to any Democrats.

Steve Howke donated $160 to Ryan Zinke in 2008 when Zinke ran for the Montana Senate. [Search for Steve Howke, Montana Campaign Finance Records, accessed 01/09/17]

Steve Howke donated $325 to Bob Brown in 2004 when Brown ran for Montana Governor. [Search for Steve Howke, Montana Campaign Finance Records, accessed 01/09/17]


Current Activity

On December 28, 2017, the Interior Department issued a directive instructing assistant secretaries and bureau and office heads “to submit most grants and cooperative agreements for approval.” Based on this directive, Steven Howke, Senior Adviser to the Assistant Secretary for Policy, Management and Budget, assesses whether grants made by the Interior Department to outside groups align with the Trump administration’s priorities.

On December 28, 2017, Scott Cameron, the Interior Department’s principal deputy assistant secretary for policy, management and budget, issued a directive instructing “other assistant secretaries and bureau and office heads to submit most grants and cooperative agreements for approval by one of his aides. Those include any award of at least $50,000 ‘to a non-profit organization that can legally engage in advocacy’ or ‘to an institution of higher education.’” The directive aims to “ensure those awards ‘promote the priorities’ of the Trump administration.” [Juliet Eilperin, “Interior puts science grants through political review,” Washington Post, 01/09/17]

The directive states that “assistant secretaries and bureau directors, in conjunction with Mr. Steven Howke, Senior Adviser to the Assistant Secretary for Policy, Management and Budget, must work with each discretionary program to set expectations and develop a plan for program execution.” [Memo from Scott J. Cameron to Assistant Secretaries et al, Interior Department accessed via Washington Post, 12/28/17]

“[T]he new approval process appears to be without precedent within the department.” [Juliet Eilperin, “Interior puts science grants through political review,” Washington Post, 01/09/17]


Financials

Department of the Interior salary: $131,767

[Steven Howke, ProPublica’s Trump Town, accessed 03/15/18]


Other Information

Steve Howke went to Whitefish High School, where he played on the Whitefish High School football team with Ryan Zinke.  

Steve Howke graduated Whitefish High School in 1980. While at Whitefish High School, Howke played football with Ryan Zinke. [“Bulldogs Should be Better,” The Daily Inter Lake, 09/08/77, and “New Lights! Camera! Ackroyd! on Tuesday,” Whitefish Radio, 06/18/07]

In 2014, Steve Howke wrote a letter to the Daily Interlake supporting Ryan Zinke’s run for Congress, in which he described Zinke as his “close friend.”

In 2014, Steve Howke wrote a letter to the Daily Interlake supporting Ryan Zinke’s run for Congress. Howke said he had known Zinke since kindergarten and that Zinke had remained his “close friend through thick and thin.”

Howke described Zinke as “a class act” and said he was “‘an extremely bright and thoughtful person that I put the utmost trust in to represent the great state of Montana, and to get our country back on track.’” [Steve Howke, “LETTER: ZINKE’S SHOWN A LIFETIME OF CHARACTER,” Daily Interlake, 03/19/14]


Special Interests

John Tahsuda

Indian Affairs
/
Acting Secretary/ Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary

Background Information
Previous Employers

Navigators Global, LLC (formerly DC Navigators, LLC)

U.S. Senate Committee on Indian Affairs

National Indian Gaming Association

Oneida Indian Nation of New York

Hobbs, Straus, Dean and Walker

First Nations Strategies, LLC

Cornell Law School

Additional Background on Employers of Note:

John Tahsuda III was a registered federal lobbyist from 2001 to 2002 and from 2007 to 2017.

Tahdusa has lobbied the federal government on behalf of over 20 clients, including many Indian tribes and tribal organizations.

  • California Nations Indian Gaming Association (2001-2002)
  • San Manuel Band of Mission Indians (2001-2002)
  • United Keetoowah Band of Cherokee Indians (2001-2002)
  • Video Gaming Technologies (2007-2010)
  • Lytton Band of Pomo Indians (2007-2008)
  • Pala Band of Mission Indians (2007-2017)
  • United Auburn Indian Community (2007-2009)
  • Oklahoma Indian Gaming Association (2008-2017)
  • Alabama Aircraft Industries, Inc. (2008-2010)
  • Intuit, Inc. (2008-2014)
  • Tascet Identity Network (2009)
  • Agriculture Coalition for Immigration Reform (ACIR) (2010)
  • Oneida Indian Nation (2010-2011)
  • Southern California Tribal Chairmen’s Association (2011-2017)
  • Otoe-Missouria Development Authority (2011-2012)
  • National Public Radio (2012-2014)
  • San Luis Rey Indian Water Authority (2012-2013)
  • United Parcel Service (UPS) (2012-2014)
  • Arizonans for Tribal Government Gaming (2013)
  • Osage Casinos (2013-2017)
  • Viejas Band of Kumeyaay Indians (2015-2017)
  • PG&E Corporation (2015-2017)
  • Puerto Rico Statehood Council (2016-2017)
  • Picayune Rancheria of Chukchansi Indians (2017)

[Search for John Tahsuda, U.S. Senate Lobbying Disclosure Act Database, accessed 12/04/17]

According to his financial disclosure, Tahsuda has also done consulting work for tribal entities. 

According to his 2017 financial disclosure form, Tahsuda was paid for “consulting/legal advice on gaming laws and regulations” by the Osage Nation Gaming Authority, and was paid for “government affairs consulting” by the Chuckchansi Tribe.

[John Tahsuda, OGE Form 278e, 2017]


Political Connections

John Tahsuda was an alternate Maryland delegate (District 4) for John McCain’s 2008 presidential campaign.

Tahsuda had “known McCain since Tahsuda was staff director of the Indian Affairs Committee during the 104th Congress and McCain was the committee’s chairman.” Tahsuda was also co-chairman of American Indians for McCain. [“Maryland RNC delegates ready to start,” The Washington Examiner, 08/31/08]

John Tahsuda was an adviser to Mitt Romney’s 2012 presidential campaign “on Indian issues.”  

[Rob Capriccioso, “American Indians make voices heard this election cycle,” Need to Know on PBS, 10/24/12]

John Tahsuda hosted a fundraiser for Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) in April 2013; tickets to the reception were $1000.

[Reception for Lindsey Graham, Political Party Time, 04/16/13]

John Tahsuda hosted two fundraisers for Rep. Roy Blunt (R-MO), in February and March 2010; tickets for both events were $1000.

[Reception for Roy Blunt, Political Party Time, 02/11/10; Reception for Roy Blunt, Political Party Time, 03/10/10; Glenn Thrush, “GOP Memo: 66 Senate fundraisers in 54 days,” Politico, 02/05/10] 

John Tahsuda hosted a fundraiser for Sen. Bob Bennett (R-UT) in February 2010; tickets to the fundraising breakfast were $500.

[Glenn Thrush, “GOP Memo: 66 Senate fundraisers in 54 days,” Politico, 02/05/10] 

John Tahsuda has donated $11,500 to political campaigns since 2007.

Of that, $2,250 went to Democratic candidates and $9,250 went to Republican candidates and PACs.

[Political Moneyline Search for John Tahsuda, accessed 12/04/17]


Current Activity

On January 22, 2018, the Bureau of Indian Affairs allowed nine tribal gaming compacts to take effect in California. While “allowing a compact to take effect is not an unusual event in and of itself,” the publication of the January 22, 2018 notice “increases the number of ‘deemed approved’ compacts in California by a significant amount.” Two tribes whose compacts were allowed to take effect, United Auburn Indian Community and San Manuel Band of Mission Indians, were former lobbying clients of John Tahsuda.

On January 22, 2018, the Bureau of Indian Affairs published a notice in the Federal Register announcing that BIA had “allowed nine tribal gaming compacts to take effect in California.”

“The agreements are considered legal, but only to the extent their provisions are consistent with the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act, according to a notice published in the Federal Register on Monday. The Secretary of the Interior otherwise did not outright approve or outright the nine compacts.”

“‘The Secretary took no action on the compacts within 45 days of their submission,’ the notice signed by John Tahsuda, the Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for Indian Affairs for the Trump administration, read.”

Two of the compacts that were allowed to take effect were the United Auburn Indian Community and San Manuel Band of Mission Indians. Before John Tahsuda was the Acting Secretary of Indian Affairs, he lobbied the federal government on behalf of both the United Auburn Indian Community and San Manuel Band of Mission Indians.

While “allowing a compact to take effect is not an unusual event in and of itself,” the publication of the January 22, 2018 notice “increases the number of ‘deemed approved’ compacts in California by a significant amount. In all of 2016 and 2017, the BIA allowed nine compacts to take effect, so the number of ‘deemed approved’ compacts has doubled with the publication of just one notice.”

[“Bureau of Indian Affairs allows nine gaming compacts to take effect,” Indianz.com, 01/22/18, Search for John Tahsuda, U.S. Senate Lobbying Disclosure Act Database, accessed 12/04/17; “Indian Gaming; Tribal-State Class III Gaming Compacts Taking Effect in the State of California, 3015-3016 [2018-01058],” Federal Register, 01/22/18]


Financials

Financial Disclosure

[Office of Government Ethics]

Department of the Interior Salary: $170,000

[John Tahsuda, ProPublica’s Trump Town, accessed 03/13/18]


Other Information

John Tahsuda was on the Tribal Board of Advisors for TFA Capital Partners, Inc., “a specialized investment bank, focused on the gaming and leisure industries.”

[“TFA Capital Partners Appoints Former Principal Chief Michell Hicks to Tribal Board of Advisors,” PR Newswire, 10/25/16, and TFA Capital Partners, accessed 12/04/17]


Special Interests
PG&E Corporation (Resource Development on Public Lands)

Tahsuda has lobbied the federal government on behalf of PG&E Corporation, an energy-based holding company that operates in the electricity and natural gas sectors and owns a public utility.

Learn More

also connected to:

BHP Billiton (Resource Development on Public Lands)

According to his 2017 financial disclosure form, Tahsuda was paid by BHP Billiton for "consulting on Indian tribes and natural resource development." BHP Billiton "engages in the exploration, development, production and processing of minerals, gas and oil."

Learn More

also connected to:

John Tanner

Leadership
/
Head of Legislative Affairs

Background Information
Previous Employers

Sen. Orrin Hatch

Rep. Rob Bishop

Pinnacle Title Company


Political Connections

John Tanner was a longtime congressional staffer; he has worked for both Representative Rob Bishop and Senator Orrin Hatch.  

Tanner worked previously for Representative Rob Bishop in Utah, first as Constituent Services Representative/Field Representative from 2003 to 2007, then as Salt Lake Area Director from 2008 to 2010.

Tanner worked in Senator Orrin Hatch’s office as a Legislative Policy Adviser from June 1010 to June 2014, as Hatch’s Deputy Legislative Director from June 2014 to June 2017, and most recently as Hatch’s Legislative Director from February 2017 to November 2017. [LinkedIn Profile for John Tanner, accessed 11/15/17, and Legistorm Profile for John Tanner, accessed 11/15/17]


Financials

Financial Disclosure

[Office of Government Ethics]

Department of the Interior salary: $168,000

[John Tanner, ProPublica’s Trump Town, accessed 03/14/18]

 


Other Information

John Tanner worked for years in the district office of Rep. Rob Bishop, who even “taught Tanner government and American history in high school.” Bishop has repeatedly introduced legislation that threatens the protection of public lands.

John Tanner worked for Rep. Rob Bishop in Utah, first as Constituent Services Representative/Field Representative from 2003 to 2007, then as Salt Lake Area Director from 2008 to 2010. Bishop even “taught Tanner government and American history in high school.” Tanner said of working for Bishop that “‘It was kind of fun to continue my education with him.'” [LinkedIn Profile for John Tanner, accessed 11/15/17, and “Hatch Staffers Value Their Beehive State Roots,” Congressional Quarterly News, 07/07/14]

Rob Bishop has repeatedly “introduced legislation to overhaul the Antiquities Act,” which has “been used to protect a broad range of areas for a broad range of purposes.” [Rebecca Worby, “In Congress, an effort to curtail national monuments,” High Country News, 10/18/17]

John Tanner supports rescinding Bears Ears National Monument, claiming that its monument status has only “astroturf support, not real grassroots support.”

John Tanner opposed the designation of Bears Ears National Monument, and supports rescinding its monument status. Tanner wrote, “I have been to the Bears Ears twice to help with the study. It is a beautiful place that deserves protection. But a national monument designation is not the way to do it. The President can only create the boundaries of the monument. His agencies can develop a land management plan but they can’t give management authority to the Native Americans who hold these lands sacred. That is something that needs to happen and it is something only Congress can do. The area within the Bears Ears boundaries is too big to be managed as a national monument. The current designation doesn’t have much support from the local people – there is broad support from people who will have no involvement in the management of the Monument but it is astroturf support, not real grassroots support. Zinke should tell Trump to should rescind the Monument and urge Congress to put better protections on the lands and the Indian ruins in the area.” [LinkedIn Post by John R. Tanner, accessed 11/14/17]

John Tanner supported a 2012 bill demanding the federal government transfer public lands to the State of Utah. The bill was sponsored by Utah State Rep. Ken Ivory, the founder of the American Lands Council, an organization that advocates for the transfer of federal public lands.

John Tanner re-tweeted a tweet by former Utah Attorney General John Swallow that said, “How cool it was to see months of work culminate in the signing of HB 148 on pub lands  Kudos to Ivory, Barrus, Lee, Herbert, Hatch & team UT.” [Tweet by John Swallow, 03/23/12, accessed 11/15/17]

Utah House Bill 148, signed into law by Governor Gary Herbert in 2012, “asks the federal government, which owns a majority of the land in the state, to give back more than 20 million acres.” The bill was sponsored by Utah State Rep. Ken Ivory, the founder of the American Lands Council, an organization that advocates for the transfer of federal public lands. [Kirk Johnson, “Utah Asks U.S. to Return 20 Million Acres of Land,” The New York Times, 03/24/12]

John Tanner has raked in more than $1 million from the federal government.

Since FY 2004, John Tanner has made $1,047,451 in salary working for Utah Republicans Rep. Rob Bishop and Sen. Orrin Hatch. [Legistorm Salary Data for John R. Tanner, accessed 11/15/17]


Special Interests

Rick May

Leadership
/
Senior Advisor

Background Information
Previous Employers

U.S. Navy


Financials

Financial Disclosure

[Office of Government Ethics]

Department of the Interior Salary: $162,000

[Rick May, ProPublica’s Trump Town, accessed 03/15/18]


Special Interests

Zack Gambill

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
/
Advisor

Financials

Financial Disclosure

[Office of Government Ethics]

Department of the Interior Salary: $79,720

[Zachariah Gambill, ProPublica’s Trump Town, 03/14/18]


Special Interests
Royal Dutch Shell (Resource Development on Public Lands)

According to his financial disclosure, Gambill owns stock in oil company Royal Dutch Shell.

Learn More

also connected to:

William "Billy" Dove

Land and Minerals Management
/
Special Assistant to the Assistant Secretary

Financials

Financial Disclosure

[Office of Government Ethics]

Department of the Interior Salary: $66,510

[William Dove, ProPublica’s Trump Town, 03/14/18]


Other Information

In a student government election at Montana State, Billy Dove wrote about his love for “three things in this world; Freedom, Ladies, and Student Government.”

[“Fall 2013 Candidates,” Montana State University, 2013]


Special Interests

Wesley "Luke" Bullock

Leadership
/
Advance Representative

Financials

Financial Disclosure

[Office of Government Ethics]

Department of the Interior Salary: $66,510

[Wesley Luke Bullock, ProPublica’s Trump Town, accessed 03/13/18]


Other Information

Luke Bullock called a Texas state lobbying firm “FAAAAANTASTIC” and recommended people “hire them.”

Luke Bullock wrote a Texas state lobbying firm was “FAAAAANTASTIC! Enjoyable & Effective in all dealings. Hire them.” Starting in 1995, The Ratliff Company has “represented the interests of businesses and trade associations in matters dealing with the Texas Legislative and Executive Branches” and regularly worked “to pass, modify or defeat legislation and policies that affect our clients.” [Facebook Review by Luke Bullock, 09/21/16, Facebook “About” Section for Ratliff Co., accessed 07/25/17, and “Home,” The Ratliff Company, accessed 07/25/17]

Luke Bullock has “liked” several Facebook posts with extremely anti-Trump rhetoric. In March 2016, Bullock liked that Glenn Beck posted an article titled “How and Why the Conservative Media Sold Its Soul To Facilitate Trump’s Nomination,” calling Trump’s GOP primary win “about as unjust and destructive as the OJ Simpson verdict.”

Luke Bullock liked a March 2016 Glenn Beck post, where Beck shared a Mediaite article, calling it the “bravest expose I have read” and “100% true.” The piece, titled “How and Why the Conservative Media Sold Its Soul To Facilitate Trump’s Nomination,” was from a commentator who’d “written many times on this outlet about the dangers of Donald Trump’s candidacy.” The commentator wrote that the media landscape “set up a perfect storm… for ‘Trumpsanity’ to overtake” the GOP primary and cause “a result about as unjust and destructive as the OJ Simpson verdict.” [Luke Bullock like of Glenn Beck Facebook post, 03/17/16, and John Ziegler, “How and Why the Conservative Media Sold Its Soul To Facilitate Trump’s Nomination,” Mediaite, 03/15/16]

Luke Bullock “liked” an October 2016 Facebook post asking fellow conservatives why they were still supporting Donald Trump, calling him “clearly misogynistic, absolutely and completely delusional-ly narcissistic,” and questions why conservatives thought Trump would “suddenly morph into someone with any integrity.”

Luke Bullock liked an October 2016 Facebook post that asked conservatives how they were defending Donald Trump, saying “It’s as though because he is the Republican nominee we are all holding on to some form of hope that he will turn things around… Like he’ll suddenly morph into someone with any integrity. At what cost?? What makes you think that this man who is clearly misogynistic, absolutely and completely delusional-ly narcissistic, will do ANYTHING for us?” It ended, “It’s time to throw in the towel and stop clamoring for reasons to be behind this guy. At some point our conscience has to be louder than the fear of the alternative.” [Luke Bullock like of Rachel Badders Whyte Facebook post, 10/11/16]

Luke Bullock liked a Facebook post from May 2016 with a piece from AddictingInfo.org titled “Bush’s Secretary Of Defense Says Trump Has No F*cking Idea What He’s Talking About,” that quoted Defense Secretary Robert Gates suggesting that Americans electing Donald Trump “would be a mistake.”

[Luke Bullock like of Taylor Kennedy Facebook post, 05/01/16]


Special Interests

Michael Argo

Leadership
/
Deputy Chief of Staff of Operations for the Secretary

Financials

Financial Disclosure

[Office of Government Ethics]

Interior Department Salary: $162,000

[Michael Argo, ProPublica’s TrumpTown, accessed 03/12/18]


Other Information

Michael Argo has liked and commented on extreme Facebook posts, including a Facebook video claiming to expose Huma Abedin’s “direct terrorist ties to 9-11” and a fake image showing President Obama awarding Medals of Freedom to Harvey Weinstein, Anthony Weiner, and Bill Cosby.

Michael Argo called a Facebook video “interesting” that claimed to expose Huma Abedin for “her direct terrorist ties to 9-11.” [Facebook Video by Meaningful Conversations with Nosbigs, 10/15/16]

In November 2017, Michael Argo liked a fake image pretending to show President Obama awarding Medals of Freedom to Harvey Weinstein, Anthony Weiner, and Bill Cosby. [Facebook post by Ken Blackwell, 11/12/17]


Special Interests

Timothy "Tim" Petty

Water and Science
/
Assistant Secretary

Background Information
Previous Employers

Senator Jim Risch, United States Senate

Department of Interior

Senate Republican Conference

Department of Energy

Additional Background on Employers of Note:

While working in the Interior Department during the George W. Bush administration, Tim Petty promoted climate change action and alternative energy. In 2008, Petty led delegation visits to Guam and Vietnam, where he promoted alternative energy sources and responses to climate change.

Tim Petty “served as acting assistant Interior secretary and deputy assistant secretary for water and science under President George W. Bush.” [Rocky Barker, “Aide to Idaho’s Jim Risch tapped to oversee Interior water and science policy,” Idaho Statesman, 11/14/17]

In June 2008, Tim Petty was part of a delegation from Interior that went to Guam. While there, Petty spoke out about keeping the island “from relying only on fossil-fuel-powered power plants” by developing their abundant alternative energy sources including “solar, wind and perhaps wave energy.” [Gaynor Dumat-ol Daleno, “White House representative visits Guam,” Pacific Daily News, 06/07/08]

In November 2008, Deputy Assistant Secretary Timothy Petty led “a delegation from the U.S. Department of the Interior” in a visit to “Hanoi and the Mekong Delta to promote U.S.-Vietnamese cooperation on responses to climate change. In Hanoi, a member of the delegation signed the charter for the new U.S.-Vietnam climate change working group.” [“Interior Delegation Joins Assistant Secretary Mcmurray To Open U.S.-Supported Climate Change Institute,” Wikileaks, 12/17/08]

While working for Congress, Tim Petty made over a million dollars and took 14 privately financed trips, including to Costa Rica, China, Washington State, and Florida.

From 2000 to 2017, Tim Petty made $1,113,971.58 working for the federal government, first on the Senate Republican Conference Committee (2001-2006), then for Senator Jim Risch (2009-2017). [“Timothy R. Petty (Tim), Congressional Staffer – Salary Data,” Legistorm, accessed 11/17/17]

While working in Congress, Tim Petty took 14 privately financed trips, costing a total of $16,024.62, including trips to Costa Rica, Washington State, Florida, Pennsylvania, and China. [“Timothy R. Petty (Tim), Congressional Staffer – Privately Financed Travel,” Legistorm, accessed 11/17/17]

Before joining the federal government, Tim Petty worked in the private sector for more than ten years in California and Indiana as a geologist and a hydrogeologist.

Petty “worked in the private sector for more than 10 years in California and Indiana as a geologist and a hydrogeologist, specializing in structural geology, surface and sub-surface water research, and environmental risk assessment.” [“Petty Tim,” University of Alaska Fairbanks, accessed 11/15/17]


Financials

Financial Disclosure

[Office of Government Ethics]

 


Other Information

Tim Petty lived in Moscow, Russia, for four years while working for “a non-profit educational organization.”

Petty worked for the Education Project, “a non-profit educational organization in Russia,” for four years. He provided “logistical and strategic support for educational conferences” and “conducted a health risk analysis study” with the Russia Academy of Sciences and the Department of Geology Science of Russia. [“Report on the U.S. Congressional Staff Delegation Seminars and Trip to China,” U.S.-China Policy Foundation, 2008, and Michael Doyle and Sam Mintz, “Hearing set for Interior, energy picks,” Energy & Environment, 12/04/17]


Special Interests

Cally Younger

Bureau of Land Management
/
Counselor

Background Information
Previous Employers

Office of Governor C.L. “Butch” Otter


Financials

Financial Disclosure

[Office of Government Ethics]

Department of the Interior salary: $112,021

[Cally Younger, ProPublica’s Trump Town, accessed 03/14/18]


Other Information

Cally Younger represented the state of Idaho when it challenged “the U.S. Department of Interior and Department of Agriculture’s plan to protect the greater sage grouse in the state” and has criticized the sage-grouse land use planning effort.

Idaho “alleged the agencies amended 64 land-use plans behind closed doors and unlawfully withdrew 3.8 million acres of land as part of the effort.” In a co-authored article in the Idaho Law Review, Younger called “the sage-grouse land use planning effort across the western United States” “unprecedented,” saying it “ended with distrust and failed promises.” [Juan Carlos Rodriguez, “Idaho Loses Protest Over Sage Grouse Habitat Plan,” Law360, 01/06/17, and Cally Younger and Sam Eaton, “Lessons Learned from the Greater Sage-Grouse Land Use Planning Effort,” Idaho Law Review, 2017] 

The Idaho Press-Tribune criticized Cally Younger after some, but not all, applications for two open Idaho Board of Education seats were destroyed under her watch as Idaho’s public records ombudsman.

In 2014, some of the applications for the Idaho Board of Education were destroyed. Younger claimed that the applications were destroyed “because they contained sensitive personal information,” but some applications “were released with the personal information redacted,” while others “were shredded.”

The Idaho Press-Tribune argued that the public had “a right to know who was rejected for those positions and to be able to compare the resumes of those who were turned down with those who were accepted and question whether the ‘best’ choices were made.” Transparency was “supposed to be the whole point of Otter’s appointing Younger to serve as open-records ombudsman,” the Press-Tribune opined. [Editorial, “State should not destroy applications for boards,” Idaho Press-Tribune, 07/30/14]

Cally Younger argued for blocking federal “guidelines designed to protect transgender students’ rights.”

Younger authored an amicus brief on behalf of Idaho Governor C.L. “Butch” Otter in which she urged “a federal court to put the brakes on guidelines designed to protect transgender students’ rights.” A reporter criticized Younger for “greatly misstat[ing] the potential fiscal impact of the federal policies” in her brief.

Younger argued that “the federal guidelines ‘threaten loss of all federal education funding for every school district in the country,'” and that “transgender student policies are best addressed at the district level, by elected trustees who stand before local voters.'” She continued, “‘While school districts in Idaho are capable of adequately addressing the needs of transgender students, they are not necessarily capable of making substantial changes to existing facilities that would be required under this guidance to ensure that all students’ privacy is protected.'” [Kevin Richert, “Idaho Filing Misstates Financial Impact Of Transgender Policies,” Idaho Ed News, 07/25/16]

Cally Younger “liked” a Facebook photo shared by conservative commentator Ben Shapiro, which he claimed “perfectly encapsulated the Left.” The photo showed two women, one wearing a shirt that read “I [Heart] Islam” and one holding a sign that read, “I Will Not Stand 4 Misogyny.” Its caption read, “IRONY ALERT!”

Cally Younger “liked” a Facebook photo shared by conservative commentator Ben Shapiro, which he claimed “perfectly encapsulated the Left.” The photo showed two women, one wearing a shirt that read “I [Heart] Islam” and one holding a sign that read, “I Will Not Stand 4 Misogyny.” The original caption read, “IRONY ALERT!”

[Facebook Posts Liked by Cally Younger, accessed 10/25/17, and Facebook Post by Ben Shapiro, 06/02/16, accessed 10/25/17]


Special Interests

Todd Wynn

Leadership
/
Director of Intergovernmental and External Affairs

Background Information
Previous Employers

International Crop Research Institute of the Semi-Arid Tropics

Cascade Policy Institute  

American Legislative Exchange Council

Edison Electric Institute

Additional Background on Employers of Note:

Todd Wynn previously worked at the Cascade Policy Institute, an organization that “promote[s] public policy alternatives that foster individual liberty, personal responsibility and economic opportunity” and is part of the Koch-backed State Policy Network.  

Todd Wynn worked at the Cascade Policy Institute (CPI); from July 2008 to May 2010 he was a Climate Change and Energy Policy Analyst and Director of CPI’s Environment Project, and from April 2010 to September 2011 he was the Vice President of CPI. [LinkedIn Profile for Todd Wynn, accessed 10/26/17]

The Cascade Policy Institute is a “nonprofit, nonpartisan public policy research and educational organization” that aims to “develop and promote public policy alternatives that foster individual liberty, personal responsibility and economic opportunity” and that “promotes property rights, incentives, markets and decentralized decision-making.” Cascade Policy Institute is part of the State Policy Network, “an alliance of groups that act as incubators of conservative strategy” at the state level that receive funding from groups funded by the Koch brothers. [“About Cascade Policy Institute,” Cascade Policy Institute, accessed 10/26/17, “Cascade Policy Institute,” State Policy Network, accessed 10/26/17, Erik Pilkington and Suzanna Goldenberg, “State conservative groups plan US-wide assault on education, health and tax,” The Guardian, 12/05/13 and Tal Kopan, “Report: Think tanks tied to Kochs,” Politico, 11/13/13]

At CPI, Wynn led the Carbon Cartel Education Project, which, in his words, worked “on all the issues of this government cartel that would be created” through carbon regulation and “energy rationing.”

Also, while at the Cascade Policy Institute, Todd Wynn was the Project Director of the Carbon Cartel Education Project, which aimed to “raise awareness of the costs and implications of policies based on global warming alarmism by conducting a multi-faceted campaign to peel away grassroots political support for carbon restrictions, while simultaneously promoting market-based policies that preserve individual liberty, economic opportunity, and environmental quality.” [“Carbon Cartel Education Project,” Cascade Policy Institute, 11/01/12, accessed via archive.org]

Todd Wynn has described his work at the Carbon Cartel Education Project as “really hit[ting] on all the issues of this government cartel that would be created through a carbon regulation and these energy rationing issues.” [Todd Wynn, “International Climate Change Conf. – Part 1 (Todd Wynn),” Youtube, 04/01/09, (04:07)]

Wynn co-produced a video that argues that “climate legislation would have a far-reaching impact on our standard of living and give government a portal into every aspect of our lives.” In the video, Wynn claims that “climate change is a perfect scapegoat for environmentalists… to change the behavior, the lifestyle, and the standard of living of every single citizen on the planet.” He also claims that “global warming could be a net benefit for the planet in fact.”

While he was at Cascade Policy Institute, Todd Wynn co-produced and co-wrote a video named “Climate Chains,” that features speakers from the Heritage Foundation, American Enterprise Institute and Competitive Enterprise Institute, and in which Wynn also appears. The film argues that “carbon dioxide is not an actual pollutant, doesn’t cause any negative human health effects, and is an essential element of life,” that “climate change is the latest effort to put prosperity and personal freedom in chains” and that the “creation of a cap and trade program is the newest in a long line of eco-fads.” [“View Film,” Climate Chains, 10/20/09, accessed via archive.org, and “Climate Chains,” Vimeo, 10/12/09, (15:30) and (10:07)]

In the video, Todd Wynn claims, “climate change is a perfect scapegoat for environmentalists. They can use that to change the behavior, the lifestyle, and the standard of living of every single citizen on the planet.” He continues, “We also have to look at the benefits of higher global temperatures, a lot of places that weren’t arable land before are now going to be. And I think that’s important, that you need to weigh those costs and benefits. I think that global warming could be a net benefit for the planet in fact.” [Todd Wynn, “Climate Chains,” Vimeo, 10/12/09, (07:26) and (08:00)]

Later in the video, Wynn says that “Environmental quality is a luxury good. You can only afford it if you have money in your pocket.” He later claims that the “free market is moving us towards what we are demanding; we don’t need government regulations for that.” [Todd Wynn, “Climate Chains,” Vimeo, 10/12/09, (16:44) and (17:36)]

The video concludes that “if we really care about long term sustainability, only the free market and the creativity and the constant incremental changes and the pressure can solve that, can create true, long term sustainability.” Another speaker claims that climate change is “about wanting to control people, let’s decide what cars they drive, what refrigerators they buy, where they work, what kind of manufacturers are here in the United States.” [“Climate Chains,” Vimeo, 10/12/09, (17:18) and (18:56)]

Todd Wynn worked at the Koch-backed American Legislative Exchange Council where he was the Director of the Energy, Environment and Agriculture Task Force, a task force whose membership was heavily stacked with oil and gas interests.

From September 2011 to September 2013, Todd Wynn worked at the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), a “Koch brothers-backed group.” [LinkedIn Profile for Todd Wynn, accessed 10/26/17, and Tarini Parti, “‘Dark money’: ALEC wants image makeover,” Politico, 07/30/15]

At ALEC, Wynn was the Director of the Energy, Environment and Agriculture Task Force. In the same year that Wynn started at ALEC, the Energy, Environment and Agriculture Task Force’s members included: Alliant Energy, American Coalition for Clean Coil Electricity, American Electric Power Company, American Gas Association, American Petroleum Institute, BP, Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck, Duke Energy Corporation, Edison Electric Institute, Exxon Mobil Corporation, Hilex Poly Company LLC, Nuclear Energy Institute, Peabody Energy, and Salt River Project. Its task force members “fund almost all of ALEC’s operations.” [Meeting Minutes from Energy, Environment, and Agriculture Task Force Meeting, American Legislative Exchange Council, 04/29/11, accessed via archive.org, and Gabe Elsner, “ALEC Energy Director Misleads the Wall Street Journal,” Huffington Post, 04/02/13]

During his time at ALEC, Wynn fought against state renewable energy mandates and federal regulation of fracking.

As the director of ALEC’s Energy, Environment and Agriculture Task Force, Todd Wynn worked to reverse state renewable energy mandates across the country. Wynn believes renewable energy mandates are “economically disastrous” and “great examples of crony capitalism.” He has claimed that renewable energy mandates lead to “higher electricity rates, lower economic growth and, subsequently, lower standard of livings” and has called for the “outright repeal of these crony capitalist policies.” [Juliet Eilperin, “Climate skeptic group works to reverse renewable energy mandates,” Washington Post, 12/24/12, and Todd Wynn, “ALEC to States: Repeal Renewable Energy Mandates (‘Electricity Freedom Act’ model bill adopted),” MasterResource Blog, 11/01/12]

While at ALEC, Wynn advocated for ALEC’s model bill, the Hydraulic Fracturing Fluid Disclosure Composition Act. The bill asked oil and gas companies to voluntarily disclose the “composition of their fracking fluid on a publicly accessible website” instead of allowing the Environmental Protection Agency to regulate fracking disclosures. Wynn thinks that “federal control over hydraulic fracturing” is part of the Environmental Protection Agency’s “unprecedented… regulatory assault.” [Todd Wynn, “ALEC Encourages Responsible Resource Production,” American Legislative Exchange Council, 03/01/12, and Todd Wynn, “EPA’s Assault on State Sovereignty Part II,” American Legislative Exchange Council, 06/27/13]

While at ALEC, Todd Wynn advocated transferring federal land to the states.

In a June 2013 blog post, Wynn praised Utah State Representative Ken Ivory’s 2012 legislation HB 148, the Transfer of Public Lands Act, which, Wynn explained, “had subsequently become ALEC model policy for other state legislators to use as an example.” Wynn warned, “expect more states to press this issue both in the East and the West as state legislators are likely to continue to work together through ALEC and other organizations in order to gain back their land.” [Todd Wynn, “Nevada Becomes the 5th Western State to Explore the Transfer of Public Lands,” American Legislative Exchange Council, 06/06/13]


Financials

Financial Disclosure

[Office of Government Ethics]

Department of the Interior salary: $162,000

[Todd Wynn, ProPublica’s Trump Town, accessed 03/14/18]


Other Information

Todd Wynn has claimed that states implementing cap and trade systems would “have no effect on global warming” and has mocked the concept of carbon neutral offsets. 

At Cascade Policy Institute, Todd Wynn claimed that “proposals in the Oregon Legislature to implement a Cap-and-Trade system would have no effect on global warming.” [Joe Gamm, “County inspired by Community Emergency Response Teams’ efforts; Commission looks to hire county manager; stimulus projects meeting on tap,” The Daily Astorian, 01/29/09]

Todd Wynn, in 2009, made a video called “Karma Neutral Offsets” to make fun of the concept of carbon neutral offsets. Wynn says, “We got this idea from those guys who sell carbon offsets… Picture this, you commit a bad deed, like robbing someone for money or stealing a car… then, to offset, and equal out the bad karma produced by your bad deed, a Karma Neutral employee, or someone paid by Karma Neutral, will do a good deed to offset your bad karma, in the form of a certificate to the good karma we produced.” [Todd Wynn, “Karma Neutral Offsets,” Youtube, 02/24/09]

Todd Wynn, in 2009, claimed that there hasn’t been “much” climate change in the Pacific Northwest; he said, “I believe they’ve seen maybe a one degree Fahrenheit increase in the last hundred years.”

[Todd Wynn, “International Climate Change Conf. – Part 1 (Todd Wynn),” Youtube, 04/01/09, (01:28)]

Todd Wynn has said that he does not consider carbon dioxide to be a “real pollutant.”

[Todd Wynn, “Renewable Energy- Todd Wynn- Cascade Policy Institute,” Youtube, 06/11/11 (3:30)] 

 

Todd Wynn has fought efforts to ban plastic bags and efforts to tax paper bags, and has even claimed that plastic bags were developed “to improve the environment.”

Todd Wynn has criticized efforts to ban plastic bags. According to Wynn, the “major reason” plastic bags were originally developed was “to improve the environment,” and “one paper bag produces almost five times the atmospheric pollutants and 15 times the waterborne pollutants of a single plastic bag.” Instead of passing laws to ban plastic bags, he claims, environmentalists should try to “change culture” by “voluntarily winning hearts and minds.” Wynn has also claimed that a “government-imposed price on paper bags” is “truly a dangerous overreach of government.”

[Todd Wynn, “Editorial: Environmentalists need to get beyond ‘ban, ban, ban,'” The Oregonian, 12/23/10, and Todd Wynn, “Opinion: The proper role of government: Banning bags, setting prices?” Statesman Journal, 02/18/11]

Todd Wynn thinks that protecting property rights is the best way to protect the environment.

Todd Wynn has claimed that “when you protect property rights, that’s really the ultimate way—the proper establishment of property rights is the ultimate way to protect the environment because if you’re harming the environment, or someone else is, you can hold them accountable.” [Todd Wynn, “Todd Wynn on Climate Change & Free Market Environmentalism,” Youtube, 10/26/09, (02:17)] 

Todd Wynn was Facebook friends with Utah State Representative and land-transfer enthusiast Ken Ivory. Ivory has also tagged Wynn in Facebook posts advocating land transfer.

On September 25, 2015, Ken Ivory tagged Todd Wynn in a Facebook story that said the two had been “Friends on Facebook” for three years.

[Facebook Stories Tagged with Todd Wynn, accessed 10/26/17] 

On December 29, 2014, Ken Ivory tagged Todd Wynn in a Facebook post about transferring public lands. Ivory wrote, “‘…Then You Win.’ Ghandi #TransferPublicLands #utpol @AmericanLandsCn ‘This is a wonderful time to be alive. We’re lucky not to live in pale and timid times. We’ve been blessed with the opportunity to stand for something.’ (R. Reagan).'” Ivory tagged the American Lands Council, his land transfer organization, as well as land seizure activists Jennifer Fielder, Marjorie Haun, and Darin Bushman in his post. The post came just two days before December 31, 2014, which was the deadline that Ivory’s bill, HB 148, gave to the federal government to transfer public lands in the state to Utah. [“Utah: State ramps up lands fight as deadline passes,” Greenwire, 01/05/15]

[Facebook Stories Tagged with Todd Wynn, accessed 10/26/17]  

[Facebook Stories Tagged with Todd Wynn, accessed 10/26/17]

Wynn liked a comment on the post written by conservative blogger Marjorie Haun that said “Bring it on!”

[Facebook Stories Tagged with Todd Wynn, accessed 10/26/17]


Special Interests
Cascade Policy Institute (Resource Development on Public Lands)

Wynn worked at the Cascade Policy Institute, an organization that promotes "public policy alternatives that foster individual liberty, personal responsibility and economic opportunity" and is part of the Koch-backed State Policy Network.

Learn More

also connected to:

State Policy Network (Resource Development on Public Lands)

Wynn worked at Cascade Policy Institute, an organization that is part of the State Policy Network, which is a network "of groups that act as incubators of conservative strategy" at the state level that receive funding from Koch brother funded groups.

Learn More

also connected to:

American Legislative Exchange Council (Resource Development on Public Lands)

Wynn was the Director of the Energy, Environment and Agriculture Task Force when he worked at the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), a "Koch brothers-backed group."

Learn More

also connected to:

Edison Electric Institute (Resource Development on Public Lands)

Immediately before he worked at the Interior Department, Wynn worked as the Director of External Affairs for the Edison Electric Institute, which is the "power industry's trade association."

Learn More

also connected to:

Alliant Energy (Resource Development on Public Lands)

When Wynn led ALEC's Energy, Environment and Agriculture Task Force, one of the members of the task force was Alliant Energy, a utility holding company that provides electricity and natural gas services to customers in the MidWest.

Learn More

also connected to:

American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity (Resource Development on Public Lands)

When Wynn led ALEC's Energy, Environment and Agriculture Task Force, one of the members of the task force was ACCCE, a trade organization that advocates on behalf of coal-fueled electricity and the coal fleet.

Learn More

also connected to:

American Gas Association (Resource Development on Public Lands)

When Wynn led ALEC's Energy, Environment and Agriculture Task Force, one of the members of the task force was the American Gas Association, which represents more than 200 local energy companies that deliver natural gas throughout the US.

Learn More

also connected to:

American Petroleum Institute (Resource Development on Public Lands)

When Wynn led ALEC's Energy, Environment and Agriculture Task Force, one of the members of the task force was the American Petroleum Institute, which is the top oil and natural gas lobby.

Learn More

also connected to:

BP (Resource Development on Public Lands)

When Wynn led ALEC's Energy, Environment and Agriculture Task Force, one of the members of the task force was multinational oil company BP.

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also connected to:

Duke Energy Corporation (Resource Development on Public Lands)

When Wynn led ALEC's Energy, Environment and Agriculture Task Force, one of the members of the task force was Duke Energy Corporation, which "engages in electric power and gas distribution operations, and provides other energy related services."

Learn More

also connected to:

ExxonMobil Corporation (Resource Development on Public Lands)

When Wynn led ALEC's Energy, Environment and Agriculture Task Force, one of the members of the task force was multinational oil and gas company ExxonMobil.

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also connected to:

Nuclear Energy Institute (Resource Development on Public Lands)

When Wynn led ALEC's Energy, Environment and Agriculture Task Force, one of the members of the task force was the Nuclear Energy Institute, the nuclear industry's largest trade group in the U.S.

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also connected to:

Peabody Energy (Resource Development on Public Lands)

When Wynn led ALEC's Energy, Environment and Agriculture Task Force, one of the members of the task force was Peabody Energy, the largest private-sector coal company in the world.

Learn More

also connected to:

Salt River Project (Resource Development on Public Lands)

When Wynn led ALEC's Energy, Environment and Agriculture Task Force, one of the members of the task force was the Salt River Project, the largest provider of water and power to the Phoenix, Arizona metropolitan area.

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also connected to:

Jeff Rupert

Leadership
/
Acting Director, Office of Wildland Fire

Background Information
Previous Employers

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service


Special Interests

Bryan Rice

Bureau of Indian Affairs
/
Former Director

Financials

Financial Disclosure

[Office of Government Ethics]


Other Information

Bryan Rice acknowledged “that climate change is a driving reason behind today’s longer fire seasons.”

Bryan Rice, director of the Office of Wildland Fire at the Interior Department, told the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee “that climate change is a driving reason behind today’s longer fire seasons.” [“FORESTS: The West burns as lawmakers struggle to fix wildfire policy,” ClimateWire, 08/04/17]


Special Interests

Jason Larrabee

Fish, Wildlife and Parks
/
Former Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary

Background Information
Previous Employers

Larrabee Farms  

Representative Doug Ose, United States House of Representatives 

Representative John Doolittle, United States House of Representatives

Jason Larrabee Ventures LLC

Jeff Denham for Congress

Representative Jeff Denham, United States House of Representatives

Additional Background on Employers of Note:

From 2008 to 2010, Jason Larrabee was a registered lobbyist at his firm, Jason Larrabee Ventures LLC.

While he ran Jason Larrabee Ventures LLC, Larrabee lobbied the federal government on behalf of Tehama-Colusa Canal Authority, Pacific Renewable Fuels Inc., and Clean Energy Systems Inc. [Search for Jason Larrabee, United States Senate Lobbying Disclosure Act Database, accessed 10/24/17]

On his LinkedIn Profile, Larrabee brags that he “successfully negotiated multi-million dollar water transfers from northern California entities to buyers south of the Bay-Delta, worked with federal agencies on regulatory actions, and secured legislative riders and appropriations.” He also says he “secured over $200 million, including the largest federal appropriation in recent times from the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation of $107 million.” [LinkedIn Profile for Jason Larrabee, accessed 10/24/17]


Political Connections

Since 2007, Jason Larrabee has donated $8,945 to political campaigns and parties.  

In particular, he has donated to former Representative Dan Lungren (R-CA) and GOP candidate James Ogsbury when he ran for Congress in Arizona. Ogsbury is now Executive Director of the Western Governors’ Association. [Political Moneyline Search for Jason Larrabee, CQ, accessed 10/24/17]


Financials

Financial Disclosure

[Office of Government Ethics]

Department of the Interior salary: $170,000

[Jason Larrabee, ProPublica’s Trump Town, accessed 03/15/18]


Other Information

Jason Larrabee ran for a California Assembly seat but dropped out while federal investigators were looking into connections between Larrabee’s former boss and Jack Abramoff.

In 2007, Jason Larrabee ran for a California Assembly seat but “abruptly dropped his candidacy.” Larrabee pulled out of the race while federal investigators were looking into connections between Larrabee’s former boss, Representative John Doolittle, and “disgraced Washington lobbyist Jack Abramoff.” [“Former Doolittle aide quits Assembly race,” Sacramento Bee, 06/28/07]

Lobbyists Jack Abramoff and Kevin Ring hosted fundraisers for John Doolittle, treated Doolittle’s staff to “rock concerts, football games and meals at pricey restaurants,” and employed Doolittle’s wife for event planning work, paying her a total of $66,690, from 2002 to 2004—the same years Larrabee was working in Doolittle’s congressional office. Ring described Doolittle to Abramoff as “‘such a good soldier, doing everything we asked of him.’” [Carrie Johnson and Del Quentin Wilber, “Former Abramoff Associate Is Arrested,” Washington Post, 09/09/08, Rep. John Doolittle To Retire From House,” Associated Press, 01/10/08, and Legistorm Profile for Jason Larrabee, accessed 10/26/17]

Jason Larrabee dropped out of the California Assembly race at the same time that “federal prosecutors [were] contacting former aides to Rep. John Doolittle seeking information in their investigation” of Doolittle’s association with Abramoff.” [David Whitney, “Probers contact former aides; Prosecutors ask about Doolittle’s links to Abramoff,” Sacramento Bee, 06/28/07]

Jason Larrabee has received farm subsidies from the federal government.

From the period of 1995 to 2005, E. Franklin Larrabee and Associates, a farm that Jason Larrabee co-owned, received $7,257,995 in farm subsidies from the U.S. Department of Agriculture. [Larry Mitchell, “Spotlight: Farm subsidies – annual windfall in jeopardy?” Chico Enterprise-Record, 06/02/07]


Special Interests
Jack Abramoff (Political Extremism)

Larrabee's former boss, Rep. John Doolittle, left Congress after being investigated in the Jack Abramoff lobbying scandal. Larrabee worked for Doolittle in the years Doolittle was associating with Abramoff.

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also connected to:

Clean Energy Systems Inc. (Resource Development on Public Lands)

From 2008 to 2010, Jason Larrabee lobbied the federal government on behalf of Clean Energy Systems Inc., a company that "engages in the development of zero emissions commercial power plants."

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also connected to:

Placer County Water Agency (Resource Development on Public Lands)

From 2009 to 2010, Jason Larrabee lobbied the federal government on behalf of Placer County Water Agency, a water agency in California.

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also connected to:

Tehama-Colusa Canal Authority (Resource Development on Public Lands)

From 2008 to 2010 Jason Larrabee lobbied the federal government on behalf of Tehama-Colusa Canal Authority, a nonprofit organization that "represents water contractors in the Central Valley region of California."

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also connected to:

Granite Construction Corporation (Resource Development on Public Lands)

According to his 2017 financial disclosure, Larrabee said he owned between $1,001 and $15,000 of stock in Granite Construction Corp., which builds "power plants, airports, ventilation facilities, parkways, reservations, tollways, bridges, light rails, dams, and highways."

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also connected to:

Imperial Oil Limited (Resource Development on Public Lands)

According to his 2017 financial disclosure, Larrabee said he owned between $1,001 and $15,000 of stock in Imperial Oil Limited, a Canadian oil and gas company.

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also connected to:

Southern Company (Resource Development on Public Lands)

According to his 2017 financial disclosure, Larrabee said he owned between $1,001 and $15,000 of stock in Southern Company, a public utility company that "generates, wholesales, and retails electricity in the southeastern United States."

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also connected to:

Suncor Energy Inc. (Resource Development on Public Lands)

According to his 2017 financial disclosure, Larrabee said he owned between $1,001 and $15,000 of stock in Suncor Energy Inc., an "integrated energy company focused on developing the Athabasca oil sands basin" in Canada.

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also connected to:

Association of California Water Agencies (Resource Development on Public Lands)

When he worked on Capitol Hill, Larrabee went on a $1,361 trip to Palm Springs, California, paid for by the Association of California Water Agencies, "the largest statewide coalition of public water agencies in the country."

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also connected to:

Southern California Edison Company (Resource Development on Public Lands)

When he worked on Capitol Hill, Larrabee went on a $1,119 trip to Fresno, California, paid for by Southern California Edison Company, a public utility that generates and distributes electricity in Southern California.

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also connected to:

Pacific Northwest Generating Cooperative (Resource Development on Public Lands)

When he worked on Capitol Hill, Larrabee went on a $1,367 trip to Portland, Oregon and Clarkston, Washington, paid for by Pacific Northwest Generating Cooperative, an electric generation and transmission cooperative.

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also connected to:

Metropolitan Water District of Southern California (Resource Development on Public Lands)

When he worked on Capitol Hill, Larrabee went on a $1,150 trip around California partially paid for by the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California, the largest water provider in the country.

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also connected to:

Northern California Power Agency (Resource Development on Public Lands)

When he worked on Capitol Hill, Larrabee went on an $825 trip to California paid for by NCPA, "a not-for-profit Joint Powers Agency" a 15-member not-for-profit agency of publicly owned entities that "operates and maintains a fleet of power plants " and has a "mix of geothermal, hydroelectric, and natural gas resources."owns a "mix of geothermal, hydroelectric, and natural gas facilities."

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also connected to:

Southern California Public Power Authority (Resource Development on Public Lands)

When he worked on Capitol Hill, Larrabee went on a $1,656 trip to Hoover Dam, Nevada paid for by SCPPA, a "joint powers agency comprised of eleven municipal utilities and one irrigation district" that delivers electricity in the Southern California basin.

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also connected to:

Northern California Water Association (Resource Development on Public Lands)

When he worked on Capitol Hill, Larrabee went on a $97 trip to Sacramento Valley, paid for by the Northern California Water Association, an "umbrella group of water agencies."

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also connected to:

Benjamin Cassidy

Leadership
/
Senior Deputy Director for the Office of Intergovernmental and External Affairs

Financials

Financial Disclosure

[Office of Government Ethics]

Department of the Interior Salary: $130,692

[Benjamin Cassidy, ProPublica’s TrumpTown, 03/13/18]


Special Interests
National Rifle Association (Resource Development on Public Lands)

Benjamin Cassidy worked as a Federal Liaison for the National Rifle Association, which has received significant contributions from oil and gas interests.

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also connected to:

Brian Steed

Bureau of Land Management
/
Deputy Director of Programs and Policy

Background Information
Previous Employers

Representative Chris Stewart, United States House of Representatives

Chris Stewart for Congress

Iron County, Utah

Utah State University

Additional Background on Employers of Note:

In 2011, Brian Steed co-authored a study attacking the designation of Grand Staircase-Escalante as a National Monument. In the study, Steed claimed the monument designation reduced economic growth in Kane and Garfield counties “by an estimated $146 million,” but admitted at the end that all three economic indicators they used “do not necessarily represent” the real economic conditions in Kane and Garfield counties. Economist Ray Rasker, whom Steed cited in congressional testimony, said the study’s statistical model “‘made no sense at all’ and called some of their conclusions ‘nonsense.’”

In 2011, Brian Steed co-authored a paper at Utah State University claiming the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument designation “reduced the decade-to-decade growth in total nonfarm payrolls by an estimated $146 million, and no statistically significant effect on per capita income or tax receipts.”

In the paper, Steed argued conservationists and monument advocates “have failed to evaluate and understand the data fully – we do not find evidence supporting [the claim that conservation-driven protection designation also improves economic conditions], and find some evidence to the contrary.”

Steed continued, “We also note that the three economic indicators we used do not necessarily represent the final word on whether or not the GSENM was good or not for the counties of Kane and Garfield counties. It may be that the effects take decades to realize, or that there are other demographic and economic indicators affected in a way that our analysis does not take into account. IRS, state income tax data, building permit data, or additional demographic indicators would paint a much more complete picture.” [Randy T. Simmons, Brian Steed, Ryan M. Yonk, “Politics, Economics, and Federal Land Designation: Assess the Economic Impact of Land Protection- Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument,” Utah State University, 12/19/11]

Economist Ray Rasker, who “was cited in Steed’s testimony, said of Steed’s group, ‘their statistical model made no sense at all’ and called some of their conclusions ‘nonsense.'” [Peter Goodman, “Their View: Permanent Organ Mountain protection would increase jobs,” Las Cruces Sun-News, 02/19/12]

In a congressional hearing in 2011, Brian Steed touted the potential of oil and coal development within Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument.

In 2011, Brian Steed testified in a hearing of the House Natural Resources Subcommittee on National Parks, Forests and Public Lands, where he claimed “the Grand Staircase contain[ed] a treasure trove of mineral deposits” including “an estimated 62 billion tons of coal” and “an estimated 270 million barrels of oil.” Brian Steed, “H.R. 41, H.R. 113, H.R. 490, H.R. 608, H.R. 977, H.R. 1126, H.R. 1413 and H.R. 2050,” Hearing of House Natural Resources Subcommittee on National Parks, Forests and Public Lands, 10/25/11]

In 2012, Brian Steed co-authored a paper claiming wilderness designations “‘impose costs on local economies'” and result in no “positive economic outcomes for local economies.”

In 2012, Brian Steed co-published a paper at Utah State University claiming there was “‘no evidence that wilderness land designations result in positive economic outcomes for local economies.’ Rather, wilderness designations ‘impose costs on local economies’ that call for the need to develop ‘a consensus-building approach to new wilderness area designations.'” [Scott Streater, “Former Utah Hill aide named deputy director,” Energy & Environment, 10/04/17]

In the paper, Steed co-wrote, “we find no evidence that wilderness land designations result in positive economic outcomes for local economies. Rather, our results suggest that formal wilderness designations accompany worse economic outcomes, particularly when considering median household income, total tax receipts, and total payroll payments.” [Ryan M. Yonk, Brian C. Steed, Randy T. Simmons, & R. Christopher Martin, “Boon or Bust: Wilderness Designation and Local Economies,” Journal of Private Enterprise, 04/30/12]

In 2013, Brian Steed co-authored a paper suggesting that wilderness designations force counties to raise property and sales taxes “to cover the costs” of Wilderness Lands.

In 2013, Brian Steed co-authored a paper at Utah State University suggesting that counties with Wilderness Designated Land may be raising local property tax rates “to cover the costs associated with the presence of Wilderness Lands.” “Because of the extra costs associated with having Wilderness Lands within a county, the counties are spending more on fire and protection, hospitals and health, and highways.”

“Although many say that the reason the property and sales taxes are higher in these counties is because of an influx of tourism and recreation, none of my tests looked at expenditures within the county as a reason for tax increases. Therefore, we infer that the reason there is an increase in tax revenue in counties with Wilderness Lands is because the counties have higher tax rates in these counties because the counties cost more money to function. The counties are bearing the costs of Wilderness by raising the tax rates within the county.” [Sarah Reale, Randy T. Simmons, Brian Steed, and Ryan M. Yonk, “Green Revenue? Local Governments and Wilderness Designation,” Utah State University, 05/03/13]

In addition to publishing a number of studies through USU, Brian Steed appears to be a current research fellow at the University. In the past few years, Utah State University has taken in more than $26 million from the foundation of oil billionaire Charles Koch, which “routinely cultivate[s] relationships with professors and deans and fund[s] specific courses of economic study pitched by them.”

Brian Steed, currently listed as a fellow at Utah State University’s Institute of Political Economy, has been an economics instructor and proposal development specialist at the Utah State University’s Jon M. Huntsman School of Business since 2010. [LinkedIn Profile for Brian Steed, accessed 10/26/17 and “Fellows,” Utah State University’s Institute of Political Economy, accessed 10/26/17]

In 2015, the Charles Koch Foundation made a “$1.5 million grant to USU” that “drew a backlash from a group of students seeking transparency on the arrangement.”

In 2017, the Charles Koch Foundation contributed $25 million to Utah State University’s business school. The Koch Foundation gift created new faculty positions, supported “faculty and student research,” and expanded “the Koch Scholars program, which offers academic stipends to a small group of students to attend weekly discussions on books and other curated materials.” [Benjamin Wood, “Huntsman family, Koch foundation give combined $50 million gift to Utah State University’s business school,” Salt Lake Tribune, 05/06/17]

Oil billionaires Charles and David Koch “routinely cultivate relationships with professors and deans and fund specific courses of economic study pitched by them.” [Dave Levinthal, “Spreading the Free-Market Gospel,” Atlantic, 10/30/15]

Brian Steed was the longtime Chief of Staff for federal land transfer advocate Rep. Chris Stewart.

Chris Stewart was one of the founding members of the Federal Land Action Group, which planned to “develop a legislative framework for transferring federal lands to local ownership and control.”

In 2017, Chris Stewart sponsored H.R. 2423, which would force the BLM to route a “4-mile transportation corridor through the Red Cliffs National Conservation Area” in Utah. [Chris Stewart, Press Release, 04/28/15, and Scott Streater, “Panel bickers over corridor for Utah BLM conservation area,” Energy & Environment, 05/24/17]


Political Connections

Brian Steed served as Chief of Staff for Rep. Chris Stewart since he was sworn into Congress in 2013 until October 2017. Steed also served as Stewart’s campaign manager during his first run for Congress in 2012.

[Bryan Schott, “Stewart’s chief of staff jumps to the BLM,” Utah Policy, 10/04/17]


Current Activity

  • Potential Conflict of Interest:

Brian Steed was Chief of Staff for Rep. Chris Stewart when he sponsored a bill that would force the BLM to route a “4-mile transportation corridor through the Red Cliffs National Conservation Area” in Utah.

In his new position as Deputy Director of Programs and Policy at the Bureau of Land Management, Steed is one of the top officials of the agency that, in May of 2017, his former boss tried to force to approve a transportation corridor going through a National Conservation Area. [Scott Streater, “Panel bickers over corridor for Utah BLM conservation area,” Energy & Environment, 05/24/17]


Financials

A&K Steed Family Properties, LLC

According to his 2017 financial disclosure form, Brian Steed owns 11.4% of his family’s LLC, A&K Steed Family Properties, LLC. A&K Steed Family Properties, LLC is valued at over $1,000,000, and owns properties in North Logan, Utah and Bear Lake West, Idaho.

Financial Disclosure

[Office of Government Ethics]

Department of Interior salary: $168,000

[Brian Steed, ProPublica’s Trump Town, accessed 03/15/18]


Other Information

In 2016, Brian Steed gave a speech in which he said “large-scale transfer” of federal public lands was one of the “variety of things that could be done” to improve Westerners’ situation. He continued, saying Westerners had multiple options for land management “even if we don’t get the lands transferred tomorrow.” Steed complimented American Lands Council member and land transfer enthusiast Demar Dahl on his land transfer initiatives, saying that Congressman Steed’s staff had been “happy to have the commissioner back in Washington DC.”

In 2016, Brian Steed gave a speech on “How to Best Involve Elected Officials in Your Efforts to Influence Policy” at the Public Lands Summit of the West. In his speech, Steed said, “‘The question is this. We have these federal overlords, how do we have them be a little more responsive to the needs that we have? Now I think Commissioner Dahl set this up nicely, and we know that there’s a variety of things that could be done, one of which is seeking large-scale transfer, and we were happy to have the commissioner back in Washington DC, just about two weeks ago, three weeks ago? To talk about Nevada’s efforts, and Utah’s also been engaged in that.” [Brian Steed, “How to Best Involve Elected Officials in Your Efforts to Influence Policy,” YouTube, 10/24/16, (at 03:24)]

Later in his speech, Steed said, “There are a variety of things that we could do, to I think make our situation better, even if we don’t get the lands transferred tomorrow. And so let’s talk about some of those things…. Listen. I’m not going to disagree with Commissioner Dahl, but there’s been a rush in the West to say that land transfer is the only option and we need to do it now, and that means that anything short of land transfer is giving up. And I don’t want to put us in that catch-22. So I would say that we should also encourage our Congress to use the Property Clause…. Congress could theoretically do some creative things [with the Property Clause]. If we ask them to and if we put enough pressure on them to do it.” [Brian Steed, “How to Best Involve Elected Officials in Your Efforts to Influence Policy,” YouTube, 10/24/16, (at 31:05 and at 34:00)]

The man who Steed complimented, Elko County, Nevada Commissioner Demar Dahl, is a “major figure in the pro-land-transfer movement” and is a member of land transfer organization the American Lands Council. Dahl is also director of the Nevada Lands Council, an organization that aims to transfer Nevada’s federal lands to the state. [Tay Wiles, “Trump met with a leader of the land transfer movement,” High Country News, 10/17/16; “Individual Members,” American Lands Council, accessed 03/29/18; Hasani Grayson, “Nevada Lands Council opens Elko office,” Elko Daily Free Press, 02/21/17]

In 2015, the International Conservation Caucus Foundation, an international conservation NGO, paid nearly $3,000 to send Brian Steed to Malawi, Africa, to visit conservation sites and meet with government officials.

In November 2015, the International Conservation Caucus Foundation paid $2987.45 to send Brian Steed to Malawi to meet with Malawian government officials and visit conservation sites, including multiple national parks and wildlife reserves. [“Brian C. Steed, Congressional Staffer – Privately Financed Travel,” Legistorm, accessed 10/25/17]

The International Conservation Caucus Foundation advocates for “market-based conservation solutions” and “works to educate U.S. policymakers on international conservation, using good science and models of public-private partnerships that invest in protecting biodiversity and natural resources. [“About Us,” International Conservation Caucus Foundation, accessed 10/25/17]

Brian Steed has raked in more than $615,000 from the federal government.

Since 2013, Brian Steed has made $615,450.62 in salary as Chief of Staff to Rep. Chris Stewart. [“Brian C. Steed, Congressional Staffer – Salary Data,” Legistorm, accessed 10/24/17]


Special Interests
Federal Land Action Group (Political Extremism)

Steed was Rep. Chris Stewart's Chief of Staff. Stewart was one of the two founding members of the Federal Land Action Group, which is "committed to developing a legislative framework for transferring federal lands to local ownership and control."

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also connected to:

Koch Industries (Resource Development on Public Lands)

Brian Steed taught and published studies at Utah State University, which has taken in more than $25 million from the foundation of Koch Industries CEO Charles Koch.

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also connected to:

Austin Ewell

Water and Science
/
Deputy Assistant Secretary

Current Activity

  • Potential Conflict of Interest

According to the most recently available documents on the California Secretary of State’s website, Austin Ewell is a manager of Ewell Consulting Group LLC, an organization that engages in “land, water and environmental consulting.”

As Deputy Assistant Secretary of Water and Science, Ewell oversees the Bureau of Reclamation, a water management agency. Potential conflicts of interest could arise between Ewell’s involvement in his company and his government position.

[Search for Ewell Consulting Group LLC, California Secretary of State Business Search Database, accessed 10/30/17, and “About Us,” Bureau of Reclamation, accessed 10/30/17]


Financials

Financial Disclosure

[Office of Government Ethics]

Department of the Interior Salary: $170,000

[Austin Ewell, ProPublica’s Trump Town, accessed 03/14/18]

 


Special Interests
Ewell Consulting Group, LLC (Resource Development on Public Lands)

Ewell is a manager of Ewell Consulting Group LLC, a Fresno-based consulting business that that engages in "land, water and environmental consulting."

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also connected to:

James "Steven" Gardner

Office of Surface Mining, Reclamation and Enforcement
/
Former Nominee for Director

Background Information
Previous Employers

ECSI

Specialty Coal Processing, Inc.

Bethlehem Mines Corporation

Big K Operating Company

Kenwill, Inc.

Additional Background on Employers of Note:

Since 1983, Steven Gardner has been the president and CEO of ECSI, LLC, a consulting firm that works on energy and mining development, including a conceptual mining plan used by owners in their court case pursuing “compensation for taken and sterilized [mining] assets.”

Since 1983, Steven Gardner has been the president and CEO of ECSI, LLC, an international engineering consulting firm that works on energy and mining development, including creating a conceptual mining plan in West Virginia that was used in a court case where owners pursued “compensation for taken and sterilized [mining] assets.”

[Alumni profile for J. Steven Gardner, University of Kentucky, accessed 10/27/17, “Quarry Appraisal,” ECSI, LLC, 07/02/17, “Conceptual Mine Plan,” ECSI, LLC, 07/01/17, and Ken Ward Jr., “Coal consultant named to run federal strip-mine office,” Charleston Gazette-Mail, 10/26/17]

In 2011, Steven Gardner gave Congressional testimony alleging that when he helped OSMRE on the stream protection rule, they had “pressured him… to tweak the data to minimize the impact the rule would have on jobs and coal production.”

During the early years of the Obama administration, Steven Gardner worked as a subcontractor to “help draft environmental documents for the Obama OSMRE’s stream protection rule.” In 2011, he “testified at a House Natural Resources Subcommittee that OSMRE had pressured him and others working on the environmental impact statement to tweak the data to minimize the impact the rule would have on jobs and coal production.”

[Esther Whieldon, “Trump taps Kentucky coal mining consultant to lead OSMRE,” Politico Pro, 10/26/17]

Steven Gardner has assessed many of the “major HUC 8 watersheds” in and around Kentucky, including one assessment preparing the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to “permit for a large mountaintop mining operation” within a 360,000 acres HUC 8 watershed.

While at ECSI, LLC, Steven Gardner created an assessment to prepare the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to “permit for a large mountaintop mining operation… includ[ing] taking a cross-section of impacts within a HUC 8 watershed (360,000 acres), collecting and analyzing macroinvertebrate sampling and surface water monitoring.”

[Alumni profile for J. Steven Gardner, University of Kentucky, accessed 10/27/17]

Steven Gardner has also organized “similar” assessment projects “on the other five major HUC 8 watersheds in Eastern Kentucky, which are arguably the largest watershed assessments done to date.”

[Alumni profile for J. Steven Gardner, University of Kentucky, accessed 10/27/17]


Political Connections

Since 2004, Steven Gardner has contributed at least $5,000 to Republican candidates and causes, including Andy Barr, Hal Rogers, and Rand Paul.

[Political Moneyline search for James Gardner, CQ, accessed 10/27/17]


Other Information

Steven Gardner claimed the government “sometimes makes bad scientific decisions” about mining and “incorrectly find[s] environmental, safety or health problems associated with mining.”

According to Gardner, many times the decisions are based on “incomplete or misleading interpretation of data or in reaction to a public outcry on a particular incident.”

[“J. Steven Gardner; An Interview with the 2015 SME President,” Mining Engineering Magazine, 03/15]

Steven Gardner has claimed that the “image of mining routinely portrayed is very misleading,” and that “the Sierra Club and activist groups [have] used fear and exaggeration that many accepted as fact.”

[J. Steven Gardner Op-Ed, “J. Steven Gardner: ‘War on coal’ real, inflicting serious pain,” Lexington Herald-Leader, 12/08/14]

Steven Gardner supports “the economic development of reclaimed mountaintop surface mines.”

[J. Steven Gardner Op-Ed, “Overturned rule was unfair, unscientific attack on coal,” Lexington Herald-Leader, 02/17/17]

Steven Gardner believes there is “no such thing as renewable energy.”

[J. Steven Gardner Op-Ed, “Overturned rule was unfair, unscientific attack on coal,” Lexington Herald-Leader, 02/17/17]

In 2015, Steven Gardner was the President of the Society for Mining, Metallurgy and Exploration (SME).

[Department of the Interior, Press Release, 10/26/17]

Steven Gardner “served on the Tennessee Department of Labor’s volunteer mine rescue team.”

[Alumni profile for J. Steven Gardner, University of Kentucky, accessed 10/27/17]


Special Interests
ECSI LLC (Resource Development on Public Lands)

Gardner is the President and CEO of ECSI, LLC, an engineering consulting firm that works on energy and mining development.

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also connected to:

Bethlehem Mines Corporation (Resource Development on Public Lands)

Gardner previously worked as a project engineer in the Elkhorn Division of Bethlehem Mines Corporation.

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also connected to:

Big K Operating Company (Resource Development on Public Lands)

Gardner previously worked as a partner and consulting engineer for Big K Operating Company, which is now part of National Coal.

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also connected to:

Specialty Coal Processing Inc. (Resource Development on Public Lands)

From 2003 to 2006 Gardner was the Chairman/CEO of Specialty Coal Processing Inc., a company that provided "coal products for the international Silicon Metals Industry and other specialty markets."

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also connected to:

Kenwill Inc. (Resource Development on Public Lands)

Gardner previously worked as Vice-President of the Engineering Division for Kenwill Inc., a position in which he "coordinated contract engineering services for approximately 20 underground mines."

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also connected to:

Strata Products LLC (Resource Development on Public Lands)

In 2007, Gardner managed a project for Strata Products, a company that "designs, manufactures, and distributes emergency refuge chambers and underground mining roof support products."

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also connected to:

Tara Sweeney

Indian Affairs
/
Assistant Secretary

Background Information
Previous Employers

Arctic Slope Regional Corporation

Arctic Power

Arctic Economic Council

Van Ness Feldman

Additional Background on Employers of Note:

Tara Sweeney was a lobbyist for Arctic Slope Regional Corporation (ASRC), an Alaskan oil and coal organization. ASRC has already leased millions of acres of land to Anadarko, Chevron Texaco, and BP for oil drilling, including all of their land within ANWR, and is currently looking for a coal development company “to explore and develop its coal deposits located on its lands in the western Arctic.” Sweeney has worked at ARSC for nearly 20 years, and most recently, worked as executive vice president of external affairs.

Tara Sweeney was a registered lobbyist for Arctic Slope Regional Corp. in 2005, 2006, and 2007. [Search for Tara Sweeney, United States Senate Lobbying Disclosure Act Database, accessed 10/20/17, and “New rural affairs adviser hopes to bridge divide,” Peninsula Clarion, 01/06/03]

Tara Sweeney is “the executive vice president of external affairs for Arctic Slope Regional Corporation (ASRC),” and has worked there “for nearly 20 years in a variety of roles.” ASRC’s subsidiaries operate “in petroleum refining and marketing,” and “oilfield engineering, operations, maintenance, construction, fabrication, regulatory and permitting” for “oil and gas companies in Alaska, the Gulf of Mexico, the Russian Federation, and Canada.”

“Since 1996, Sweeney has been with Arctic Slope Regional Corp. and a subsidiary, Houston Contracting Co.-Alaska Ltd., working in labor relations, shareholder relations and government affairs, including lobbying for ANWR.”

“In 1998, ASRC entered into an agreement with Anadarko Petroleum Corporation, giving them exclusive exploratory access to 3.3 million acres of land controlled by ASRC. This agreement gives Anadarko, exploration rights to 2.3 million acres of ASRC land… In 2001 Anadarko exercised its option to take lands to lease with the leasing of 217 lease blocks covering over 1.1 million acres.”

ASRC, which leases all its land in the beautiful Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to Chevron Texaco and BP, boasts on its website that the ANWR “is thought to hold North America’s greatest potential for significant onshore oil and gas discoveries.” [White House, Press Release, 10/16/17, Arctic Slope Regional Corporation, Press Release, 10/17/17, “Company Overview of Arctic Slope Regional Corporation,” Bloomberg, accessed 10/20/17, “Oil,” Arctic Slope Regional Corporation, accessed 10/20/17, and “New rural affairs adviser hopes to bridge divide,” Peninsula Clarion, 01/06/03]

ASRC is currently looking for a “development company to explore and develop its coal deposits located on its lands in the western Arctic.” It boasts that “Alaska’s North Slope could be the world’s coal storehouse for the next century,” claiming that “four trillion tons of high quality bituminous and subbitumious coal,” or “one-ninth of the world’s known coal resource… are estimated to lie within the Northern Alaska Coal Province.” [“Coal,” Arctic Slope Regional Corporation, accessed 10/20/17]

Tara Sweeney sits on the board of Arctic Power, a group dedicated to getting federal “approval of oil and gas exploration and production” in ANWR. Arctic Power members also include the Alaska Oil & Gas Association and the Alaska Miners Association.

Tara Sweeney sits on the board of Arctic Power, a group dedicated to getting federal “approval of oil and gas exploration and production within the Coastal Plain of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.” The Alaska Oil & Gas Association, Alaska State Chamber of Commerce, and Alaska Miners Association are “represented on the Arctic Power board and through its membership.” [“Arctic Science as a Vehicle for STEM Education and Citizen Empowerment Speaker Biographies,” Arctic Research Consortium of the United States, accessed 10/20/17; and “About Us,” Arctic Power, accessed 10/20/17]

Tara Sweeney was the chair of the Arctic Economic Council, whose board is heavily influenced by oil companies and companies that profit off oil development.

Tara Sweeney “served as chair of the Arctic Economic Council from 2015-2017, and currently serves as one of the organization’s vice-chairs.” [“Tara Sweeney,” The Arctic Energy Summit, accessed 10/18/17]

The Arctic Economic Council has a heavy influence from oil companies and companies that profit off oil development. Of the four other Executive Committee members, two have deep oil ties:

Vice Chair Evgeniy Ambrosov is the COO of PAO Sovcomflot, “Russia’s largest shipping company and one of the world’s leading transporters of energy by sea.”

Vice Chair Erling Kvadsheim is the Director of international affairs for the Norwegian Oil and Gas Association, and has “spent his entire career in the oil and gas sector.” [“About Us,” Arctic Economic Council, accessed 10/20/17, and “Members,” Arctic Economic Council, accessed 10/20/17]

Tara Sweeney began her career at “the Washington, D.C., law firm of Van Ness Feldman” where she “lobbied Congress to open the Arctic refuge to oil exploration.”

Tara Sweeney began her career as “an intern with the Washington, D.C., law firm of Van Ness Feldman. In that position, she started working with Murkowski and his staff as she lobbied Congress to open the Arctic refuge to oil exploration.” [“New rural affairs adviser hopes to bridge divide,” Peninsula Clarion, 01/06/03]


Political Connections

Tara Sweeney co-chaired “Senator Dan Sullivan’s (R-AK) successful 2014 Senate campaign” and has donated nearly $6,000 to Senator Sullivan.

Tara Sweeney “served as co-chair for Senator Dan Sullivan’s (R-AK) successful 2014 Senate campaign.” [“Tara Sweeney,” The Arctic Energy Summit, accessed 10/20/17]

Tara Sweeney has donated $5,700 to Dan Sullivan:

  • $500 in December 2013
  • $1,500 in June 2014
  • $3,200 in September 2014 (total of two contributions)
  • $500 in August 2017

[Political Moneyline Search for Tara Sweeney, CQ, accessed 10/20/17, and Search for Tara Sweeney, Federal Election Commission, accessed 10/20/17]

Tara Sweeney has donated over $7,000 to Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-AK).

Tara Sweeney has donated $7,150 to Lisa Murkowski:

  • $500 in April 2009
  • $1,000 in March 2010
  • $900 in July 2010
  • $250 in June 2011
  • $1,000 in October 2011
  • $500 in August 2012
  • $500 in March 2013
  • $1,000 in February 2014 (total of two contributions)
  • $1,500 in June 2015 (total of two contributions)

[Political Moneyline Search for Tara Sweeney, CQ, accessed 10/20/17, and Search for Tara Sweeney, Federal Election Commission, accessed 10/20/17]

Tara Sweeney has donated to $5,600 Rep. Don Young (R-AK).

Tara Sweeney has donated $5,600 to Don Young:

  • $500 in October 2008
  • $500 in October 2009
  • $1,000 in July 2016
  • $700 in August 2016
  • $900 in September 2016 (total of two contributions)
  • $1,000 in February 2017
  • $1,000 in August 2017

[Political Moneyline Search for Tara Sweeney, CQ, accessed 10/20/17, and Search for Tara Sweeney, Federal Election Commission, accessed 10/20/17]


Current Activity

Tara Sweeney’s husband’s company is currently getting paid $15,000 a month to promote a natural gas project for the state of Alaska.  

Tara Sweeney is married to Kevin Sweeney, who worked for Senator Lisa Murkowski until September 2017. [“Kevin Sweeney,” Legistorm profile, accessed 10/20/17, “Tara MacLean Sweeney,” Legistorm profile, accessed 10/20/17]

Kevin Sweeney started consulting company Six-7 Strategies after he stopped working for Senator Murkowski. [“Spouse of Bureau of Indian Affairs nominee lands deal with ex-Trump aide,” Indianz, 04/09/18]

Black Rock Group, a consulting company owned by former Trump staffer Mike Dubke, has a contract to advise the Alaska Gasline Development Corporation on its communication strategy. Black Rock Group hired Sweeney’s firm, Six-7 Strategies, as a subcontractor to “focus more on in-state messaging” to promote the Alaska gasline project. [“Spouse of Bureau of Indian Affairs nominee lands deal with ex-Trump aide,” Indianz, 04/09/18, Liz Ruskin, “Gasline signs a DC insider,” Alaska Public Media, 04/02/18]

  • Potential Conflict of Interest

Tara Sweeney has worked nearly 20 years for Alaskan oil and coal company Arctic Slope Regional Corporation (ASRC). ASRC leases millions of acres of land to Anadarko, Chevron Texaco, and BP for oil drilling, including all of their land within ANWR, and is currently looking for a coal development company “to explore and develop its coal deposits located on its lands in the western Arctic.” Sweeney “has pushed for Congress to open the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to energy development.”

Tara Sweeney is “the executive vice president of external affairs for Arctic Slope Regional Corporation (ASRC),” and has worked there “for nearly 20 years in a variety of roles.” ASRC’s subsidiaries operate “in petroleum refining and marketing,” and “oilfield engineering, operations, maintenance, construction, fabrication, regulatory and permitting” for “oil and gas companies in Alaska, the Gulf of Mexico, the Russian Federation, and Canada.”

“In 1998, ASRC entered into an agreement with Anadarko Petroleum Corporation, giving them exclusive exploratory access to 3.3 million acres of land controlled by ASRC. This agreement gives Anadarko, exploration rights to 2.3 million acres of ASRC land… In 2001 Anadarko exercised its option to take lands to lease with the leasing of 217 lease blocks covering over 1.1 million acres.”

ASRC, which leases all its land in the beautiful Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to Chevron Texaco and BP, boasts on its website that the ANWR “is thought to hold North America’s greatest potential for significant onshore oil and gas discoveries.” [White House, Press Release, 10/16/17,  Arctic Slope Regional Corporation, Press Release, 10/17/17, “Company Overview of Arctic Slope Regional Corporation,” Bloomberg, accessed 10/20/17, and “Oil,” Arctic Slope Regional Corporation, accessed 10/20/17]

ASRC is currently looking for a “development company to explore and develop its coal deposits located on its lands in the western Arctic.” It boasts that “Alaska’s North Slope could be the world’s coal storehouse for the next century,” claiming approximately 2 billion tons of high rank bituminous coal, or “one-ninth of the world’s known coal resource… are estimated to lie within the Northern Alaska Coal Province.” [“Coal,” Arctic Slope Regional Corporation, accessed 10/20/17]

“Sweeney also has pushed for Congress to open the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to energy development. The Arctic Slope Regional Corporation owns subsurface rights and the Kaktovik Iñupiat Corporation owns surface rights to land within ANWR where development could occur.” [“Alaska Native executive Tara Sweeney named to top Bureau of Indian Affairs job,” Indianz.com, 10/17/17]

If approved, the “controversial Liberty project,” which has been opposed by environmental groups, would be a nine-acre gravel island that would be the “nation’s first oil production platform in federal Arctic waters.” The project is in the final stages of permitting at Interior. Ten percent of the Liberty project is owned by Arctic Slope Exploration, an Arctic Slope Regional Corporation subsidiary. 

Arctic Slope Regional Corporation is currently involved with “the controversial Liberty project in the Arctic.” The Liberty project “would involve construction of a nine-acre” artificial gravel island, “drilling wells to tap underwater oil reserves and building an underwater pipeline more than five miles long to send the oil to onshore facilities.” Development costs for the project “are estimated at $1 billion,” and Liberty is expected to “produce 50,000 to 80,000 barrels per day if it proceeds.” [“Hilcorp Only Bidder in Alaskan Lease Sale,” Maritime Executive, 06/21/17, Elizabeth Harball, “Industry, environmental groups speak out as Hilcorp paves the way for drilling in federal Arctic waters,” Alaska Public Media, 10/11/17, and Tim Bradner, “ConocoPhillips, Hilcorp moving ahead aggressively with production and exploration,” Mat-Su Valley Frontiersman, 11/18/17]

Environmental groups and opponents have criticized the project because oil “spills are inevitable and cannot be cleaned up in icy Arctic water.” If the project moves forward, it will be the first drilling in federal Arctic waters since 2015 and the “nation’s first oil production platform in federal Arctic waters.” [Dan Joling, “Company seeks to build island off Alaska for Arctic drilling,” Associated Press, 10/19/17, and Elizabeth Harball, “Industry, environmental groups speak out as Hilcorp paves the way for drilling in federal Arctic waters,” Alaska Public Media, 10/11/17

“A final decision” on the Liberty Project “is in the hands of Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke.” The development of Liberty “is now in the final stages of permitting with the U.S. Bureau of Offshore Energy Management.” [Dan Joling, “Company seeks to build island off Alaska for Arctic drilling,” Associated Press, 10/19/17, and Tim Bradner, “ConocoPhillips, Hilcorp moving ahead aggressively with production and exploration,” Mat-Su Valley Frontiersman, 11/18/17]

Ten percent of the Liberty project is owned by Arctic Slope Exploration, which is a subsidiary of Arctic Slope Regional Corporation. The rest of Liberty is owned by Hilcorp and BP, who own 50 percent and 40 percent of the project, respectively. [Tim Bradner, “ConocoPhillips, Hilcorp moving ahead aggressively with production and exploration,” Mat-Su Valley Frontiersman, 11/18/17]

As the Executive Vice President of External Affairs for Arctic Slope Regional Corporation, Tara Sweeney’s company would stand to benefit if the Liberty Project goes forward. [“ASRC Management,” Arctic Slope Regional Corporation, accessed 12/12/17]


Financials

Financial Disclosure

Ethics Agreement 

[Office of Government Ethics]


Other Information

Tara Sweeney is a director of the non-profit Ted Stevens Foundation; BP has pledged $1 million to the foundation.

Tara Sweeney is a director of Alaska non-profit Ted Stevens Foundation, which took in a $1 million pledge from oil giant BP in order to “support the cataloguing of [Senator Ted] Stevens’ papers” that Stevens had “stored in the basement of the University of Alaska Fairbanks library.” [State of Alaska Department of Commerce, Community, and Economic Development Business Search for The Ted Stevens Foundation, accessed 10/20/17 and “Empire Editorial: Foundation plans to censor Ted Stevens’ legacy,” Juneau Empire, 07/21/15]

Tara Sweeney “represents the Iñuit Circumpolar Council,” an international NGO “representing approximately 160,000 Inuit of Alaska, Canada, Greenland, and Chukotka (Russia).”

Tara Sweeney “represents the Iñuit Circumpolar Council,” an “international non-government organization representing approximately 160,000 Inuit of Alaska, Canada, Greenland, and Chukotka (Russia).” [“Tara Sweeney,” The Arctic Energy Summit, accessed 10/20/17, and “About ICC,” Iñuit Circumpolar Council, accessed 10/20/17]


Special Interests
Arctic Slope Regional Corporation (Resource Development on Public Lands)

Sweeney worked for nearly 20 years for ASRC, which has leased millions of acres of land to Anadarko, Chevron Texaco, and BP, including all of their land within ANWR.

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also connected to:

Arctic Power (Resource Development on Public Lands)

Sweeney is on the board of Arctic Power, a group dedicated to opening up oil and gas exploration and production in ANWR. The board also includes members from the Alaska Oil & Gas Association.

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also connected to:

Arctic Economic Council (Resource Development on Public Lands)

Sweeney was the chair of the Arctic Economic Council, whose board is heavily influenced by oil companies and companies that profit off oil development.

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also connected to:

Matthew Adams

Royalty Policy Committee
/
Primary Member, Mineral/Energy Stakeholder

Background Information
Previous Employers

Ernst & Young

Intrepid Potash

Cloud Peak Energy  

Additional Background on Employers of Note:

In addition to being Vice President of Tax for Cloud Peak Energy, Matthew Adams is also the Vice President of Tax for 27 of Cloud Peak Energy’s subsidiaries.

Matthew Adams is also the Vice President of Tax for a number of Cloud Peak’s subsidiaries, including: Antelope Coal LLC, Arrowhead I LLC, Arrowhead II LLC, Arrowhead III LLC, Big Metal Coal Co. LLC, Caballo Rojo Holdings LLC, Caballo Rojo LLC, Cloud Peak Energy Finance Corp., Cloud Peak Energy Logistics LLC, Cloud Peak Energy Logistics I LLC, Cloud Peak Energy Resources LLC, Cloud Peak Energy Services Company, Cordero Mining Holdings LLC, Cordero Mining LLC, Cordero Oil and Gas LLC, Kennecott Coal Sales LLC, NERCO Coal LLC, NERCO Coal Sales LLC, NERCO LLC, Prospect Land and Development LLC, Resource Development LLC, Sequatchie Valley Coal Corporation, Spring Creek Coal LLC, Western Minerals LLC, Youngs Creek Holdings I LLC, Youngs Creek Holdings II LLC, Youngs Creek Mining Company LLC. [Form T-3, United States Securities and Exchange Commission, 10/07/16]


Political Connections

Matthew Adams, since 2015, has donated at least $940 to Cloud Peak Energy Resources LLC Employee Political Action Committee.

In the 2016 election cycle, Cloud Peak Energy Resources Political Action Committee donated $10,000 to then-Congressman Ryan Zinke, $6,000 to Senate and Energy and Natural Resources Committee Chair Lisa Murkowski, and $2,600 to Senate and Energy and Natural Resources Committee member Steve Daines. [Political Moneyline Search for Matthew Adams, CQ, accessed 09/18/17, and Cloud Peak Energy Resources, Center for Responsive Politics, 09/18/17]


Other Information

Matthew Adams has been a board member of the New Mexico Tax Research Institute, an organization that has received over $130,000 in funding from energy companies and that has published reports favorable to the oil and gas industry.

In July 2012, Matthew Adams became a board member of the New Mexico Tax Research Institute (NMTRI). [“Tax Matters,” New Mexico Tax Research Institute, 07/04/12]

On its website, NMTRI describes itself as “a nonprofit, nonpartisan, member-supported organization” that does “not advocate any agenda for or against taxation.” [“About NMTRI,” New Mexico Tax Research Institute, accessed 09/18/17]

However, the New Mexico Tax Research Institute has received significant contributions from energy companies. In 2015 alone, the year most recent year for which NMTRI’s 990 form is available, they received $132,001 from energy companies, including: $15,000 from Chevron, $12,000 from Freeport McMoran, $10,000 from ConocoPhillips, $75,001 Occidental Petroleum Corp, $10,000 from Western Refining Inc., and $10,000 from Mack Energy Corporation. [“New Mexico Tax Research Institute 990 Form,” ProPublica, accessed 09/19/17]

The New Mexico Tax Research Institute has conducted reports paid for by the New Mexico Oil & Gas Association. A report NMTRI released in 2014, partially funded by industry, found that “even counties where there is little oil and gas development have benefited from those industries.” [Mark Passwaters, “NM oil, gas producers’ taxes are significant source of state revenue, report finds,” SNL Daily Gas Report, 03/24/14, and “Report: New Mexico leans on oil, gas revenue,” Associated Press, 03/16/14]


Special Interests
Intrepid Potash (Resource Development on Public Lands)

Adams worked at Intrepid Potash, a Denver based company that sells potash and langbeinite products in the United States and internationally.

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also connected to:

Cloud Peak Energy (Resource Development on Public Lands)

Adams is the Vice President of Tax of Cloud Peak Energy, one of the largest U.S. coal producers with operations in Wyoming and Montana.

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also connected to:

New Mexico Tax Research Institute (Resource Development on Public Lands)

Adams has been, and possibly still is, a board member of the New Mexico Tax Research Institute, which has received over $130,000 in funding from energy companies and that has published reports favorable to the oil and gas industry.

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also connected to:

Antelope Coal LLC (Resource Development on Public Lands)

As of 2016, Adams was the Vice President of Tax of Antelope Coal LLC, a subsidiary of Cloud Peak Energy.

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also connected to:

Arrowhead I LLC (Resource Development on Public Lands)

As of 2016, Adams was the Vice President of Tax of Arrowhead I LLC, a subsidiary of Cloud Peak Energy.

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also connected to:

Big Metal Coal Company LLC (Resource Development on Public Lands)

As of 2016, Adams was the Vice President of Tax of Arrowhead I LLC, a subsidiary of Cloud Peak Energy.

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also connected to:

Caballo Rojo Holdings LLC (Resource Development on Public Lands)

As of 2016, Adams was the Vice President of Tax of Caballo Rojo Holdings LLC, a subsidiary of Cloud Peak Energy.

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also connected to:

Caballo Rojo LLC (Resource Development on Public Lands)

As of 2016, Adams was the Vice President of Tax of Caballo Rojo LLC, a subsidiary of Cloud Peak Energy.

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also connected to:

Cloud Peak Energy Finance Corporation (Resource Development on Public Lands)

As of 2016, Adams was the Vice President of Tax of Cloud Peak Energy Finance Corp., a subsidiary of Cloud Peak Energy.

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also connected to:

Cloud Peak Energy Logistics LLC (Resource Development on Public Lands)

As of 2016, Adams was the Vice President of Tax of Cloud Peak Energy Logistics LLC, a subsidiary of Cloud Peak Energy.

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also connected to:

Cordero Mining Holdings LLC (Resource Development on Public Lands)

As of 2016, Adams was the Vice President of Tax of Cordero Mining Holdings LLC, a subsidiary of Cloud Peak Energy.

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also connected to:

Cordero Mining LLC (Resource Development on Public Lands)

As of 2016, Adams was the Vice President of Tax Cordero Mining LLC, a subsidiary of Cloud Peak Energy.

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also connected to:

Kennecott Coal Sales LLC (Resource Development on Public Lands)

As of 2016, Adams was the Vice President of Tax of Kennecott Coal Sales LLC, a subsidiary of Cloud Peak Energy.

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also connected to:

NERCO Coal LLC (Resource Development on Public Lands)

As of 2016, Adams was the Vice President of Tax of NERCO Coal LLC, a subsidiary of Cloud Peak Energy.

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also connected to:

NERCO Coal Sales LLC (Resource Development on Public Lands)

As of 2016, Adams was the Vice President of Tax of NERCO Coal Sales LLC, a subsidiary of Cloud Peak Energy.

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also connected to:

Prospect Land and Development LLC (Resource Development on Public Lands)

Adams is the Vice President of Tax of Prospect Land and Development LLC, a subsidiary of Cloud Peak Energy.

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also connected to:

Resource Development LLC (Resource Development on Public Lands)

Adams is the Vice President of Tax of Prospect Land and Development LLC, a subsidiary of Cloud Peak Energy.

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also connected to:

Sequatchie Valley Coal Corporation (Resource Development on Public Lands)

As of 2016, Adams was the Vice President of Sequatchie Valley Coal Corporation, a subsidiary of Cloud Peak Energy.

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also connected to:

Spring Creek Coal LLC (Resource Development on Public Lands)

As of 2016, Adams was the Vice President of Spring Creek Coal LLC, a subsidiary of Cloud Peak Energy.

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also connected to:

Western Minerals LLC (Resource Development on Public Lands)

As of 2016, Adams was the Vice President of Western Minerals LLC, a subsidiary of Cloud Peak Energy.

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also connected to:

Randall Luthi

Royalty Policy Committee
/
Primary Member, Mineral/Energy Stakeholder

Background Information
Previous Employers

Department of Commerce

Department of the Interior

Wyoming House of Representatives

Luthi & Voyles

National Ocean Industries Association

Additional Background on Employers of Note: 

While Randall Luthi was the head of DOI’s Minerals Management Service (MMS), staffers in its Lake Charles, Louisiana, district office “accepted sport event tickets, lunches,” “hunting trips and other gifts from the oil and gas companies they were regulating.”

Randall Luthi “served as head of Interior’s Minerals Management Service (MMS)” from “mid-2007 to late 2009.” [Sue Sturgis, “The energy lobbyists linked to Trump’s offshore drilling plans,” Facing South, 04/14/17]

In May 2010, an Interior Inspector General report noted “a number of violations of federal regulations and agency ethics rules by employees of MMS’ Lake Charles, LA, district office from 2000-2008.” The report found that “staffers in the office… accepted sport event tickets, lunches,” “hunting trips and other gifts from the oil and gas companies they were regulating.” Some of the staffers who accepted the gifts “were tasked with inspections of offshore drilling platforms located in the Gulf of Mexico.” In one case, “an inspector admitted using crystal methamphetamine and said he might have been under the influence of the drug the next day at work.” [Department of the Interior, Press Release, 05/25/10, and “Ethics Rules Imposed after Sex-for-Oil Scandal,” CBS, 08/31/10]

When Randall Luthi ran the Minerals Management Service, a 2008 inspector general report found that, between 2002 and 2006, Interior employees in the Denver MMS office “got drunk at social events with employees of oil companies doing business with the agency and MMS workers had ‘brief sexual relationships’ with industry contacts.” Amid calls for his resignation, Luthi defended the actions of the MMS employees, saying that he did “‘not believe Americans ha[d] lost financially'” from the scandal.

When Randall Luthi headed the Interior Department’s Mineral Management Service, the agency “was involved in a deep ethics scandal that ‘[included] allegations of financial self-dealing, accepting gifts from energy companies, cocaine use and sexual misconduct.”[“Bush’s Department of Interior: Sex, Drugs, and Oil?,” ThinkProgress, 05/20/10]

In September 2008, an “Interior Department Inspector General investigation” found that a “‘culture of substance abuse and promiscuity'” was pervasive in the Denver Minerals Management Service office “from 2002 through 2006.” The report found that government workers “got drunk at social events with employees of oil companies doing business with the agency and MMS workers had ‘brief sexual relationships’ with industry contacts,” and “also highlight[ed] instances where co-workers in the office used cocaine and marijuana.” The oil companies named in the IG report were Chevron, Shell Oil, Hess Corp., and Gary Williams Energy Corp. [“Employees Fired Over Sex-For-Oil Scandal,” Associated Press, 11/21/08, and Tom Doggett, “US Interior Secy ‘outraged’ by oil-sex scandal,” Reuters, 09/11/08]

Even though all “the abuses found by investigators occurred before Randall Luthi took office,” Luthi “spent the last four months of his tenure fighting off calls for his resignation.” In response to the inspector general’s report, Luthi “defended the agency against charges by the DOI inspector general.” He claimed he did “‘not believe Americans ha[d] lost financially,'” but he “admitted ‘it [was] too early to tell’ if government workers gave oil companies financial favors at the expense of taxpayers.” [Rick Outzen, “BP Oil Spill Lawsuit: Cousins Randall Luthi and Jeffery Luthi Pose Conflict of Interest in Case,” Daily Beast, 05/21/10, and Tom Doggett, “US Interior Secy ‘outraged’ by oil-sex scandal,” Reuters, 09/11/08]

In 2007, Randall Luthi co-signed the “environmental review” that allowed BP to drill at the site of the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill.

On April 20, 2010, “a drilling rig owned by Transocean and hired by BP to drill into the Macondo field experienced a series of problems that led to a massive blowout. Investigators later faulted BP and its contractors for fatal missteps… BP’s Macondo well was located in Mississippi Canyon Block 252.” [“Louisiana oil company set to drill near site of Deepwater Horizon spill,” Associated Press, 05/13/15]

“The Minerals Management Service approved BP’s blown out Mississippi Canyon 252 well.” The last environmental review “standing between BP and drilling at the Mississippi Canyon 252 site should have been the October 2007 Minerals Management Service environmental assessment of the ‘Proposed Gulf of Mexico OCS Oil and Gas Lease Sale 206.'” But the MMS’ environmental assessment found “no new significant impact.” This assessment, co-signed by Randall Luthi, “paved the way for” the BP oil spill. [Joshua Dorner, “Cheney’s Culture of Deregulation and Corruption,” Center for American Progress, 06/09/10]


Political Connections

Randall Luthi, since 2001, has donated $71,775 to politicians and political action committees, including to Scott Angelle, the current Director of the Interior Department’s Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement.

Randall Luthi has donated to the Wyoming Republican Party, NOIA’s Political Action Committee, Liz Cheney, and John Barasso, among others. In 2016, Luthi donated $500 to Scott Angelle’s congressional race; Angelle is currently working in the Interior Department as the Director of the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement.

[Political Moneyline Search for Randall Luthi, CQ, accessed 09/21/17, and Mark Schleifstein, “Louisiana politician Scott Angelle chosen to head federal offshore oil safety agency,” Times-Picayune, 05/23/17]


Other Information

Randall Luthi has been described as “a close ally of Dick Cheney.”

[“Bush’s Department of Interior: Sex, Drugs, and Oil?,” ThinkProgress, 05/20/10]

After he left the Department of the Interior, Randall Luthi “sat on a law firm review panel ‘to provide consultation advice’ for oil company Taylor Energy in its dealings with” DOI’s Minerals Management Service (MMS).

Although it was “legal for Luthi to advise Taylor Energy” “as long as he didn’t represent the company before DOI,” critics observed that Luthi could “use his knowledge of the inner-workings of DOI drilling regulation to Taylor’s benefit—an unfair advantage,” and that Luthi turned his former career working for the federal government and “financed by taxpayer dollars into a consulting gig.”

[Mia Steinle, “FOIA Friday: Emails between Ethics Office and Former Regulator Cast Light on Revolving Door Spin,” Project on Government Oversight, 12/02/11]

Jeffrey Luthi, Randall Luthi’s first cousin, was a clerk of the United States Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation, which decided which court would hear the 2010 BP Deepwater Horizon oil spill case. Jeffrey Luthi “denied a motion by the plaintiffs,” who were “commercial fishermen, shrimpers, and others affected by the BP oil spill,” “to expedite the hearings on BP’s motion” to transfer the case to Houston, which would give the company “a huge home field advantage.”

At the time of the “investigation and litigation phases in the case of the Deepwater Horizon explosion,” some critics pointed to possible conflict of interest issues concerning Randall Luthi, whose agency was in charge of regulating “BP and its Deepwater Horizon floating platform,” and Jeffery Luthi, Randall Luthi’s first cousin, who was “a clerk of the United States Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation,” which was the “judicial panel that… render[ed] a crucial decision about where the lawsuits… [would] be tried.”

BP was advocating for “consolidating all the lawsuits into a federal court in Houston,” which would “give BP a huge home field advantage.” Although the case was ultimately tried in New Orleans, Jeffrey Luthi did “den[y] a motion by the plaintiffs,” who were “commercial fishermen, shrimpers, and others affected by the BP oil spill,” “to expedite the hearings on BP’s motion.” [Rick Outzen, “BP Oil Spill Lawsuit: Cousins Randall Luthi and Jeffery Luthi Pose Conflict of Interest in Case,” Daily Beast, 05/21/10, and Debbie Elliott, “BP Back In Court For Final Phase of Gulf Oil Spill Trial,” NPR, 01/20/15]

Randall Luthi has praised the oil and gas industry’s efforts to increase safety and claimed that government regulations could end up “weakening safety instead of enhancing it.”

In a 2016 op-ed published the month of the “sixth anniversary of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill,” Randall Luthi praised the offshore drilling industry’s efforts to “make accessing America’s offshore oil and natural gas resources safer than ever before” since the Deepwater Horizon oil spill. In the same op-ed, he claimed that the “Obama administration’s… well control rule impose[d] additional costly requirements on offshore drilling operations” and insinuated that “costly new regulations” could “ended up weakening safety instead of enhancing it.” [Randall Luthi, “Lessons from the Deepwater Horizon oil spill,” Washington Times, 04/19/16]

In 2016, when President Obama banned oil and gas drilling off parts of the East Coast, Randall Luthi said that Obama’s action “‘violat[ed] the letter and spirit of the law.'”

[Dave Mayfield, “Obama extends ban on Atlantic drilling, including off Virginia coast. What will Trump do?Virginian-Pilot, 12/20/16]

Randall Luthi claimed that the “‘Keep it in the Ground’” campaign to “stop the extraction of fossil fuels from federal lands” is “anti-energy, economically destructive and short-sighted.”

Randall Luthi, in 2016, claimed that “extreme environmental groups” had been “emboldened by the Obama Administration’s anti-oil and gas leasing decisions.” The “extreme environmental groups” were “gain[ing] traction” with the “‘Keep it in the Ground’ campaign,” a campaign to “stop the extraction of fossil fuels from federal lands.”

Luthi continued, “‘Keep it in the Ground’ is an anti-energy, economically destructive and short-sighted concept that will bring no meaningful reduction in greenhouse gas emissions, a huge hole in federal and state budgets, higher pump prices, and a void in U.S. global energy leadership.” [Randall Luthi,”‘Keep It In The Ground’ should be buried,” The Hill, 05/24/16]

In 2014, Randall Luthi alleged that environmentalists had “waged a full-on information war” to impede offshore energy production.

He claimed that “hyperbole from some environmental groups,” and in particular the “wild assertion” that seismic surveys threatened marine wildlife, was “absolutely untrue.” [Randall Luthi, “Energy’s Promising Future Threatened by Unrealistic Fears and Overstated Risks,” Morning Consult, 09/30/14]

Randall Luthi has advocated for oil and gas development in the Arctic.

In a 2015 op-ed, Randall Luthi wrote, “there is still great potential for resources in the [Arctic], and the Alaskan Arctic remains an attractive, yet expensive, possibility” for oil and natural gas development. [Randall Luthi, “Shell’s Decision to Suspend Arctic Activities: Retreat or Pause?Morning Consult, 10/05/15]

Randall Luthi, in 2017, said that, in terms of future offshore drilling opportunities, “‘The Arctic still holds a lot of promise.'”[Juliet Eilperin, “Trump signs executive order to expand drilling off America’s coasts: ‘We’re opening it up’,” Washington Post, 04/28/17]


Special Interests
National Ocean Industries Association (Resource Development on Public Lands)

Luthi is President of National Ocean Industries Association (NOIA), a "group that represents the offshore drilling industry."

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also connected to:

BP (Resource Development on Public Lands)

In 2007, Luthi co-signed the environmental review that allowed BP to drill in the Mississippi Canyon 252 site, the site of the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill.

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also connected to:

Taylor Energy (Resource Development on Public Lands)

After he left the Interior Department, Luthi provided “‘consultation advice’” for oil company Taylor Energy in its dealings with MMS, the agency he led at Interior.

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also connected to:

Chevron (Resource Development on Public Lands)

When Luthi was MMS Director, an IG investigation found that MMS employees "got drunk at social events with employees of oil companies doing business with the agency and… had 'brief sexual relationships' with industry contacts." Chevron was one of the companies named in the report.

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also connected to:

Shell Oil Company (Resource Development on Public Lands)

When Luthi was MMS Director, an IG investigation found that MMS employees "got drunk at social events with employees of oil companies doing business with the agency and… had 'brief sexual relationships' with industry contacts." Shell Oil was one of the companies named in the report.

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also connected to:

Hess Corporation (Resource Development on Public Lands)

When Luthi was MMS Director, an IG investigation found that MMS employees "got drunk at social events with employees of oil companies doing business with the agency and… had 'brief sexual relationships' with industry contacts." Hess Corporation was one of the companies named in the report.

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also connected to:

Gary-Williams Energy Corporation (Resource Development on Public Lands)

When Luthi was MMS Director, an IG investigation found that MMS employees "got drunk at social events with employees of oil companies doing business with the agency and… had 'brief sexual relationships' with industry contacts." Gary-Williams Energy Corporation was one of the companies named in the report.

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also connected to:

Patrick "Pat" Noah

Royalty Policy Committee
/
Primary Member, Mineral/Energy Stakeholder

Background Information
Previous Employers

Slawson Companies  

Phillips Petroleum

ConocoPhillips

Additional Background on Employers of Note:

Patrick Noah has pushed for the expansion of oil and gas drilling throughout his career.

In 1995 Patrick Noah, on behalf of Phillips Petroleum Company, determined that “the San Juan 29-6 Unit Well Nos. 225R, 247R and 257R are capable of producing unitized substances in paying quantities from the Fruitland formation.” The New Mexico Commissioner of Public Lands “concur[ed]” with Noah’s conclusions, and asked Noah to submit an “application for the appropriate expansion of the Fruitland Participating Area.” [Jami Bailey to Patrick Noah, 06/21/95]

Patrick Noah, in 2014, was the attorney-in-fact for Burlington Resources Oil and Gas Company LP, a subsidiary of ConocoPhillips, in Burlington’s application to Colorado’s Oil and Gas Conservation Commission to “establish an approximate 485.45-Acre exploratory drilling and spacing unit for the Fruitland Coal Formation” in La Plata County, Colorado. [“Application,” Oil and Gas Conservation Commission for the State of Colorado, 07/17/14]


Current Activity

  • Potential Conflict of Interest:

According to his Linkedin profile, Patrick Noah is working as “Manager Litigation Management and Royalty Compliance” for ConocoPhillips. As a member of Interior’s Royalty Policy Committee, Noah will be advising Zinke “on policy and strategies to improve management of the multi-billion dollar, federal and American Indian mineral revenue program.” Holding these two positions simultaneously could be a potential conflict of interest. [LinkedIn Profile for Pat Noah, accessed 09/06/17, and Department of Interior, Press Release, 09/01/17]


Special Interests
Slawson Companies (Resource Development on Public Lands)

Noah previously worked at Slawson Companies, which engages in oil and gas exploration.

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also connected to:

ConocoPhillips (Resource Development on Public Lands)

Noah works at multinational energy company ConocoPhillips.

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also connected to:

Burlington Resources Oil & Gas Company LP (Resource Development on Public Lands)

In 2014 Noah was the attorney-in-fact for Burlington Resources Oil and Gas Company LP, a subsidiary of ConocoPhillips, in Burlington's application to establish an exploratory drilling and spacing unit in La Plata County, Colorado.

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also connected to:

Estella "Stella" Alvarado

Royalty Policy Committee
/
Primary Member, Mineral/Energy Stakeholder

Background Information
Previous Employers

Burlington Resources

Anadarko Petroleum


Political Connections

Since 2015, Estella Alvarado has donated at least $330 to Anadarko’s Political Action Committee.

In the 2016 election cycle, Anadarko’s Political Action Committee donated $18,000 to senators on the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee. Specifically, they donated $10,000 to Lisa Murkowski’s, $4,000 to Rob Portman’s, and $4,000 to John Hoeven’s campaigns. [Political Moneyline Search for Estella Alvarado, CQ, accessed 09/18/17, and Anadarko Petroleum, Center for Responsive Politics, 09/18/17]


Other Information

Stella Alvarado serves on the United States Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative.

Stella Alvarado serves “as a primary member for industry” on the United States Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative. The EITI “which was founded in 2003, and which the U.S. joined in 2014, sets a global standard for governments to disclose their revenues from oil, gas, and mining assets, and for companies to report payments made to obtain access to publicly owned resources, as well as other donations.” [LinkedIn Profile for Stella Alvarado, accessed 09/07/17, “Multi-Stakeholder Group Directory,” United States Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative, 12/16, and Valerie Volcovici and and Nerijus Adomaitis, “U.S. sticks to global transparency initiative after Congress repeal,” Reuters, 03/22/17]

In a Facebook post in June 2016, Stella Alvarado said she was “Thankful to be able to participate and contribute to the Transparency Initiative” and described the initiative as “a way to uncover corruption.” [LinkedIn Profile for Stella Alvarado, accessed 09/07/17, Facebook Post by Stella Alvarado, accessed 09/07/17, and Facebook Comment by Stella Alvarado, accessed 09/07/17]


Special Interests
Burlington Resources Oil & Gas Company LP (Resource Development on Public Lands)

Alvarado worked at Burlington Resources, an oil and gas company that now operates as a subsidiary of ConocoPhillips.

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also connected to:

Anadarko Petroleum Corporation (Resource Development on Public Lands)

Alvarado works at multinational oil and gas company Anadarko Petroleum.

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also connected to:

Marisa Mitchell

Royalty Policy Committee
/
Primary Member, Mineral/Energy Stakeholder

Background Information
Previous Employers

University of California, Santa Cruz

University of California, San Francisco

Miller Brooks Environmental, Inc.  

Aspen Environmental Group

Horizon Water and Environment

Recurrent Energy

Intersect Power

Additional Background Information on Employers of Note:  

Marissa Mitchell works for Recurrent Energy, a solar power company.

Marisa Mitchell began working for Recurrent Energy in December 2013; according to her LinkedIn Profile, she still works there. “Recurrent Energy is a leading utility-scale solar project developer, delivering competitive, clean electricity to large energy buyers,” that is a “wholly owned subsidiary of Canadian Solar Inc. and functions as Canadian Solar’s U.S. project development arm.” [LinkedIn Profile for Marissa Mitchell, accessed 09/18/17, and “About Us,” Recurrent Energy, 09/18/17]

Marissa Mitchell currently works for Intersect Power, a solar power company.

Since May 2017, Marisa Mitchell has worked for Intersect Power, which describes itself as “an infrastructure development company bringing utility-scale power to wholesale customers and markets, with the goal of delivering value and viability to both energy buyers and project investors.” According to Bloomberg, “Intersect Power, Inc. designs, develops, finances, and operates solar power projects in California and Texas,” and their “services include site acquisition, permitting, interconnection, origination, engineering, procurement, construction, and finance of the projects.” [LinkedIn Profile for Marissa Mitchell, accessed 09/18/17, “Who We Are,” Intersect Power, accessed 09/18/17, and “Company Overview of Intersect Power, Inc.,” Bloomberg, accessed 09/18/17]

In July 2017, Intersect Power announced that Macquarie Infrastructure Corporation (MIC) would be investing in the development of Intersect’s “solar and power storage projects across the U.S.” The investment includes “up to $135.0 million of equity, contingent equity and credit facilities.” “Macquarie Infrastructure Corporation owns, operates and invests in a diversified group of infrastructure businesses,” one of which is Hawaii Gas, “a producer and distributor of synthetic natural gas (SNG) and a distributor of liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) on the six major islands of Hawaii.” [Intersect Power, Press Release, 07/10/17, Macquarie Infrastructure Corporation, Press Release, 08/02/17, and “Gas processing & distribution,” Macquarie Infrastructure Corporation, accessed 09/25/17]


Political Connections

Marisa Mitchell donated $200 to Barack Obama in September 2012.

[Political Moneyline Search for Marisa Mitchell, CQ, accessed 09/25/17]


Special Interests
Hawaii Gas (Resource Development on Public Lands)

In July 2017 Mitchell's employer, Intersect Power, received a large investment from Macquarie Infrastructure Corporation (MIC). MIC is the parent company of Hawaii Gas, a synthetic natural gas producer and distributor and liquefied petroleum gas distributor.

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also connected to:

John Sweeney

Royalty Policy Committee
/
Primary Member, Mineral/Energy Stakeholder

Special Interests

William "Drew" Darby

Royalty Policy Committee
/
Primary Member, State Representative

Background Information
Previous Employers

Surety Title

Darby Title Inc.

Drew Darby and Associates

Jackson Walker LLP

Texas House of Representatives

Additional Background on Employers of Note:

While in the Texas House of Representatives, Drew Darby has authored legislation that helps oil and gas companies.

In 2015, Drew Darby authored legislation to clarify that “oil and gas regulation is the exclusive jurisdiction of the state,” in order to overrule “a voter-approved decision” that banned fracking in the city limits of Denton, Texas. Darby’s bill had “the strong support of the oil and gas industry.” [“HB 40,” Texas Legislature, 84th Legislative Session, and Asher Price, “Bill overriding Denton fracking ban passes Texas House,” Austin American-Statesman, 04/17/15]

An “attorney representing 25 cities in the Barnett Shale region” said that Darby’s bill would “‘have a chilling effect on smaller cities.'” [Marissa Barnett, “Fracking bills in Legislature fuel city-control debate,” Dallas Morning News, 03/23/15]

In 2017, Drew Darby authored a resolution “urging Congress to identify federal regulatory programs that harm the Texas oil and gas industry and delegate relevant regulatory responsibilities to state agencies.” [“HCR 84,” Texas Legislature, 85th Legislative Session]


Political Connections

Since 2006, Drew Darby has taken in over $120,000 in campaign contributions from extractive industries.  

Some of his biggest donors include Chesapeake Energy, Atmos Energy, and Nustar Energy.

[Campaign Contributions Search for Darby, Drew, National Institute of Money in State Politics, accessed 09/30/17]


Current Activity

  • Possible Conflict of Interest:

Drew Darby has disclosed that he has a financial interest in at least two Texas oil companies.

Drew Darby “has disclosed that he receives income from Leclair Operating,” an Abilene, Texas-based company that “owns and operates oil and gas leases.”

He also “has assets in Kachina Pipeline Inc. valued at more than $25,000. Kachina builds pipeline and operates crude oil and natural gas wells.” As a primary member of Interior’s Royalty Policy Committee, Darby will be advising Zinke “on policy and strategies to improve management of the multi-billion dollar, federal and American Indian mineral revenue program.” Holding this position while having financial assets in oil companies could be a potential conflict of interest.

[“Rep. Drew Darby,” Texas Tribune, 01/18/17, “Company Overview of LeClair Operating,” Bloomberg, accessed 09/26/17, “Kachina Pipeline Company,” Manta, accessed 09/26/17, and Department of Interior, Press Release, 09/01/17]


Other Information

In May 2017, Drew Darby was appointed to the Southern States Energy Board.  

The Southern States Energy Board is “an interstate compact organization that promotes innovation in energy and environmental programs to enhance economic development and quality of life in the South.”

[Jackson Walker, Press Release, 05/08/17]

Drew Darby won the “2017 Legislative Champion Award” from the Texas Oil and Gas Association.  

[“Drew Darby,” Jackson Walker, accessed 09/30/17]

Drew Darby “faced a felony charge after he attempted to take a weapon through a security screening at Austin-Bergstrom International Airport.” The charge was later dismissed.

In November 2013, Drew Darby was arrested after he attempted to take “a .38 caliber Ruger and six rounds of ammunition in a magazine” through a TSA security screening. Darby said that he “‘forgot his handgun was in his bag.'”

The “possession of a weapon in a prohibited place is a third-degree felony, punishable by two to 10 years in prison and fines up to $10,000.”

In January 2014, a Travis County Judge dismissed the charges against Darby. The investigation into the incident “‘revealed (Darby) forgot to remove the gun.'”

[Claudia Grisales, “State Rep. Drew Darby charged with taking weapon to Austin airport,” Austin American-Statesman, 11/22/13, and Monique Ching, “Judge dismisses Darby’s charges for carrying gun into airport,” Standard-Times, 01/10/14]


Special Interests
LeClair Operating (Resource Development on Public Lands)

Darby receives income from LeClair Operating, an Abilene, Texas-based company that "owns and operates oil and gas leases."

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also connected to:

Kachina Pipeline Inc. (Resource Development on Public Lands)

Darby has assets in Kachina Pipeline Inc., a company that "builds pipeline and operates crude oil and natural gas.

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also connected to:

Texas Oil and Gas Association (Resource Development on Public Lands)

Darby won the "2017 Legislative Champion Award" from the Texas Oil and Gas Association.

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also connected to:

Pioneer Natural Resources (Resource Development on Public Lands)

Darby has taken in $4,500 in campaign contributions from Pioneer Natural Resources since 2014.

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also connected to:

Chesapeake Energy (Resource Development on Public Lands)

Darby has taken in $13,000 in campaign contributions from Chesapeake Energy since 2010.

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also connected to:

Atmos Energy Corporation (Resource Development on Public Lands)

Darby, since 2007, has taken in $18,000 in campaign contributions from Atmos Energy Corporation.

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also connected to:

NuStar Energy (Resource Development on Public Lands)

Darby, since 2009, has taken in $12,500 in campaign contributions from NuStar Energy, a company that "transports and stores crude oil and refined products."

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also connected to:

Marathon Oil Corporation (Resource Development on Public Lands)

Darby, since 2014, has taken in $6,500 in campaign contributions from Marathon Oil Corporation.

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also connected to:

Brent Sanford

Royalty Policy Committee
/
Primary Member, State Representative

Political Connections

Brent Sanford accepted $99,280 in campaign contributions from the oil and gas industry during the 2016 election cycle, when he ran for Lieutenant Governor of North Dakota.

[“Show Me Oil & Gas Contributions To Sanford, Brent,” National Institute of Money in State Politics, accessed on 09/25/17]


Other Information

In June 2017, Brent Sanford “spoke directly” with Secretary Ryan Zinke “during a White House summit on infrastructure, advocating for shorter permitting periods for oil and gas wells on federal lands.”

[North Dakota Office of the Governor, Press Release, 09/01/17]

Brent Sanford predicts that an “oil foothold” and “all-of-the above energy policy” will help North Dakota’s economy in the future.

Brent Sanford, in February 2017, said that “it wasn’t too long ago Watford City was dying.” According to Sanford, it was “‘quite a sad time from the mid-80’s to late 90’s,'” and “before the oil boom, Watford City” was concerned about “recruitment and retention.” But Watford City experienced “rapid growth… when the oil activity exploded.”

Sanford continued saying that, with the “‘ag and oil foothold and the all-of-the above energy policy,'” “North Dakota’s best days are ahead.” [Stu Merry, “Dancing Ukranian; Lt. Governor touts local formula,” McLean County Independent, 02/02/17]

Brent Sanford has claimed that “our federal government doesn’t like income from land opportunities like we have.”

Brent Sanford, in June 2017, said, “We’re preaching all of the above energy focus that we have in North Dakota,” whether the energy is “wind, whether it’s coal, whether it’s oil and gas.”

Sanford continued, saying that there are “no wind farms on the reservations” but there are “wind farms on private land… outside of the federal land” and “outside of reservation lands.” According to Sanford, if “you look at where the oil production is, it’s a checker board of federal lands that’s in the Bakken and very few wells in those areas. There is plenty in the private areas.” He claimed, “Basically it looks like our federal government doesn’t like income from land opportunities like we have.”

[“Lt. Governor Brent Sanford discusses the WH infrastructure summit,” Valley News Live, 06/08/17]

Brent Sanford thinks it would be “incredible” to only have to get one environmental impact statement instead of multiple environmental impact statements.

Brent Sanford, in the same June 2017 interview, praised Secretary Zinke’s idea to only get one environmental impact statement, instead of “six, seven, eight environmental impact statements from different federal agencies,” for major infrastructure projects as being “incredible.”

[“Lt. Governor Brent Sanford discusses the WH infrastructure summit,” Valley News Live, 06/08/17]

Brent Sanford lamented that it takes “630 days” to permit a well “if you’re on federal land that are non-reservation.”

[“Lt. Governor Brent Sanford discusses the WH infrastructure summit,” Valley News Live, 06/08/17]

Brent Sanford signed a letter supporting the Keystone XL Pipeline that was circulated by America’s Energy Forum, a group linked to American Petroleum Institute. 

In 2013, when he was the mayor of Watford City, North Dakota, Brent Sanford signed a letter asking President Obama to approve the Keystone XL Pipeline because “[f]rom an energy security, economic, and environmental perspective, the pipeline is clearly in our nation’s best interest.” The letter, signed by multiple local government officials, was sent by America’s Energy Forum. According to their website, America’s Energy Forum is sponsored by the American Petroleum Institute. [Robert McDonnell to Barack Obama, Regulations.gov, 04/22/2013, and “Copyright,” America’s Energy Forum, accessed 09/25/17]

In September 2017, Brent Sanford and other North Dakota officials greeted Donald Trump on the tarmac of the Bismarck Airport before Trump spoke at the Andeavor Oil Refinery.

[“President lands at Bismarck airport ahead of speech,” MyNDNow, 09/06/17]


Special Interests
American Petroleum Institute (Resource Development on Public Lands)

In 2013, Sanford signed a letter supporting the Keystone XL pipeline that was circulated by America's Energy Forum, an entity sponsored by the American Petroleum Institute.

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also connected to:

Andrew "Colin" McKee

Royalty Policy Committee
/
Primary Member, State Representative

Other Information

Colin McKee has said that wind energy is “an incredible component” of “and a great supplement” to Wyoming’s economy.

Colin McKee, in May 2017, said that while wind energy wouldn’t “take the place of coal as a generator of jobs or revenue, [Governor] Mead [saw] its potential to broaden Wyoming’s economic base.” [Joel Funk, “Wind turbine manufacturer to offer job training,” Laramie Boomerang, 05/20/17]

Colin McKee authored a memo detailing Governor Matt Mead’s energy strategy, which included a “CO2 Pipeline Corridor” that provided “an opportunity” for Wyoming “to complete environmental permitting for contiguous corridors across federal lands.”

In 2017, McKee wrote that “Wyoming [was] the first state in the nation to develop a comprehensive energy plan” and that it “paid off.” One policy that was developed as part of the energy strategy was a “CO2 Pipeline Corridor” that provided “an opportunity for the state to complete environmental permitting for contiguous corridors across federal lands.” According to McKee, this pipeline would “allow companies to get pipe in the ground faster, move CO2 for tertiary recovery and extract billions of additional barrels of oil out of Wyoming formations.” [Colin McKee, “Memo on Governor’s Energy Strategy,” Wyoming State Legislature, 2017]


Special Interests

John Andrews

Royalty Policy Committee
/
Primary Member, State Representative

Background Information
Previous Employers

Van Cott, Bagley, Cornwall & McCarthy

Utah Attorney General’s Office

Utah School & Institutional Trust Lands Administration

Additional Background on Employers of Note:

John Andrews defended a development proposal that critics said could threaten drinking water safety.

John Andrews, in 2008 when he was Associate Director of the School & Institutional Trust Lands Administration, defended the proposed development of an “upscale housing project” on a mesa overlooking Moab, Utah, that Grand County residents argued could “put the town’s drinking water in jeopardy.” [Christopher Smart, “Moab activists call builder a threat to area’s water supply,” Salt Lake Tribune, 03/17/08]

John Andrews defended SITLA’s leasing land in Grand County to a company to create “an injection well for the disposal of water from oil and gas wells,” even though the county had a local ordinance against building such wells.

In 2010, SITLA leased land in Grand County, Utah “to Park City-based Summit Operating LLC to create an injection well for the disposal of water from oil and gas wells.” Grand County officials were concerned because it had “placed a moratorium on ‘produced water’ disposal sites,” and Grand County wanted SITLA “to abide by its land-use ordinances.” John Andrews defended SITLA’s actions, saying that Grand County had “no jurisdiction over the development of such wells on SITLA land.” [Christopher Smart, “Grand County spars with SITLA,” Salt Lake Tribune, 03/06/10]

John Andrews was a “key author” of a conservation agreement that environmental groups said was “designed to ensure the survival of oil shale mines” in Utah. 

In 2015, environmental groups criticized John Andrews, who was a “key author” of a conservation agreement that the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service “forged with Utah officials.” US FWS cited the agreement in its decision “not to include two wildflowers on the Endangered Species List.” The two wildflowers, Graham’s and White River beardtongue, grew “almost exclusively over Colorado and Utah’s oil shale deposits.” Environmental groups contended that the agreement that Andrews authored was “really designed to ensure the survival of oil shale mines trying to gain a foothold on Utah’s state trust lands in the Uinta Basin.” [Brian Maffly, “Suit says Fish and Wildlife sacrificing flower for oil shale,” Salt Lake Tribune, 04/03/15]

John Andrews, as a representative of the School and Institutional Trust Lands Administration, appeared with Congressman Rob Bishop in support of his Public Lands Initiative.

[Rob Bishop, Press Release, 10/21/14]


Other Information

John Andrews, in 2010, said a national “‘monument designation is kind of like an atomic bomb.'”

[Amy Joi O’Donoghue, “Counties hammer out conservation plans,” Deseret News, 07/09/10]


Special Interests

Clinton Carter

Royalty Policy Committee
/
Primary Member, State Representative

Background Information
Previous Employers

Ernst & Young

Merrill Lynch

Wachovia Securities 

Intergraph Corporation

State of Alabama 

University of North Alabama

Additional Background Information on Employers of Note:

As State Finance Director, Clinton Carter serves on the Board of Trustees and Officers for the Alabama Trust Fund, which is a “repository for income from oil and gas leases.”

In February 2017, Carter said that “interest from the Alabama Trust Fund… was likely to remain below its 2006 and 2007 peaks.” This is because revenues “from oil and gas leases have suffered as fracking has spread.”

[“The Alabama Trust Fund: 2016 Annual Report,” State of Alabama, 05/17, and Brian Lyman, “Bentley pushes for pay raises; Increase proposal seeks $19M from General Fund,” Montgomery Advertiser, 02/08/17]

In October 2016, Clinton Carter accompanied then-Alabama Governor Robert Bentley on a flight “from Montgomery to Muscle Shoals for [a] Lauderdale County GOP dinner.” An investigation into Bentley, who later resigned because of an alleged affair with an aide, found evidence of “improper use of state aircraft.”

Former Alabama Governor “Robert Bentley used the state aircraft 40 times during the final three months of 2016, with more than half of the trips involving flights between Montgomery, Tuscaloosa and Gulf Shores.”

On October 11, 2016, Clinton Carter accompanied then Governor Bentley on a flight “from Montgomery to Muscle Shoals for Lauderdale County GOP dinner.” They returned the same day.

In April 2017, Governor Bentley, “facing public criticism and pressure from his own party,” resigned “after a turbulent year.” Bentley had allegedly had an affair with “former aide Rebekah Mason.” An investigation of Bentley found evidence of “improper use of state aircraft to intimidation of witnesses and campaign violations.” [Leada Gore, “Gov. Bentley used state plane 40 times last quarter, half for trips home or to beach,” Alabama Media Group, 04/06/17, and John Archibald, “Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley resigns amid sex scandal,” Times-Picayune, 04/11/17]


Other Information

Clinton Carter was named a “Rising Republican Star” by the Alabama GOP in April 2012.

At the time, Clinton Carter was “an active member of the Young Republican Federation of Alabama, serving on the steering committee as the Vice Chairman.” Before becoming Deputy State Finance Director in 2011, Carter was “the Chairman of the Madison County Young Republicans.” [“Clinton Carter,” Young Republican Federation of Alabama, accessed 09/26/17]


Special Interests

John Crowther

Royalty Policy Committee
/
Primary Member, State Representative

Political Connections

Since 2013, John Crowther has donated at least $1,150 to Alaska politicians, including contributions to Sean Parnell and Dan Sullivan.

[Search for John Crowther, State of Alaska Campaign Disclosure Reports, accessed 09/19/17]


Other Information

John Crowther submitted a letter on behalf of Alaska’s Department of Natural Resources regarding the National Outer Continental Shelf Oil and Gas Leasing Program for 2019-2024. The letter claimed that Alaska had a “significant” role in “supporting industry interest” and leasing in the Arctic Outer Continental Shelf.

John Crowther, on August 16, 2017, submitted a letter in the regulations.gov portal on behalf of Alaska’s Department of Natural Resources. The letter was to Kelly Hammerle, National Program Manager at Bureau of Ocean and Energy Management, and Crowther submitted the letter in the docket “Request for Information (RFI) and Comments on the National Outer Continental Shelf Oil and Gas Leasing Program (National OCS Program) for 2019-2024.” The letter, written by DNR Commissioner Andrew Mack, argued that “Arctic offshore leasing [was] the first step towards realizing… potential to provide national energy and economic stimulus for the next generation of Alaskans.” Mack further argued that Alaska’s “role in supporting industry interest and leasing in [the Arctic Outer Continental Shelf] [was] so significant that the Governor nominated specific areas for inclusion and offer in BOEM’s prior leasing program to ensure that opportunities for future industry interest would be preserved.” [“Comment from John Crowther, State of Alaska, Department of Natural Resources,” Regulations.gov, 08/28/17, and Andrew Mack to Kelly Hammerle, 08/17/17]

Environmental groups have criticized the “new Outer Continental Shelf five-year oil and gas leasing program for 2019-2024,” saying that there is “‘no compelling reason to revisit the five-year program'” after the program was already “finalized in January” 2017 after “‘careful consideration of the economic and environmental realities of leasing and exploration of leasing on the Outer Continental Shelf and careful consideration of millions of public comments received.'” [Margaret Bauman, “GOP senators support new OCS leasing program,” Cordova Times, 07/27/17]

John Crowther has said he expects the industry representatives on the Royalty Policy Committee to be “‘useful movers.'”

In September 2017, John Crowther said that he “plans to draw on [Alaska’s] extensive experience to potentially address lease sales and royalty allocations on the federal level” for his work on the Royalty Policy Committee. He also said that he “expects industry representatives to be ‘useful movers’ on the committee.” [Andrew Westney, “House Dems Slam Energy Industry Influence On DOI Panel,” Law 360, 09/06/17]


Special Interests

Daniel Rusz

Royalty Policy Committee
/
Primary Member, Academia and Public Interest Groups

Background Information
Previous Employers

Dominion Energy Virginia

CSX 

Massey Energy

Wood Mackenzie


Special Interests
Domion Energy (Resource Development on Public Lands)

Rusz worked as a contract administrator at Dominion Energy Virginia, which is a subsidiary of energy company Dominion Energy.

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also connected to:

Wood Mackenzie (Resource Development on Public Lands)

Rusz works at Wood Mackenzie, a mining industry research firm whose clients include international and national energy and metals companies.

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also connected to:

Massey Energy (Resource Development on Public Lands)

Rusz worked at coal company Massey Energy. Shortly after Rusz left Massey, it was responsible for the "worst mining disaster in the United States in 40 years" when an explosion at one of Massey's mines killed 29 people.

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also connected to:

Van Romero

Royalty Policy Committee
/
Primary Member, Academia and Public Interest Groups

Other Information

On September 11, 2001, Van Romero told the Albuquerque Journal that he believed “that explosive devices caused the collapse” of the World Trade Center towers because “‘it would be difficult for something from the plane to trigger an event like that.'”

He said that the “collapse of the buildings appears ‘too methodical’ to be a chance result of airplanes colliding with the structures.”

“‘My opinion is, based on the videotapes, that after the airplanes hit the World Trade Center there were some explosive devices inside the buildings that caused the towers to collapse,’ Romero said. […] Romero said the collapse of the structures resembled those of controlled implosions used to demolish old structures. ‘It would be difficult for something from the plane to trigger an event like that,'” he said. [Olivier Uyttebrouck, “N.M. Tech expert says N.Y. towers were likely rigged with devices,” Albuquerque Journal, 09/11/01]

After conspiracy theorists “seized on Romero’s comments as evidence for their argument that someone else, possibly the U.S. government, was behind the attack on the Trade Center,” Romero said he believed “there were no explosives in the World Trade Center towers.”

‘Certainly the fire is what caused the building to fail.'” Romero said he was “‘very upset'” about being “bombarded with electronic mail from the conspiracy theorists,” adding, “‘I’m not trying to say anything did or didn’t happen.'” [John Fleck, “Fire, Not Extra Explosives, Doomed Buildings, Expert Says,” Albuquerque Journal, 09/21/01]

Van Romero “played a key role in New Mexico Tech’s efforts to purchase the town of Playas,” New Mexico, which “is now used for research and training in the areas of Homeland, Border and Energy Security.” New Mexico Tech “closed the town to newcomers,” but some of the residents who remained had “mixed feelings about their decision to remain in Playas,” where simulated terror attacks are held regularly.

In 2005, Van Romero “played a key role in New Mexico Tech’s efforts to purchase the town of Playas New Mexico. This modern day ghost town is now used for research and training in the areas of Homeland, Border and Energy Security.” [Van D. Romero Vita, accessed 09/18/17]

Playas, New Mexico, “once an idyllic piece of rural America,” was “built by the Phelps Dodge Corp. in the 1970s to house workers at its copper smelter plant nearby.” However, after “the factory closed in 1999, all but a handful of Playas’s inhabitants left.” In fall 2004, the “New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology (better known as New Mexico Tech) used a $5 million grant from the Department of Homeland Security to purchase the 640-acre township.” The town became “part of a network of academic institutions that specialize in training emergency workers to respond to various threats. […] New Mexico specializes in explosives. Letter bombs, pipe bombs, car bombs and the improvised explosive devices placed on roadways are among the easiest of weapons for terrorist to create. That is why many believe they have been so difficult to control in Iraq and are the most likely to make their way to the United States first. ‘This is something that terrorists have been using for a long time and we believe they’ll use here in the future,’ said Van Romero, vice president for research and economic development at New Mexico Tech.”

New Mexico Tech “closed the town to newcomers” and “existing families were relocated to three streets on the eastern side of town.” However, some residents had “mixed feelings about their decision to remain in Playas.”

“‘I don’t know how long we will keep living here because of this,’ Kathy [Johnson, a Playas resident] said. When residents first heard New Mexico Tech was buying the town, she said, ‘people assumed it would be like the old days. But that’s not the way it is.'” [Ariana Eunjung Cha, “New Mexico Plays Home To Terror Town, U.S.A.,Washington Post, 05/08/05]


Special Interests

Monte Mills

Royalty Policy Committee
/
Primary Member, Academia and Public Interest Groups

Other Information

Monte Mills filed a brief in support of a Crow tribal member who “was found guilty by a Sheridan Circuit jury in April of illegally killing an elk on the Bighorn National Forest out of season.”

Monte Mills, along with two other “Indian law professors – Debra Donohue from the University of Wyoming and University of Montana” professor Maylinn Smith – filed a brief in support of Clayvin Herrera, a Crow tribal member who “was found guilty by a Sheridan Circuit jury in April of illegally killing an elk on the Bighorn National Forest out of season in January 2014. He was fined and ordered to pay costs of $8,080, received a suspended jail sentence and had his hunting privileges suspended for three years.” Herrera was also “cited in 2015 for poaching elk south of the Crow Reservation in Wyoming. Although convicted of poaching in April [2016], Herrera’s attorney has appealed the decision.”

“‘The issues raised in this appeal have impact well beyond the confines of this case, as the interpretation of Indian treaties, and the rights reserved therein, are matters of constitutional import central to federal Indian law,’ the motion stated. The motion further argued that no court has established that Congress intended to repeal the treaty hunting right.” [Brett French, “Court to hear Crow tribal member’s illegal elk kill appeal,” The Billings Gazette, 12/03/16]

Monte Mills called the federal government’s appeal to “voluntarily pause” the construction of the Dakota Access pipeline “a major victory for Native Americans in a ‘cultural and historical context.'”

Mills believed that, “‘the way Indian Country came together to support Standing Rock'” was “‘really… powerful.'” [James MacPherson, “Federal intervention on oil pipeline project unprecedented,” Associated Press, 09/10/16]


Special Interests
Clark Fork Coalition (Protecting Public Lands)

Mills serves on the Board of the Clark Fork Coalition, a Missoula-based conservation organization that is "dedicated to protecting and restoring the Clark Fork River basin."

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also connected to:

Roderick Eggert

Royalty Policy Committee
/
Primary Member, Academia and Public Interest Groups

Other Information

Roderick Eggert, in 2011, spoke at an event sponsored by the National Mining Association. During the event, he criticized the permitting process for mineral resources in the United States for being “slow” and “unpredictable.”

In June 2011, Roderick Eggert spoke on a panel at an event sponsored by the National Mining Association (NMA) on “Addressing America’s 21st Century Minerals Needs.” The National Mining Association is “an influential coal-mining industry group” whose members include “more than 325 corporations involved in all aspects of the mining industry including coal, metal and industrial mineral producers, mineral processors, equipment manufacturers, state associations, bulk transporters, engineering firms, consultants, [and] financial institutions.” [“Addressing America’s 21st Century Minerals Needs,” National Mining Association, 06/13/11, and Devin Henry, “Lobbying fight erupts over coal country bill,” The Hill, 06/26/17]

During the panel discussion, Roderick Eggert said that the “main impedimen[t] to the development of the full potential of minerals mining in the United States” was “‘the challenge of efficiently and appropriately balancing and weighing the commercial, environmental, and social dimensions of mineral development,'” specifically “regulatory approval.” He described the permitting process for mineral resources in the United States as “slow” and “unpredictable.” [“Addressing America’s 21st Century Minerals Needs,” National Mining Association, 06/13/11, and Manuel Quiñones, “Industry says U.S. falling behind,” Energy & Environment, 06/14/11]

Roderick Eggert has testified in support of the Critical Minerals Policy Act, legislation that has been described as “special-interest legislation” for the “critical minerals industry” and that some said did “too much to promote mining to the detriment of environmental reviews.” The Critical Minerals Policy Act was partially written by a Hill staffer who went to lobby for the National Mining Association after writing the bill.

Roderick Eggert, in January 2014, testified in support of S. 1600, “The Critical Minerals Policy Act,” legislation to “authorise spending up to $60 million for new studies of domestic mineral resources and research into recycling and substitutes,” and to fund “a review of the permitting process.” The bipartisan legislation, sponsored by Senators Lisa Murkowski and Ron Wyden, was supported by the “Semiconductor Industry Association, the Interstate Mining Compact Commission and the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers.” [Manuel Quiñones, “Obama admin vague on, industry supportive of Murkowski bill,” Energy & Environment, 01/29/14, and and John Kemp, “COLUMN-Critical minerals and mining reform in the U.S.: Kemp,” Reuters, 01/31/14]

Critics have called the Critical Minerals Policy Act “special-interest legislation which deserved to die in Congress” because “it fail[ed] to identify a good reason for the critical minerals industry to receive special help from taxpayers.” Another “point of contention that… dogged the legislation for years” was whether it did “too much to promote mining to the detriment of environmental reviews.” [John Kemp, “COLUMN-Critical minerals and mining reform in the U.S.: Kemp,” Reuters, 01/31/14, and Manuel Quiñones, “Obama admin vague on, industry supportive of Murkowski bill,” Energy & Environment, 01/29/14]

Murkowski staffer Colin Hayes “helped write” S. 1600. Hayes has gone back and forth through the revolving door between government and industry; he worked for the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee from 2003 to December 2013, then took a year long stint to serve as “Executive Vice President” for “Energy Advocacy” at consulting firm McBee Strategic Consulting, where he lobbied on behalf the National Mining Association. Hayes returned to work for the committee in December 2014. [Manuel Quiñones, “MINING: Murkowski-Wyden minerals bill to get hearing,” Energy & Environment, 01/27/14, Legistorm Profile for Colin Hayes, accessed 09/24/17, and National Mining Association 2014 Second Quarter Report, United States Senate Lobbying Disclosure Act Database, accessed 09/24/17]

At a Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee hearing in March 2017, Roderick Eggert “advocat[ed] for increased research funding to allow mining faculty to hire graduate students who can go on to work in the industry.”

[Dylan Brown, “MINING: Murkowski gears up to launch new critical minerals bill,” Energy & Environment, 03/29/17]

Roderick Eggert, in 2011, said “stockpiling rare earths and other critical materials” for “defense needs” “may be useful.”

[Manuel Quinones, “Industry and GOP lawmakers, citing shortage of rare earth materials, demand less red tape,” Energy & Environment, 05/25/11]


Special Interests
National Mining Association (Resource Development on Public Lands)

Eggert, in 2011, spoke at an event sponsored by the National Mining Association, an "influential coal-mining industry group" whose members include "more than 325 corporations involved in all aspects of the mining industry."

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also connected to:

Everett Waller

Royalty Policy Committee
/
Primary Member, Tribal Representative

Background Information
Previous Employers

Osage Minerals Council

Intertribal Transportation Association


Current Activity

In September 2017, Everett Waller said that his serving on the Interior’s Royalty Policy Committee was an “‘opportunity for the Osage.'”

Waller said he would push “for regulatory changes that would help drilling on the tribe’s Oklahoma lands to be more competitive with drilling just outside them,” which Waller said was “typically much easier to pursue.

[Andrew Westney, “House Dems Slam Energy Industry Influence On DOI Panel,” Law 360, 09/06/17]


Other Information

Everett Waller has favored Osage Nation producing oil over alternative energy sources, saying “‘I have a job as chairman of the Minerals Council to protect my shareholders… We’re in the oil business.'”

“Members of the Osage Nation own most of the mineral rights in Osage County,” and the Osage Minerals Council “is worried that wind farms — their large footprints as well as their power lines and associated electrical equipment — could interfere with oil and gas development.”

Everett Waller claimed that “‘the site is the problem’” with wind-energy projects in the Osage Nation.’” “‘It’s not the alternate energy or the wind energy, anything of the fact. I have a job as chairman of the Minerals Council to protect my shareholders. This is a business. We’re in the oil business.’”

[Joe Wertz, “Why Oklahoma’s Wind Energy Future Could Be Shaped By Osage County,” KGOU, 07/24/14]

Everett Waller, on being elected to the Osage Minerals Council, said that the council had to “‘dedicate ourselves to sale leases.'”

[“Osage Minerals Council elects Everett Waller as Chairman,” Osage News, 08/06/14]

While Everett Waller was Chairman, an Osage shareholder sued the Osage Minerals Council for access to financial records, alleging that the council was spending money “frivolously on attorneys.” The case was dismissed. 

In December 2016, while Everett Waller was Chairman, Patricia Spurrier Bright, who was an Osage shareholder, “filed suit in the Osage Nation Trial Court,” “suing the Third Osage Minerals Council for not honoring a request for financial records.”

Spurrier Bright claimed that she filed the lawsuit because she “‘believe[d] this council [was] the first council in 110 years to spend the million allotted to run the council for the year, and they really ha[d] nothing to show for it.'”

Spurrier Bright alleged that “she had been told from various sources that money [was] being spent frivolously on attorneys to answer questions or attend to issues that ha[d] already been settled.”

[Shannon Shaw Duty, “Osage shareholder sues Minerals Council for financial records,” Osage News, 12/14/16]

The case was dismissed in February 2017 because, under the open records law in question, “the entity that would hold the OMC’s financial records would be the Osage Nation Treasurer’s Office and not the council.”

[Shannon Shaw Duty, “Shareholder’s request for OMC financial records dismissed by ON Trial Court,” Osage News, 03/02/17]


Special Interests
Chaparral Energy LLC (Resource Development on Public Lands)

Oklahoma-based energy company Chaparral Energy LLC won 16 leases at an Osage Minerals Council lease sale held in September 2014, when Waller was Chairman of the council.

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also connected to:

New Frontier Drilling and Production Inc. (Resource Development on Public Lands)

Nevada-based drilling company New Frontier Drilling and Production Inc. won two leases at an Osage Minerals Council lease sale held in September 2014, when Waller was Chairman of the council.

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also connected to:

Revard Oil and Gas Properties (Resource Development on Public Lands)

Revard Oil and Gas Properties, a small natural gas company based in Tulsa, Oklahoma, won one lease at an Osage Minerals Council lease sale held in September 2014, when Waller was Chairman of the council.

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also connected to:

Kiska Oil Co. (Resource Development on Public Lands)

Kiska Oil Company, an oil company in Tulsa, Oklahoma, won one lease at an Osage Minerals Council lease sale held in September 2014, when Waller was Chairman of the council.

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also connected to:

Charles "Charlie" Robertson

Royalty Policy Committee
/
Primary Member, Tribal Representative

Background Information
Previous Employers

Department of the Interior

Five Civilized Tribes Minerals Consulting

Arkansas Riverbed Authority

Additional Background on Employers of Note:

In 2011, Charlie Robertson, acting in his capacity as Executive Director of the Arkansas Riverbed Authority, negotiated an “Oil and Gas Lease in favor of Stephens Production Company.”

This lease was “located on the Arkansas Riverbed and [was] jointly owned between the Cherokee Nation, the Choctaw Nation and the Chickasaw Nation.” Stephens Production Company is an Arkansas-based company that “engages in the exploration and production of natural gas.” [“February 2011 Resolutions,” Chickasaw Times, 03/12, and “Stephens Production Company,” Bloomberg, accessed 09/21/17]

In 2014, Charlie Robertson, acting in his capacity as Executive Director of the Arkansas Riverbed Authority, negotiated an “Oil and Gas Lease to Stigler Gas Company” in Sequoyah County, Oklahoma.

This lease was “located on the Arkansas Riverbed and is jointly owned among the Cherokee Nation, the Choctaw Nation and the Chickasaw Nation.” Stigler Gas Company appears to be a small Oklahoma gas company. [“July 2014 Resolutions,” Chickasaw Times, 08/14, and “Stigler Gas Company Operating Oil and Gas Wells in Oklahoma,” UpstreamDB, accessed 09/21/17]

Charlie Robertson has “provided technical assistance” to “private industry” on “matters concerning the minerals leasing program.”

In his Arkansas Riverbed Authority biography, Charlie Robertson says he has “provided technical assistance to the agencies’ land resources personnel, Arkansas Riverbed Authority, tribal contract personnel, tribal officials, tribal councils, self-governance tribes, individual tribal members, branches of the BIA, ONRR, BLM, OTFM, and other branches of Government, private industry, and the general public on matters concerning the minerals leasing program.” [“Bio, Charlie,” Arkansas Riverbed Authority, accessed 09/20/17]


Other Information

On his LinkedIn profile, Charlie Robertson writes that he is a member of “Royalty policy committee DOE.”

Robertson mistakenly wrote that he was on the Royalty Policy Committee for the Department of Energy, not the Royalty Policy Committee for the Department of the Interior. [LinkedIn Profile for Charlie Robertson, accessed 09/20/17]

Since September 2017, Charlie Robertson has been a member of the Indian Country Energy and Infrastructure Working Group (ICEIWG). 

On his LinkedIn profile, Charlie Robertson writes that he has been a member of “ICEIWG DOE” from “September 2017 [to] Present.” The ICEIWG “works collaboratively with the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Office of Indian Energy to assist in surveys, analysis, and recommendations related to program and policy initiatives that fulfill DOE’s statutory authorizations and requirements.” [LinkedIn Profile for Charlie Robertson, accessed 09/20/17, and “Indian Country Energy and Infrastructure Working Group,” Department of Energy, accessed 09/21/17]

In 1996, Vice President Al-Gore appointed Charlie Robertson to the Four Corners Trust Services Laboratory Team.

On this team, Robertson “evaluate[d], re engineer[d], and streamline[d] bureau processes in the Farmington, New Mexico Indian Minerals Office.”

[“Bio, Charlie,” Arkansas Riverbed Authority, accessed 09/20/17]


Special Interests
Stigler Gas Company (Resource Development on Public Lands)

Robertson negotiated an oil and gas lease with Stigler Gas Company, a small Oklahoma-based oil and gas company.

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also connected to:

Stephens Production Company (Resource Development on Public Lands)

Robertson negotiated an oil and gas lease with Stephens Production Company, an Arkansas-based company that "engages in the exploration and production of natural gas."

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also connected to:

Christopher "Adam" Red

Royalty Policy Committee
/
Primary Member, Tribal Representative

Background Information
Previous Employers

Southern Ute Indian Tribe 

Southern Ute Growth Fund

Additional Background on Employers of Note:

Adam Red was involved with preparing a Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement for Shale Formation Oil and Gas Development on the Southern Ute Indian Reservation that proposed “shale development across the entire Reservation.”

A “Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement (SEIS) for Shale Formation Oil and Gas Development” on the Southern Ute Indian Reservation is being prepared by “the Bureau of Land Management (BLM), Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) and Southern Ute Indian Tribe (SUIT).” [“Shale Formation Oil and Gas Development,” Southern Ute Indian Tribe Growth Fund, accessed 09/27/17]

Adam Red, as a representative of “SUIT Department of Energy,” appears on a PowerPoint presentation titled “Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement, Shale Formation Oil & Gas Development on the Southern Ute Indian Reservation,” that was presented at a “public outreach meeting” in March 2016. [“Public Outreach Meeting: Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement,” Southern Ute Indian Tribe Growth Fund, accessed 09/27/17]

The PowerPoint concluded that the “proposed action” was “shale development across the entire Reservation,” “where the Tribe owns either the minerals, the land, or both.” Another proposed action was “new leasing” on a “case-by-case basis.” [“Public Outreach Meeting: Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement,” Southern Ute Indian Tribe Growth Fund, accessed 09/27/17]

Adam Red said that developing shale formation oil and gas on the reservation had to be “‘environmentally sound.'”

When he was working at the Southern Ute Department of Energy, in 2016, Adam Red participated in a “tribal outreach meeting, which addressed updates and particular concerns regarding the development of shale formation oil and gas” on the Southern Ute Indian Reservation.

In response to tribal members who voiced concerns over the proposal, Adam Red said, “‘Our whole purpose is to do this environmentally sound… We are going to protect our tribal surface.”

[Damon Toledo, “Shale oil reserves possibly on the horizon,” Southern Ute Drum, 03/18/16]


Current Activity

The Southern Ute Tribal Council, which Adam Red is a member of, “is working very diligently to pass the Smart Act… which will remove the Secretary’s approval and the Tribe will be the exclusive decision maker in building new infrastructure and projects.”

If the Smart Act is passed, then “the Southern Ute Indian Tribe will be the only tribe able to do that.”

[“Tribal members attend community meeting,” Southern Ute Drum, 08/31/17]


Special Interests

Russell Begaye

Royalty Policy Committee
/
Primary Member, Tribal Representative

Background Information
Previous Employers

University of California, Los Angeles 

United Nations

Navajo Nation Council

Navajo Nation Office of the President and Vice President

Additional Background Information on Employers of Note:

Russell Begaye, while serving as Navajo Nation Council Delegate, suggested “using the tribe’s permanent trust fund” to help the Navajo Nation Oil and Gas Company, which projected having “$160 million of outstanding debt in 2015.”

Russell Begaye, while serving as Navajo Nation Council Delegate, suggested that the tribe help the Navajo Nation Oil and Gas Company, which projected having “$160 million of outstanding debt in 2015,” by “using the tribe’s permanent trust fund. To access that fund, which holds more than $1 billion, the council would have to develop and approve a five-year plan for the funds,” which “would appear before Navajo voters as a referendum. ‘I keep bringing it up that we need to utilize it,’ Begaye said.” [Erny Zah, “Navajo Nation Oil and Gas Co. board chairman wants to hold off on charter amendments,” Farmington Daily Times, 08/19/14]


Current Activity

Russell Begaye signed “a lease extension that will allow” the Navajo Generating Station, “a coal-fired power plant in northeastern Arizona,” “to continue operating through December 2019.” Begaye said that “‘the power plant and mine that fuels it are vital to the jobs and economic strategy of the Navajo Nation.'”

In July 2017, “Navajo Nation President Russell Begaye” signed “a lease extension that will allow” the Navajo Generating Station, “a coal-fired power plant in northeastern Arizona,” “to continue operating through December 2019.” The plant’s lease was “set to expire in two years” and its “plant’s owners announced in February [2017] they would close it because cheaper power from natural gas is readily available,” telling “the Navajo Nation Council that they’d shut it down this year if they didn’t get an extension.” [“Navajo Nation president to sign coal plant’s lease extension,” Associated Press, 07/01/17]

Russell Begaye said, of the Navajo Generating Station, “‘The power plant and mine that fuels it are vital to the jobs and economic strategy of the Navajo Nation. […] The Nation has taken a seat at the table with stakeholders who are committed to keep the plant operating long term. This study provides important new information demonstrating the plant can continue to be competitive well into the future.'” [Erin Mundahl, “Why Coal Is Still Strong in the Southwest,” InsideSources.com, 04/11/17]

Russell Begaye met with Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke in April 2017. It was “unclear if their conversation focused on the future of the Navajo Generating Station, a huge coal plant facing closure by its owners.”

Interior Secretary Ryan “Zinke’s schedules show he hosted Navajo Nation President Russell Begaye and the chief of staff for Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey (R) in early April” 2017. It was “unclear if their conversation focused on the future of the Navajo Generating Station, a huge coal plant facing closure by its owners.” [Juliet Eilperin, “Interior secretary’s schedule shows a bevy of meetings with various groups,” The Washington Post, 05/21/17]


Other Information

Russell Begaye “was one of four shareholder representatives” for the Navajo Nation Oil and Gas Company “that sued in federal court to overturn a decision by the tribe’s high court that reinstated the company’s chief executive officer and five board members.” When Begaye was a Navajo Nation presidential candidate, “onetime presidential hopeful Myron McLaughlin” alleged that Begaye “wrongfully received stipends for unduly called meetings and was given money unlawfully for legal representation at a time of chaos in the company.” McLaughlin also alleged that Begaye “would not have the tribe’s best interest in mind [as president] because he was party to a lawsuit challenging a Navajo Nation Supreme Court decision in federal court.”

Russell Begaye “was one of four shareholder representatives” for the Navajo Nation Oil and Gas Company “that sued in federal court to overturn a decision by the tribe’s high court that reinstated the company’s chief executive officer and five board members.” “Onetime presidential hopeful Myron McLaughlin,” who “sought to have Russell Begaye removed from the [Navajo Nation presidential] race by alleging financial improprieties and questioning Begaye’s loyalty to the tribe,” said the action “was a clear display of disloyalty” to the tribe. McLaughlin alleged that Begaye “wrongfully received stipends for unduly called meetings and was given money unlawfully for legal representation at a time of chaos in the company.” He also alleged that Begaye “would not have the tribe’s best interest in mind [as Navajo Nation president] because he was party to a lawsuit challenging a Navajo Nation Supreme Court decision in federal court.” McLaughlin’s complaint was dismissed. [Felicia Fonseca, “Ruling sides with Navajo presidential candidate,” Associated Press, 11/25/14 and Felicia Fonseca, “Navajo court hears challenge in president’s race,” Associated Press, 11/14/14]

Russell Begaye tweeted, in April 2014, that he was “attending the Navajo Nation Oil and Gas dinner at Sandia Casino and Resort.”

Russell Begaye tweeted, in April 2014, that he was “attending the Navajo Nation Oil and Gas dinner at Sandia Casino and Resort.” [Tweet by Russell Begaye, 04/25/14, accessed 09/20/17]


Russell Begaye said that “the Navajo Nation is used to historical mistreatment by agencies of the federal government” and “‘we don’t trust the EPA.'”

After the Environmental Protection Agency supplied Shiprock, NM, with water “to sustain agricultural operations and livestock after an EPA accident released a toxic plume from Gold King Mine into their natural water supply,” Russell Begaye “said he feels betrayed” that the water “appeared to be tainted with a black oily substance.” “‘We don’t trust the EPA,'” Begaye said. [Tafline Laylin, “Navajo leader feels betrayed by EPA over ‘contaminated’ water supply,” The Guardian, 08/21/15]

Russell Begaye wrote an op-ed for the Daily Caller criticizing the EPA for its “response to the Gold King Mine spill of three million gallons of toxic sludge and the resulting contamination of the Animas and San Juan rivers.” “The Navajo Nation is used to historical mistreatment by agencies of the federal government, but the inadequate and delayed response to the contamination of our rivers and the utter lack of accountability takes that sentiment to a whole new level,” Begaye wrote. [Russell Begaye, “Federal Government Lets Navajo Nation Down After EPA Mine Spill,” The Daily Caller, 11/02/15]


Special Interests

Albert Modiano

Royalty Policy Committee
/
Alternate Member, Mineral/Energy Stakeholder

Background Information
Previous Employers

U.S. Oil & Gas Association

American Petroleum Institute

International Energy Agency

Federal Energy Administration

United States Senate, Senator Howard Metzenbaum

United States Department of the Interior, Minerals Management Service

United States Department of Energy, Oil Policy Office

Additional Background on Employers of Note:

As Deputy Director of DOI’s Minerals Management Service, Albert Modiano promoted settling 26 different oil leasing disputes with ConocoPhillips for noticeably less than the full owed amount.

In the 1990s, Albert Modiano pushed MMS to take “’80-90 cents on the dollar'” to settle 26 different cases where the US government accused Conoco Phillips of “payment issues… with leases, including product valuation, royalty reporting and payment, and production monitoring.” According to Modiano, the settlement “’grew out of discussions’” with Conoco. [“MMS STUDIES NEW WAYS TO SOLVE ROYALTY FIGHTS,” Platt’s Oilgram News, 06/05/92]

Albert Modiano, who has been a federal lobbyist since 1999, has lobbied the Interior Department every year since 2008.

From 1999 until December 2016, Albert Modiano worked as a federal lobbyist for the U.S. Oil & Gas Association, and in every year since 2008, Modiano has lobbied the Interior Department. [U.S. Senate Lobbying Disclosure Database, accessed 09/26/17]

For several years, Albert Modiano “penned a monthly ‘Washington Report’ in publication published by and for the Texas oil and gas industry.”

[“About Us,” U.S. Oil & Gas Association, accessed 09/21/17]

Albert Modiano said he was not interested in public service opportunities because the oil and gas “‘industry has been very generous with me.’”

In 2001, when he was a potential candidate to head DOI’s Minerals Management Service (MMS), Albert Modiano said he was “not pursuing the job,” admitting the oil and gas “‘industry has been very generous with me.’” [“ANNOUNCEMENTS ON NEW OFFICIALS AT THE INTERIOR DEPT. ARE UNLIKELY,” Platt’s Oilgram News, 01/29/01]

In 2012, U.S. Chamber of Commerce appointed Albert Modiano to its “Association Committee of 100,” to “enhance Chamber lobbying… work.”

In November 2012, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce announced it had appointed Albert Modiano to its “Association Committee of 100,” to “represent association members before the U.S. Chamber’s board of directors, enhance Chamber lobbying and coalition work, recommend programming, and strengthen outreach to the business and association community.” [“U.S. Chamber’s Association Committee of 100 Welcomes Five New Members,” Targeted News Service, 11/09/12]


Political Connections

In 2008, Albert Modiano hosted a $500-a-plate DC fundraiser for Rep. Kevin Brady to “get him better acquainted with more industries.”

[Invitation for Rep. Kevin Brady Fundraiser, Political Party Time, 05/20/08]

Since 1995, Albert Modiano has given at least $3,000 to Republican and Democratic politicians across the country, including Bob Dole, George W. Bush, Luther Strange, and Bill Richardson.

[Search for Albert Modiano, National Institute on Money in State Politics, accessed 09/26/17, Search for Albert Modiano, Federal Election Commission, accessed 09/26/17, and Search for Albert Modiano, CQ Political MoneyLine, accessed 09/26/17]


Current Activity

  • Potential Conflict of Interest:

Albert Modiano is the President of the U.S. Oil & Gas Association, which has “over 3,500 individual members, covering the full spectrum of the domestic petroleum industry,” including “the Texas Oil and Gas Association, the Louisiana Mid-Continent Oil and Gas Association, the Mid-Continent Oil and Gas Association of Oklahoma and the US Oil & Gas Association Mississippi/Alabama Division.” As an alternate member of Interior’s Royalty Policy Committee, Modiano will be advising Zinke “on policy and strategies to improve management of the multi-billion dollar, federal and American Indian mineral revenue program.” Holding these two positions simultaneously could be a potential conflict of interest. [“About Us,” U.S. Oil & Gas Association, accessed 09/21/17 and Department of Interior, Press Release, 09/01/17]


Special Interests
U.S. Oil & Gas Association (Resource Development on Public Lands)

Modiano is the President of the U.S. Oil & Gas Association, which represents thousands of oil and gas companies “covering the full spectrum of the domestic petroleum industry.”

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also connected to:

Texas Oil and Gas Association (Resource Development on Public Lands)

Modiano is the President of the U.S. Oil & Gas Association, which has a division called the Texas Oil and Gas Association.

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also connected to:

Louisiana Mid-Continent Oil and Gas Association (Resource Development on Public Lands)

Modiano is the President of the U.S. Oil & Gas Association, which has a division called the Louisiana Mid-Continent Oil and Gas Association.

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also connected to:

Mid-Continent Oil and Gas Association (Resource Development on Public Lands)

Modiano is the President of the U.S. Oil & Gas Association, which has a division called the Mid-Continent Oil and Gas Association.

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also connected to:

Oklahoma Oil & Gas Association (Resource Development on Public Lands)

Modiano is the President of the U.S. Oil & Gas Association, which has a division called the Oklahoma Oil & Gas Association.

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also connected to:

US Oil & Gas Association Mississippi/Alabama Division (Resource Development on Public Lands)

Modiano is the President of the U.S. Oil & Gas Association, which has a division called the US Oil & Gas Association Mississippi/Alabama Division.

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also connected to:

American Petroleum Institute (Resource Development on Public Lands)

Modiano used to work for the American Petroleum Institute, the top oil and natural gas lobby.

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also connected to:

Kevin Simpson

Royalty Policy Committee
/
Alternate Member, Mineral/Energy Stakeholder

Background Information
Previous Employers

Shell Oil

Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources

United States Senate, Senator Ted Stevens

Additional Background on Employers of Note:

In 2012, both Exxon Mobil and Shell Oil paid to fly Kevin Simpson to Houston for job interviews.

In April 2012, Exxon Mobil paid to fly Kevin Simpson to Houston for a job interview. [Kevin Simpson, United States Senate Financial Disclosure Report for Annual and Termination Reports, 11/01/12]

In June 2012, Shell Oil Corp. flew Kevin Simpson to Houston for a job interview. [Kevin Simpson, United States Senate Financial Disclosure Report for Annual and Termination Reports, 11/01/12]

In November 2012, Kevin Simpson left public service to work for Shell Oil Company for a salary between $250,000 and $100,001 a year, plus a “signing bonus” worth between $100,000 and $50,001. Shell Oil is “the second-largest oil and gas company” in the world.

In November 2012, Kevin Simpson announced he was leaving his position on the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee to work for Shell Oil as “a senior adviser on gas monetization projects” in New Orleans. Simpson agreed to an annual salary somewhere between $100,001 and $250,000 dollars, as well as a “signing bonus” worth between $50,001 and $100,000. [Kevin Simpson, United States Senate Financial Disclosure Report for Annual and Termination Reports, 11/01/12 and John McArdle, “Lawyer set to return to Hill as Murkowski’s committee counsel,” Energy & Environment, 10/19/12]

Shell Oil “is the second-largest oil and gas company” in the world. [Lauren Gensler, “The World’s Largest Oil And Gas Companies 2017: Exxon Reigns Supreme, While Chevron Slips,” Forbes, 05/24/17]

In 2011, Kevin Simpson took a $2,400 trip sponsored by the Bertelsmann Foundation to Brussels, Belgium, to meet with European “industry representatives in the field of energy.”

In May 2011, Kevin Simpson took a $2,397.41 trip to Brussels, Belgium, to meet with “European officials, academics and industry representatives in the field of energy.” The trip was sponsored by the Bertelsmann Foundation. [“Kevin C. Simpson, Congressional Staffer – Privately Financed Travel,” Legistorm, accessed 09/27/17]

Kevin Simpson has raked in more than half million dollars in taxpayer money for his work in Washington D.C.

From 2006 to 2012, Kevin Simpson raked in $504,167.71 in taxpayer money in salary for his work for former Senator Ted Stevens, the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee, and Senator Lisa Murkowski’s Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee. [“Kevin C. Simpson, Congressional Staffer – Salary Data,” Legistorm, accessed 09/27/17]

 


Political Connections

Kevin Simpson has contributed over $7,000 to conservative candidates and causes around the country, including Mitt Romney, Sean Parnell, Marco Rubio, Garret Graves, and the Alaska Republican Party.

Since 2012, Kevin Simpson has contributed over $7,000 to conservative candidates and causes around the country, including Mitt Romney, Sean Parnell, Marco Rubio, Garret Graves, the Shell Oil Employees PAC, and the Alaska Republican Party. [Search for Kevin Simpson, CQ Political Moneyline, accessed 09/27/17 and Search for Kevin Simpson, National Institute on Money in State Politics, accessed 09/27/17]

Kevin Simpson worked on oil and natural gas issues for Senator Lisa Murkowski for years, and in 2015, contributed $2,500 to her reelection campaign.

Kevin Simpson worked on oil and natural gas issues for Senator Lisa Murkowski for nearly four years, from 2009 to 2012. After moving on to work for Shell Oil, Simpson contributed $2,500 to Lisa Murkowski’s reelection campaign in 2015. [LinkedIn Profile for Kevin Simpson, accessed 12/06/17, and Search for Kevin Simpson, CQ Political Moneyline, accessed 12/06/17]

 


Current Activity

  • Potential Conflict of Interest:

Kevin Simpson works for Shell Oil as “a senior adviser on gas monetization projects” in New Orleans. As an alternate member of Interior’s Royalty Policy Committee, Simpson will be advising Zinke “on policy and strategies to improve management of the multi-billion dollar, federal and American Indian mineral revenue program.” Holding these two positions simultaneously could be a potential conflict of interest. [John McArdle, “Lawyer set to return to Hill as Murkowski’s committee counsel,” Energy & Environment News, 10/19/12 and Department of Interior, Press Release, 09/01/17]


Special Interests
Shell Oil Company (Resource Development on Public Lands)

Simpson works for Shell Oil, the second-largest oil and gas company in the world.

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also connected to:

Greg Morby

Royalty Policy Committee
/
Alternate Member, Mineral/Energy Stakeholder

Background Information
Previous Employers

Texaco  

Chevron

Additional Background on Employers of Note:

In 2015, Greg Morby, on behalf of Chevron, objected to a proposed Interior rule “reconsidering whether Americans [were] receiving a ‘fair return’ on sales of coal, oil and natural gas taken from public lands.”

Greg Morby, working on behalf of Chevron, on May 8, 2015, wrote a letter to the Office of Natural Resources Revenue on its proposed “Consolidated Federal Oil & Gas and Federal & Indian Coal Valuation Reform” rule. The rule reconsidered “whether Americans [were] receiving a ‘fair return’ on sales of coal, oil and natural gas taken from public lands.”

[Greg Morby to Armand Southall, Office of Natural Resources Revenue, 05/08/15, and Tom Lutey, “Carbon copies: Elected officials pass coal industry letter off as their own,” Billings Gazette, 04/15/15]

Chevron opposed the proposed rule, because “ONRR [had] provide[d] insufficient reasons to put aside long-standing policy and regulations on which industry ha[d] relied for over a decade.” In particular, Chevron claimed that while they were “committed to ensure a fair return to the public on production of oil and gas from federal leases… a fair return must be balanced with the rights and legal obligations of the federal lessees.”

[Greg Morby to Armand Southall, Office of Natural Resources Revenue, 05/08/15]


Current Activity

Greg Morby supported the Trump administration’s repeal of the coal valuation rule, which closed “a loophole that enabled companies to dodge royalty payments when mining on taxpayer-owned public land.”

In May 2017, Greg Morby, on behalf of Chevron, submitted a letter to the Office of Natural Resources Revenue, writing, “Chevron supports the ONRR proposal to repeal the Consolidated Federal Oil & Gas and Federal & Indian Coal Valuation Reform Rule that was published in the Federal Register on July 1, 2016 (‘2017 Valuation Rule’).”

[Greg Morby to Armand Southall, Office of Natural Resources Revenue, 05/02/17]

“The valuation rule was proposed by former Interior Secretary Sally Jewell last year to close a loophole that enabled companies to dodge royalty payments when mining on taxpayer-owned public land. It required energy companies to pay royalties on sales to the first unaffiliated customer, known as an arm‘s-length sale, as the fuel moves to market.”

[Valerie Volcovici, “U.S. Interior Department rescinds coal valuation rule,” Reuters, 08/07/17]


Other Information

Greg Morby is on the Board of the New Mexico Tax Research Institute (NMTRI), an organization that has received significant funding from energy companies and has published reports favorable to the oil and gas industry.

Greg Morby is on the Board of Directors of the New Mexico Tax Research Institute (NMTRI).

[“Officers & Directors,” New Mexico Tax Research Institute, accessed 09/27/17]

On its website, NMTRI describes itself as “a nonprofit, nonpartisan, member-supported organization” that does “not advocate any agenda for or against taxation.”

[“About NMTRI,” New Mexico Tax Research Institute, accessed 09/18/17]

However, the New Mexico Tax Research Institute has received significant contributions from energy companies. In 2015 alone, the year most recent year for which its 990 form is available, NMTRI received $132,001 from energy companies, including: $15,000 from Chevron, $12,000 from Freeport McMoran, $10,000 from ConocoPhillips, $75,001 Occidental Petroleum Corp, $10,000 from Western Refining Inc., and $10,000 from Mack Energy Corporation.

[“New Mexico Tax Research Institute 990 Form,” ProPublica, accessed 09/19/17]

The New Mexico Tax Research Institute has conducted reports paid for by the New Mexico Oil & Gas Association. A report NMTRI released in 2014, partially funded by industry, found that “even counties where there is little oil and gas development have benefited from those industries.”

[“Report: New Mexico leans on oil, gas revenue,” Associated Press, 03/16/14]


Special Interests
Texaco (Resource Development on Public Lands)

Before working at Chevron, Morby worked at Texaco. Texaco and Chevron merged in 2001, and Texaco now operates as a subsidiary of Chevron.

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also connected to:

Chevron (Resource Development on Public Lands)

Morby has worked at multinational energy corporation Chevron for at least 14 years.

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also connected to:

American Petroleum Institute (Resource Development on Public Lands)

Greg Morby worked at Chevron for at least 14 years, which is a member company of the American Petroleum Institute.

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also connected to:

New Mexico Tax Research Institute (Resource Development on Public Lands)

Morby is on the Board of the New Mexico Tax Research Institute (NMTRI), an organization that has received over $130,000 in funding from energy significant funding from energy companies companies and that has published reports favorable to the oil and gas industry.

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also connected to:

Kathleen Sgamma

Royalty Policy Committee
/
Alternate Member, Mineral/Energy Stakeholder

Political Connections

Kathleen Sgamma has donated over $14,000 to Republican candidates and Western Energy Alliance’s PAC.

 Since 2010, Kathleen Sgamma has donated over $14,000 to Republican candidates and Western Energy Alliance’s PAC.

[Political Moneyline Search for Kathleen Sgamma, CQ, accessed 12/06/17]


Other Information

Kathleen Sgamma claimed that drilling on public lands has “‘an infinitesimal impact on climate change’” and that oil and gas “‘provides more climate benefits than wind and solar combined.’”

Kathleen Sgamma said that “drilling for oil and gas on public lands” has “‘an infinitesimal impact on climate change.’” [Matthew Brown, “Court revives dispute over energy leasing’s climate impacts,” Associated Press, 09/01/15]

Kathleen Sgamma claimed that oil and gas “‘provides more climate benefits than wind and solar combined.’” [Brian Maffly, “Activists cite climate impacts to demand end to all BLM leasing,” The Salt Lake Tribune, 11/17/15]

Kathleen Sgamma supported the Utah Public Lands Initiative, which was criticized by environmental groups because it could open “public lands to drilling while offering them little meaningful protection.” Sgamma praised the initiative in a statement issued by the Western Energy Alliance: “‘After working with Congressmen Bishop and Chaffetz and a broad range of Utah stakeholders, we are proud to be part of this important milestone,’” she said.

Kathleen Sgamma supported the Utah Public Lands Initiative, which was criticized by conservation groups because it could open “public lands to drilling while offering them little meaningful protection.” Sgamma praised the initiative in a statement issued by the Western Energy Alliance: “‘After working with Congressmen Bishop and Chaffetz and a broad range of Utah stakeholders, we are proud to be part of this important milestone,’” she said. [Western Energy Alliance, Press Release, 01/20/16; Brian Maffly, “Conservationists decry Utah’s Public Lands Initiative, say draft hides ‘poison pills,’The Salt Lake Tribune, 01/22/16]

The Western Energy Alliance (WEA) has repeatedly questioned the data and scientific methods used by the government and “tried to discredit scientists working with federal agencies.” Kathleen Sgamma claimed that peer review is “normally a rigorous scientific process,” but, when “used by federal agencies for endangered species listing decisions,” “is spin for asking somebody in a close circle of friends to approve your work.” She said that the Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) “can count on its ‘friends’ in a tight circle of scientist-activists who won’t point out something that’s inconvenient to it.” Sgamma also claimed that a Department of the Interior analysis was “probably done by the Sierra Club.”

The Western Energy Alliance has “tried to discredit scientists working with federal agencies.” WEA even “went so far as to publish and then criticize the emails of Pat Diebert, a federal employee whose findings displeased the industry.” [Jimmy Tobias, “Crude tactics worked against the sage grouse [Opinion],” High Country News, 02/10/15]

Kathleen Sgamma wrote that peer review is “normally a rigorous scientific process,” but, “when used by federal agencies for endangered species listing decisions,” “is spin for asking somebody in a close circle of friends to approve your work.” Sgamma said that WEA filed FOIA requests “to get data that should have been made public but the federal government was withholding” on the sage grouse listing decision. After receiving the information, “a coalition of 19 counties and many other stakeholder groups analyzed it and determined the peer review process lacked scientific rigor and integrity.” Sgamma believes that federal agencies used “faulty information that ignores a large body of scientific literature on the sage grouse.” [Kathleen Sgamma, “Help From My Friends, Part 1: Distorting the Peer Review Process,” Western Energy Alliance, 05/15/15]

Kathleen Sgamma argued that “examining sage-grouse science that’s supposedly peer reviewed, it’s increasingly clear that federal agencies are pointing the finger at oil and natural gas as a major impact on the species and proposing very severe restrictions instead of facing all too real threats.” Sgamma claimed that the Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) was involved in “a seemingly willful effort to downplay the impacts of natural predators to the sage grouse.” Sgamma asked rhetorically, why FWS “downplayed the impact of predation,” suggesting that “it’s easier just to blame an industry than actually solve a problem itself.” Sgamma claimed that “the agency can count on its ‘friends’ in a tight circle of scientist-activists who won’t point out something that’s inconvenient to it.” [Kathleen Sgamma, “Help From My Friends, Part 3: Agencies Ignoring Predation,” Western Energy Alliance, 06/05/15]

On January 15, 2016, Sgamma tweeted, “Like other ‘independendent analyses’ used by @Interior to justify policies, the #coal #GHGs analysis was probably done by the Sierra Club.” [Tweet by Kathleen Sgamma, 01/15/16, accessed 09/29/17]

Katlheen Sgamma, in January 2016, sympathized with the “ranchers in the vicinity of the now-occupied Malheur National Wildlife Refuge,” who “were slowly pushed out by bureaucrats intent on expanding the size of the refuge.” She also wrote that the Hammonds “were harassed by federal officials over many years until ultimately they were prosecuted and convicted for setting a back fire that accidentally burned a small portion of BLM lands.”

Kathleen Sgamma, in January 2016, wrote a blog post on the WEA website that sympathized with the Bundys and the “ranchers in the vicinity of the now-occupied Malheur National Wildlife Refuge,” who “were slowly pushed out by bureaucrats intent on expanding the size of the refuge.” She states that “Ammon Bundy and his posse are serious lawbreakers whose actions I completely condemn,” but “the federal abuses leading us to this sorry situation today deserve honest attention and systemic change.” Sgamma argues that “the situation [at the Malheur Wildlife Refuge] arises from too much federal ownership of land in the West” and that “like ranchers, energy workers are being driven from the land.” She also writes that the Hammonds “were harassed by federal officials over many years until ultimately they were prosecuted and convicted for setting a back fire that accidentally burned a small portion of BLM lands.” [Kathleen Sgamma, “Oregon Standoff, Energy, and Federal Abuses,” Western Energy Alliance, 01/08/16]

Kathleen Sgamma called National Geographic “expert propagandists.”

On December 21, 2015, Kathleen Sgamma tweeted that National Geographic “are expert propagandists,” in reference to their TV Show “Fracking Hell.” [Tweet by Kathleen Sgamma, 12/21/15, accessed 09/29/17]

Kathleen Sgamma claimed that the American Lung Association “has lost scientific and professional objectivity when it comes to the effects of ozone and other air emissions on asthma” and is “used as a tool by the environmental lobby.”

Kathleen Sgamma, in a Western Energy Alliance blog post, criticized the American Lung Association for its testimony at a BLM hearing. Sgamma wrote, “While we’d all like to think ALA is a noble organization working on public health, the truth is that it has lost scientific and professional objectivity when it comes to the effects of ozone and other air emissions on asthma.”

The American Lung Association, according to Sgamma, “is often used as a tool by the environmental lobby to make exaggerated claims about our industry’s effects on public health, and indeed, the ALA representative at the hearing made alarmist claims about the asthma causing effects of benzene and climate change, none of which are supported by actual science.” [Kathleen Sgamma, “Countering Misinformation at the BLM Venting and Flaring Hearing,” Western Energy Alliance, 03/02/16]


Special Interests
Western Energy Alliance (Resource Development on Public Lands)

Sgamma is the President Western Energy Alliance (WEA), "a Denver-based oil and gas trade association representing energy companies working in the Rocky Mountain region."

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also connected to:

Gabrielle Gerholt

Royalty Policy Committee
/
Alternate Member, Mineral/Energy Stakeholder

Background Information
Previous Employers

New Mexico State Land Office

New Mexico Energy, Minerals and Natural Resources Department

Holland & Hart

Concho Resources Inc.

Additional Background on Employers of Note:

While working at law firm Holland & Hart, Gabrielle Gerholt represented multiple oil and natural gas companies including Encana Oil & Gas, EOG Resources Inc., WPX Energy Production, COG Operating LLC, and XTO Energy, Inc. Gerholt represented these companies before the New Mexico Energy, Minerals and Natural Resources Oil Conservation Division, where she worked immediately before joining Holland & Hart.

Gabrielle Gerholt represented Encana Oil & Gas in its application asking for an order “approving [Encana’s] Hutton Canyon Unit,” “creating a new pool for horizontal wells within the unit area,” and “allowing for 330 foot setbacks from the exterior of the proposed Unit” in San Juan County, New Mexico.

[“Application of Encana Oil & Gas (Usa) Inc. For Approval of The Hutton Canyon Unit, Creation of a New Pool for Horizontal Development Within the Unit Area, and for Allowance of 330 Foot Setbacks from the Exterior of the Proposed Unit, San Juan County, New Mexico,” New Mexico Energy Minerals and Natural Resources Department, 09/25/14]

Gabrielle Gerholt represented EOG Resources Inc. in its application “for a Non-standard Spacing and Proration Unit, and Compulsory Pooling” in Lea County, New Mexico.

[“Application of EOG Resources, Inc. For a Non-standard Spacing And Proration Unit, and Compulsory Pooling, Lea County, New Mexico,” New Mexico Energy Minerals and Natural Resources Department, 08/28/14]

Gabrielle Gerholt represented WPX Energy Production in its application “for Approval Of the Northwest Lybrook Unit; Creation Of a New Pool for Horizontal Development Within the Unit Area, and for Allowance Of 330 Foot Setbacks from the Exterior of The Proposed Unit” in Rio Arriba and San Juan Counties, New Mexico.

[“Application Of WPX Energy Production, LLC for Approval Of the Northwest Lybrook Unit; Creation Of a New Pool for Horizontal Development Case No. 15201 Within the Unit Area, and for Allowance Of 330 Foot Setbacks from the Exterior of The Proposed Unit, Rio Arriba and San Juan Counties, New Mexico,” New Mexico Energy Minerals and Natural Resources Department, 09/11/14]

Gabrielle Gerholt represented COG Operating LLC in its application to “make permanent the special rules adopted under Order R-13523 for the Dodd Glorieta Upper Yeso Pool and the Burch Keeley Glorieta Upper Yeso Pool” in Eddy County, New Mexico.

[“Application of COG Operating LLC to Make Permanent the Special Rules Adopted Under Order R-13523 for the Dodd Glorieta Upper Yeso Pool and the Burch Keeley Glorieta Upper Yeso Pool in Eddy County, New Mexico,” New Mexico Energy Minerals and Natural Resources Department, 09/26/14]

Gabrielle Gerholt represented XTO Energy, Inc. in its application “For a Non-Standard Spacing and Proration Unit, and Compulsory Pooling,” in Lea County, New Mexico.

[“Application of XTO Energy, Inc., For a Non-Standard Spacing and Proration Unit, and Compulsory Pooling, Lea County, New Mexico,” New Mexico Energy Minerals and Natural Resources Department, 09/26/14]


Other Information

Gabrielle Gerholt is registered to lobby in New Mexico on behalf of Concho Resources Inc.

She has been a registered lobbyist for Concho since 2015; her current registration will expire on December 31, 2017.

[New Mexico Secretary of State Search for Gabrielle Gerholt, 2015, accessed 09/27/17, New Mexico Secretary of State Search for Gabrielle Gerholt, 2016, accessed 09/27/17, and New Mexico Secretary of State Search for Gabrielle Gerholt, 2017, accessed 09/27/17]

Gabrielle Gerholt opposes the BLM’s Methane and Waste Prevention Rule, a rule to curb “methane venting, flaring and leakage during oil and gas production” that would address “a potent greenhouse gas…accelerating climate change.” Gerholt opposes the rule because, she claims, it would cost companies too much to “absorb” the cost of capturing gas.

Gabrielle Gerholt, in 2016, expressed the “need for federal regulation reform” at the Carlsbad Mayor’s Oil and Gas Summit, “highlight[ing]….the BLM’s proposed venting and flaring rule.”

[Maddy Hayden, “Summit theme evident as speakers push for reform,” Carlsbad Current-Argus, 09/13/16]

The “Bureau of Land Management’s Methane and Waste Prevention Rule… aims to prevent methane venting, flaring and leakage during oil and gas production” by forcing “oil and gas companies to capture methane that had been previously burned off or ‘flared’ at drilling sites.” If implemented, the rule “would prevent roughly 180,000 tons a year of methane from escaping into the atmosphere and would boost federal revenue between $3 million and $13 million a year,” coming from royalties paid by oil and gas companies.

[Pamela King, “Westerners fear GOP’s ‘morally outrageous’ BLM rule rollback,” Energy & Environment, 02/03/17, and Juliet Eilperin and Chelsea Harvey, “Senate unexpectedly rejects bid to repeal a key Obama-era environmental regulation,” Washington Post, 05/10/17]

The BLM rule addresses methane, “a potent greenhouse gas that is accelerating climate change.” The rule would also help the “health and well-being” of people living near oil and gas facilities, by reducing the presence of “colorless, odorless, invisible methane gas, which when combined with other harmful gases creates smog” and causes “more cases of respiratory conditions like asthma.”

[Juliet Eilperin and Chelsea Harvey, “Senate unexpectedly rejects bid to repeal a key Obama-era environmental regulation,” Washington Post, 05/10/17, and Hispanic Access Foundation, Press Release, 02/08/17]

Gabrielle Gerholt said of the BLM’s flaring rule that “for New Mexico wells to contain the excess gas instead of flaring it would be unsustainable” because they wouldn’t be able to “‘absorb [the] costs'” of capturing gas. Gerholt also cited a statistic from the New Mexico Oil and Gas Association, a “coalition of oil and natural gas companies,” that claimed the “expenses needed to comply” with the BLM methane rule and a recent EPA rule “would lead companies to either shut-in or plug 10 percent of New Mexico’s production.”

[Maddy Hayden, “Summit theme evident as speakers push for reform,” Carlsbad Current-Argus, 09/13/16, and “About NMOGA,” New Mexico Oil and Gas Association, accessed 09/28/17]

At the Carlsbad Mayor’s Oil and Gas Summit, Gerholt “called for the audience to contact federal legislators and voice their criticisms of the rules.”

[Maddy Hayden, “Summit theme evident as speakers push for reform,” Carlsbad Current-Argus, 09/13/16]

In 2016, Gabrielle Gerholt gave a “legislative & regulatory update” on behalf of Concho Resources to the American Association of Professional Landmen, which works “to advance oil and gas interests.”

The American Association of Professional Landmen (AAPL) is a trade organization that represents the “interests of America’s landmen before the public, legislators and federal administrations and agencies” and “works closely with the public to advance oil and gas interests.”

[“Santa Fe Land Institute,” Americas Association of Professional Landmen, accessed 09/27/17, and “AAPL,” Americas Association of Professional Landmen, accessed 09/27/17]

 


Special Interests
Encana Oil and Gas (Resource Development on Public Lands)

Gerholt represented Encana Oil & Gas when she was attorney at Holland & Hart.

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also connected to:

EOG Resources Inc. (Resource Development on Public Lands)

Gerholt represented oil and natural gas company EOG Resources Inc. when she was an attorney at Holland & Hart.

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also connected to:

WPX Energy Production (Resource Development on Public Lands)

Gerholt represented natural gas company WPX Energy Production when she was an attorney at Holland & Hart. WPX Energy Production operates as a subsidiary of WPX Energy Inc.

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also connected to:

WPX Energy Inc. (Resource Development on Public Lands)

Gerholt represented WPX Energy Production, a subsidiary of WPX Energy Inc., when she was an attorney at Holland & Hart.

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also connected to:

COG Operating LLC (Resource Development on Public Lands)

Gerholt represented oil and natural gas company COG Operating LLC when she was an attorney at Holland & Hart. COG Operating LLC operates as a subsidiary of Concho Resources Inc., Gerholt's current employer.

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also connected to:

Concho Resources Inc. (Resource Development on Public Lands)

Gerholt currently works for Concho Resources, Inc., an independent oil and natural gas company headquartered in Midland, Texas.

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also connected to:

XTO Energy Inc. (Resource Development on Public Lands)

Gerholt represented natural gas company XTO Energy, Inc. when she was an attorney at Holland & Hart. XTO Inc. operates as a subsidiary of ExxonMobil.

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also connected to:

ExxonMobil Corporation (Resource Development on Public Lands)

Gerholt represented XTO Energy, Inc., a subsidiary of ExxonMobil, when she was an attorney at Holland & Hart.

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also connected to:

Association of Professional Landmen (Resource Development on Public Lands)

Gerholt spoke at an AAPL event in 2016; AAPL is a trade organization that represents the "interests of America's landmen before the public, legislators and federal administrations and agencies" and "works closely with the public to advance oil and gas interests."

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also connected to:

Jennifer Cadena Fortier

Royalty Policy Committee
/
Alternate Member, Mineral/Energy Stakeholder

Background Information
Previous Employers

Incremental Oil and Gas

Welborn Sullivan Meck & Tooley, P.C.

Fulbright & Jaworski

Additional Background on Employers of Note:

Jennifer Cadena Fortier is currently the Land & Legal VP for Incremental Oil and Gas, an oil and gas exploration and production company that operates oil fields in Wyoming’s Bighorn Basin, in Sheep Springs and Round Mountain, California, and in Florence, Colorado.

Jennifer Cadena Fortier is the VP of Land & Legal at Incremental Oil and Gas, an oil and gas exploration and production company with oil fields in Wyoming, California, and Colorado. [“Company Overview,” Incremental Oil & Gas, accessed 09/28/17 and “Company Presentation,” Incremental Oil & Gas, 02/16]

Incremental Oil and Gas “owns a 100% working interest (WI) in the Silvertip oil and gas field covering an area of approximately 4,700 net acres located in the Bighorn basin; and the Florence Oilfield covering approximately 2,436 net acres located in the southern DJ basin. The company also owns 100% WI in the Sheep Springs Oilfield comprising 160 acres located in the San Joaquin Basin; and the Round Mountain Oil Field covering approximately 320 net acres that are located in the San Joaquin basin.” [“Company Overview of Incremental Oil and Gas Limited,” Bloomberg, accessed 09/28/17]

Jennifer Cadena Fortier has counseled energy companies “interested in developing federal onshore lands” on the acquisition and sale of assets and advised senior oil and gas executives “on land use and regulatory issues.” Fortier also touts her counseling of energy companies on “pre-development oil and gas issues on public lands” and “compliance with multiple federal land use and environmental laws.”

She has counseled “energy companies interested in developing federal onshore lands and private lands. Specifically, she has aided energy companies in acquiring and disposing of assets, negotiated and drafted exploration and operating agreements, counseled companies on federal and local requirements, and litigated various issues in front of agency boards, state and federal courts.” [Jennifer Cadena Resume, Welborn Sullivan Meck & Tooley, P.C., accessed 09/28/17]

Jennifer Cadena Fortier has counseled energy companies on “pre-development oil and gas issues on public lands” and “compliance with multiple federal land use and environmental laws, such as the Federal Land Policy Management Act, National Environmental Policy Act, Migratory Bird Treaty Act, and Clean Water Act.” [Jennifer Cadena Resume, Hispanic National Bar Association, accessed 09/29/17]

Jennifer Cadena Fortier has represented a number of energy companies and industry associations in disputes with the Interior Department, including “energy companies” in a federal lawsuit for “failure to comply with NEPA, ESA and the Wilderness Act,” a trade association trying to force BSEE “to vacate National Notice” to the lease-holders, and a processing company assessed a civil penalty by ONRR.

Jennifer Cadena Fortier once represented a processing company that had been hit with a “civil penalty issued by ONRR.”

Cadena Fortier has “represented energy companies” in a federal lawsuit for “failure to comply with NEPA, ESA and the Wilderness Act.”

She once “represented energy company in complying with BLM regulations concerning unit agreements, assignments and federal environmental requirements.”

Jennifer Cadena Fortier “represented trade association in appeal forcing BSEE to vacate National Notice” to the lease-holders. [Jennifer Cadena Resume, Welborn Sullivan Meck & Tooley, P.C., accessed 09/28/17]

Jennifer Cadena Fortier represented Anadarko Petroleum when it disputed the terms of oil and gas leases “as a result of the moratorium and new requirements for drilling operations that followed the BP Deepwater Horizon disaster” in 2010.

In 2012, she represented Anadarko Petroleum Corporation when it disputed whether “the Secretary of the Interior had effected a suspension of operations that extended the primary terms of certain oil and gas leases in the Gulf of Mexico” “as a result of the moratorium and new requirements for drilling operations that followed the BP Deepwater Horizon disaster” in 2010. [183 IBLA 1, Anadarko Petroleum Corporation v. Bureau of Ocean Management, 09/20/12]

Jennifer Cadena Fortier has “advised management and staff regarding federal and Indian lands issues.”

Jennifer Cadena Fortier has “advised management and staff regarding federal and Indian lands issues.” [Jennifer Cadena Resume, Hispanic National Bar Association, accessed 09/29/17]

Jennifer Cadena Fortier once represented a “company in negotiation of settlement agreement concerning overpaid royalties to a royalty owner.”

Jennifer Cadena Fortier has represented a “company in negotiation of settlement agreement concerning overpaid royalties to a royalty owner.” [Jennifer Cadena Resume, Hispanic National Bar Association, accessed 09/29/17]

Jennifer Cadena Fortier worked for “international oil and gas companies purchasing onshore U.S. assets,” including in Oklahoma and Colorado.

Jennifer Cadena Fortier has “performed corporate, title, and environmental due diligence for international oil and gas companies purchasing onshore U.S. assets.”

Jennifer Cadena Fortier has “drafted and negotiated agreements for acquisition and divestiture of oil and gas properties, including representation of an international seller in disposition of assets in three jurisdictions, representation of international company in interpreting federal regulations and requirements to purchase assets in Oklahoma, and representation of a [sic] international company in joint venture in Colorado.” [Jennifer Cadena Resume, Hispanic National Bar Association, accessed 09/29/17]


Political Connections

Jennifer Cadena Fortier, a registered Democrat, has contributed $300 to the Colorado Democratic Party and $75 to the Colorado BlueFlower Fund, which aims to raise “money for pro-choice, Democratic women candidates.”

Jennifer Cadena Fortier is a registered Democrat in the state of Colorado. [Voter Registration Search for Jennifer Cadena Fortier, Colorado Secretary of State, accessed 09/27/17]

In January 2010, Jennifer Cadena Fortier posted it was “sometimes hard to be a liberal from a conservative city, state, and university” and work “in one of the most conservative firms in an extremely conservative field.” [Facebook post by Jennifer Cadena Fortier, 01/20/10]

In January 2016, Jennifer Cadena Fortier contributed $300 to the Colorado Democratic Party. In September 2016, Jennifer Cadena Fortier contributed $75 to the Colorado BlueFlower Fund, the EMILY’s List-allied “successor to the Democratic Women’s Political Action Committee (PAC), which raised money for pro-choice, Democratic women candidates in Colorado for a number of years.” [“Report of Receipts and Disbursements,” Colorado Democratic Party, 03/20/16, Colorado TRACER search for Jennifer Cadena, accessed 09/27/17, and “History,” Colorado BlueFlower Fund, accessed 09/27/17]


Current Activity

  • Potential Conflict of Interest:

Jennifer Cadena Fortier is the VP of Land and Legal for Incremental Oil. As an alternate member of Interior’s Royalty Policy Committee, Simpson will be advising Zinke “on policy and strategies to improve management of the multi-billion dollar, federal and American Indian mineral revenue program.” Holding these two positions simultaneously could be a potential conflict of interest. [LinkedIn Profile for Jennifer Cadena, accessed 09/27/17 and Department of Interior, Press Release, 09/01/17]


Other Information

Jennifer Cadena Fortier was involved in the Denver Petroleum Club’s Mentor/Mentee Program.

In 2012 and 2013, Jennifer Cadena Fortier was a part of the Denver Petroleum Club’s Mentor/Mentee Program. [LinkedIn Profile for Jennifer Cadena, accessed 09/28/17 and Jennifer Cadena Resume, Welborn Sullivan Meck & Tooley, P.C., accessed 09/28/17]

Jennifer Cadena Fortier was the Vice Chair of the American Bar Association’s Public Lands Committee.

Jennifer Cadena Fortier served as the Vice Chair of the Public Lands Committee for the American Bar Association. [LinkedIn Profile for Jennifer Cadena, accessed 09/28/17]


Special Interests
Incremental Oil and Gas (Resource Development on Public Lands)

Cadena Fortier works for Incremental Oil and Gas, an oil and gas exploration and production company in Colorado.

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also connected to:

Denver Petroleum Club (Resource Development on Public Lands)

Cadena Fortier was a part of the Denver Petroleum Club's Mentor/Mentee Program.

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also connected to:

Anadarko Petroleum Corporation (Resource Development on Public Lands)

Cadena Fortier worked for the Anadarko Petroleum Corporation in a BOEM case in 2012.

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also connected to:

Daniel "Dan" Saddler

Royalty Policy Committee
/
Alternate Member, State Representative

Political Connections

Dan Saddler has accepted at least $5,450 from extractive industries since 2010 when he was first elected to the Alaska House of Representatives.   

He has accepted contributions from ConocoPhillips, Enstar Natural Gas, the Alaska Miners Association, and BP, among others.

[“Show Me Contributions to Saddler, Dan,” National Institute on Money in State Politics, accessed on 09/29/17]


Other Information

 

Dan Saddler sponsored an “‘unconstitutional'” bill that would “order the federal government to transfer upward of 166 million acres of federal lands to state ownership.”

Dan Saddler co-sponsored a bill that would “order the federal government to transfer upward of 166 million acres of federal lands to state ownership,” which state attorneys from the Alaska Division of Legal and Research Services said was “‘unconstitutional.'” The bill was “based on a similar measure in Utah, approved in 2012, demanding the handover of 30 million acres of federal land.” The original bill, “introduced by House Speaker Mike Chenault,” “said that all federal lands, excluding military property and some other classifications, must be turned over by Jan. 1, 2017, but an amended version advanced Monday by the House Finance Committee would allow the federal government to keep 53.8 million acres of national parks.” [Dermot Cole, “House leaders push land bill despite advice that it’s unconstitutional,” Alaska Dispatch News, 09/28/16]

Dan Saddler supports “oil drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.” He traveled to Washington D.C. with a group of state legislators to pitch opening “the refuge coastal plain to drilling” and “carried a resolution supporting drilling in ANWR before the National Conference of State Legislatures.”

Dan Saddler joined a group of Alaska “state representatives including House Speaker Mike Chenault” to travel “to Washington, D.C., and make a pitch — once again — for oil drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.” The group was invited by “Arctic Power, a private group with a Washington lobbying arm and state funds,” which “has been working since 1992 to open the refuge coastal plain to drilling.” According to Chenault, “Saddler was picked for the trip because he carried a resolution supporting drilling in ANWR before the National Conference of State Legislatures at its fall forum in Tampa, Fla.” [Lisa Demer, “Alaska lawmakers head for DC to lobby for ANWR drilling,” 09/29/16]

Dan Saddler believes that “Alaska’s economic well-being depends on maintaining our essential resource industries, progressing cautiously on a natural gas pipeline, cutting government to a more-affordable level, and making sure any new revenue is generated fairly and spent wisely.”

[“Dan Saddler – House District 13 – Republican,” Alaska Division of Elections, 2016]


Special Interests
Safari Club International (Resource Development on Public Lands)

According to his campaign website, Saddler is a member of Safari Club International, an organization that has ties to the oil and gas industry and that is "behind the killings of tens of thousands of animals, 'including those on the brink of extinction.'"

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also connected to:

Arctic Slope Regional Corporation (Resource Development on Public Lands)

Saddler worked for the Artic Slope Regional Corporation, a company that "provides energy services, petroleum refining and marketing, engineering and construction, technical services for government customers, and natural resource development."

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also connected to:

ConocoPhillips (Resource Development on Public Lands)

Saddler has taken in $2,500 from ConocoPhillips in campaign contributions; he took $1,000 in 2010, $500 in 2011, $500 in 2012, and $500 in 2016.

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also connected to:

Enstar Natural Gas (Resource Development on Public Lands)

Saddler has taken in $750 from Enstar Natural Gas in campaign contributions; he took $500 in 2010 and $250 in 2012.

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also connected to:

Alaska Miners Association (Resource Development on Public Lands)

Saddler has taken in $1,200 from the Alaska Miners Association in campaign contributions; he took $250 in 2012, $250 in 2013, $200 in 2014, and $500 in 2016.

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also connected to:

BP (Resource Development on Public Lands)

In 2016, Saddler took a $1,000 campaign contribution from multinational oil company BP.

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also connected to:

Hans Hunt

Royalty Policy Committee
/
Alternate Member, State Representative

Background Information
Previous Employers

Wyoming House of Representatives


Political Connections

Hans Hunt has accepted at least $2,200 from extractive industries since 2010 when he was first elected to the Wyoming House of Representatives.   

He has accepted contributions from ExxonMobil, Marathon Oil, Devon Energy, Black Hills Corporation, and Williams companies, among others.

[“Show Me Contributions To Hunt, Hans,” National Institute on Money in State Politics, accessed on 09/29/17]


Other Information

When a Wyoming resident emailed Hans Hunt expressing her concerns with guns in schools and with the “profoundly serious dangers of fracking,” Hunt responded that the alleged dangers of fracking were not “‘scientifically founded or proved'” and that if she didn’t “‘like the political atmosphere of Wyoming'” she should “‘leave.'”  

In 2013, Cheyenne minister Audette Fulbright “sent emails to all legislators stating her opposition to House Bill 105,” a bill to allow “people with concealed carry permits to carry guns at schools.” In her email, Fulbright also expressed her concern about the “‘profoundly serious dangers of fracking'” that were taking place in Wyoming.

Hans Hunt responded to Fulbright: “‘I’ll be blunt. If you don’t like the political atmosphere of Wyoming, then by all means, leave. We, who have been here a very long time (I am proudly 4th generation) are quite proud of our independent heritage.'”

He continued, “‘As to your comments on fracking, I would point out that you’re basing your statement on ‘dangers’ that have not been scientifically founded or proved as of yet.'” Hunt said it “‘offend[ed]'” him “‘to no end when liberal out-of-staters such as [Fulbright] move into Wyoming, trying to get away from where they came from, and then pompously demand that Wyoming conform to their way of thinking.'” [Kyle Roerink, “Go Wyo or get out: Lawmaker and minister have cyber clash,” Casper Star-Tribune, 02/08/13]

Hans Hunt has voted for land transfer legislation.

In 2013, Hans Hunt voted for HB 228, the Transfer of Federal Lands Study, legislation to “require the state attorney general to study ‘possible legal recourses available to compel the federal government to relinquish ownership and management of specified federal lands in Wyoming,’ and [to] establish a task force focused on the land transfer.” [Vote on HB0228, Wyoming Legislature, 02/05/13, Jessica Goad and Tom Kenworthy, “State Efforts to ‘Reclaim’ Our Public Lands,” Center for American Progress, 03/11/13] 

Hans Hunt, in 2015, voted for HB 209, a bill to require the federal government to “transfer title to public lands to the state of Wyoming.” [Vote on Wyoming House Bill 209, LegiScan, 02/06/15, and “Wyoming House Bill 209,” LegiScan, 2015 Legislative Session]


Special Interests
Black Hills Corporation (Resource Development on Public Lands)

Hunt accepted $500 in campaign contributions from energy company Black Hills Corporation in 2016. Based in Rapid City, South Dakota, Black Hills Corporation "generate[s] wholesale electricity and produce[s] natural gas, oil and coal."

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also connected to:

ExxonMobil Corporation (Resource Development on Public Lands)

Hunt has accepted $400 in campaign contributions from multinational oil and gas company ExxonMobil, : he took $250 from Exxon in 2010 and another $150 from them in 2016.

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also connected to:

Marathon Oil Corporation (Resource Development on Public Lands)

In 2010 Hunt accepted $250 in campaign contributions from Marathon Oil Corporation, an oil and natural gas exploration and production company.

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also connected to:

Devon Energy Corporation (Resource Development on Public Lands)

In 2016, Hunt accepted $250 in campaign contributions from Devon Energy Corporation, an independent oil and natural gas exploration and production company.

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also connected to:

Chevron (Resource Development on Public Lands)

In 2010, Hunt accepted $200 in campaign contributions from multinational energy corporation Chevron.

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also connected to:

Colorado Wyoming Petroleum Marketers Association (Resource Development on Public Lands)

Hunt accepted $200 in campaign contributions from the Colorado Wyoming Petroleum Marketers Association, a trade organization that represents independent petroleum marketers, in 2016.

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also connected to:

Williams Companies Inc. (Resource Development on Public Lands)

In 2016, Hunt accepted $200 in campaign contributions from Williams Companies Inc., an "energy infrastructure company" that "owns and operates midstream gathering and processing assets, and interstate natural gas pipelines."

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also connected to:

Wyoming Mining Association (Resource Development on Public Lands)

In 2016 Hunt accepted $200 in campaign contributions from the Wyoming Mining Association, a mining industry group, in 2016.

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also connected to:

Lynn Helms

Royalty Policy Committee
/
Alternate Member, State Representative

Other Information

Lynn Helms, as Director of the North Dakota Department of Mineral Resources, “has a dual mission as both an oil industry promoter and its chief regulator.” Helms, to his critics, “personifies a cozy relationship between the commission and oil companies,” but he argues that his background in the oil industry “gives him access and authority.” Helms claimed, “‘If [oil companies] didn’t trust me, and if they expected every time they made a mistake they were going to get slapped with a great big fine or be singled out or profiled, I wouldn’t get straight answers.'”

Lynn Helms, as Director of the North Dakota Department of Mineral Resources, “has a dual mission as both an oil industry promoter and its chief regulator,” “as he is compelled by statute both to promote ‘the greatest possible economic recovery of oil and gas’ and to enforce regulations.” “To his critics, Mr. Helms personifies a cozy relationship between the commission and oil companies,” but Helms “said that his background gives him access and authority, and that his job is to promote responsible development, not the industry. ‘In order to effectively do that I have to be on a first-name basis with C.E.O.s and managers,’ he said. ‘If they didn’t trust me, and if they expected every time they made a mistake they were going to get slapped with a great big fine or be singled out or profiled, I wouldn’t get straight answers.'” At monthly meetings of the North Dakota Industrial Commission, which is made up of the North Dakota ” governor, attorney general and agriculture commissioner, all Republicans,” Helms “guides them calmly from vote to vote and rarely encounters dissent. A review by The New York Times of meeting minutes since 2011 found no failed motions concerning oil and gas. ‘You feel as if the meetings are a performance, that everything’s sort of done under the table, with a lot of back-room deals,’ said Wayde Schafer, the Sierra Club’s sole employee in North Dakota.” [Deborah Sontag, “Where Oil and Politics Mix,” The New York Times, 11/23/14 and Deborah Sontag and Robert Gebeloff, “The Downside of the Boom,” The New York Times, 11/23/14]

Lynn Helms has opposed legislative efforts to separate the part of his job that promotes the oil and gas industry from the regulatory part of his job.

In 2015, North Dakota state senators introduced a bill to “strip the promotional side of the Department of Mineral Resources director’s role from the regulatory side” and move the “promotional side would be moved to the Department of Commerce” because the two roles were “incompatible.” Lynn Helms argued that the “bill would impair efforts at moving the industry forward and properly overseeing its activity.” The oil and gas industry also opposed the bill. [Nick Smith, “State oil regulator’s promotional role questioned,” Bismarck Tribune, 02/05/15]

Lynn Helms supported the construction of the Keystone XL Pipeline, which opponents argued “would lead to dramatic increases in greenhouse gas emissions and accelerate climate change.”

Lynn Helms testified before the House Committee on Science, Space and Technology in support of the construction of the Keystone XL Pipeline, which opponents argued “would lead to dramatic increases in greenhouse gas emissions and accelerate climate change.” Helms, director of mineral resources at the North Dakota Industrial Commission, argued in his testimony “that approval would help cut harmful emissions and make the transport of American oil much more efficient.” [Ben Wolfgang, “Keystone XL would reduce long-haul truck traffic, thus less emissions,” The Washington Times, 05/07/13]

Lynn Helms directed his employees to delete “reports and photos of oil spills from emergency managers and landowners and reports of discrepancies in gas flaring data.”

Lynn Helms, in May 2016, directed employees of the State Oil and Gas Division to “‘remove unnecessary emails.'” A year later, the emails were recovered after an open records request, and a review of the deleted emails found that “the department was permanently destroying records that included inter-agency communications, reports and photos of oil spills from emergency managers and landowners and reports of discrepancies in gas flaring data.” An undisclosed tip alleged that the “deletions were related to improper reporting and transportation of oil and valuable natural gas liquids.” [Lauren Donovan, “Deleted Oil and Gas Division emails resurrected as troublesome issue,” Bismarck Tribune, 05/19/17, and Tyler Axness, “Continued Calls for a Full Performance Audit of Oil and Gas Division is Warranted,” North Dakota Politics, 05/22/17]

Under Lynn Helms’ leadership, in 2013, the North Dakota Oil and Gas Division came under fire from environmental groups when it took the department 11 days to “inform the public of one of the largest oil spills in North Dakota history.”

Helms said that the Tesoro Pipeline’s “size, pipeline pressure and location put it beneath the minimum threshold for monitoring and testing requirements.” [Nick Smith, “Tioga oil leak prompts policy review by state,” Bismarck Tribune, 10/15/13]


Special Interests
Texaco (Resource Development on Public Lands)

Helms worked as a production engineer for Texaco in the 1970s.

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also connected to:

Hess Corporation (Resource Development on Public Lands)

Helms worked for multinational energy company Hess Corporation, when it was called Amerada Hess, as a production engineer, reservoir engineer and as an asset team leader.

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also connected to:

Shawn Thomas

Royalty Policy Committee
/
Alternate Member, State Representative

Background Information
Previous Employers

Plum Creek (now Weyerhauser) 

Thompson River Lumber

Montana Department of Natural Resources


Other Information

Shawn Thomas was a registered lobbyist in the state of Montana for the Department of Natural Resources and Conservation in the 2013 and 2015 legislative sessions. He is not currently registered as a lobbyist.

[Lobbyist Search for Shawn Thomas, Montana Secretary of State, accessed 09/29/17]


Special Interests
Plum Creek Timber Company (Resource Development on Public Lands)

In the 1990s, Thomas worked for Plum Creek Timber Company, which "own[ed] and manage[d] timberlands in the United States." Plum Creek was acquired by Weyerhauser in 2016.

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also connected to:

Thompson River Lumber (Resource Development on Public Lands)

Thomas worked at Thompson River Lumber, a timber company based in Thompson Falls, Montana.

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also connected to:

Jerry Strickland

Royalty Policy Committee
/
Alternate Member, State Representative

Special Interests

Mark Edwards

Royalty Policy Committee
/
Alternate Member, State Representative

Background Information
Previous Employers

 New Mexico Legislative Council Service


Special Interests

Graham Davis

Royalty Policy Committee
/
Alternate Member, Academia and Public Interest Groups

Background Information
Previous Employers

Rio Tinto

Placer Dome

Colorado School of Mines

Brattle Group


Other Information

Graham Davis has worked as a “resource economics consultant” for a variety of consulting and law firms, including: Yates and Leal LLP, Hall and Evans LLP, Pincock, Allen and Holt, Frommer Lawrence & Haug LLP, Platts Research & Consulting, Stevens Littman Biddison Tharp & Weinberg LLC, Berg Hill Greenleaf & Ruscitti LLP, Patterson Belknap Webb & Tyler LLP, Shutts & Bowen LLP, and Ernst & Young LLP, Summit Consulting LLC, Debevoise and Plimpton LLP, Pomerantz, and Grossman, Hufford, Dahlstrom & Gross LLP, and White & Case LLP. [Graham A. Davis Resume, Colorado School of Mines, accessed 10/16/17]


Special Interests
Placer Dome (Resource Development on Public Lands)

Davis worked for mining company Placer Dome as a metallurgical engineer in their Equity Silver Mine in Canada.

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also connected to:

Rio Tinto (Resource Development on Public Lands)

Davis worked for international mining company Rio Tinto as a metallurgical engineer in their Rossing Uranium Mine in Namibia.

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also connected to:

Freeport LNG Development (Resource Development on Public Lands)

In 2011, Davis wrote a letter to DOE supporting the application of two of Freeport's subsidiaries to export liquefied natural gas to non-Free Trade Agreement countries.

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also connected to:

Freeport LNG Expansion L.P. (Resource Development on Public Lands)

In 2011, Davis wrote a letter to DOE supporting Freeport LNG Expansion L.P.'s application to export liquefied natural gas to non-Free Trade Agreement countries. Freeport LNG Expansion is a subsidiary of liquefied natural gas company Freeport LNG Development.

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also connected to:

FLNG Liquefaction, LLC (Resource Development on Public Lands)

In 2011, Davis wrote a letter to DOE supporting FLNG Liquefaction's application to export liquefied natural gas to non-Free Trade Agreement countries. FLNG Liquefaction is a subsidiary of Freeport LNG Expansion, which itself is a subsidiary of Freeport LNG Development.

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also connected to:

Birch Mountain Resources (Resource Development on Public Lands)

Davis worked as a "resource economics consultant" for Birch Mountain Resources, a Canadian company that "explores, develops, produces, and sells limestone aggregate products."

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also connected to:

De Beers (Resource Development on Public Lands)

Davis worked as a "resource economics consultant" for De Beers, the world's biggest diamond company.

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also connected to:

Westchester Resources (Resource Development on Public Lands)

Davis worked as a "resource economics consultant" for Westchester Resources Inc., a Canadian oil and gas exploration company.

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also connected to:

Rio Tinto Coal Australia (Resource Development on Public Lands)

Davis worked as a "resource economics consultant" for Rio Tinto Coal Australia, a coal mining company that operates as a subsidiary of Rio Tinto Group.

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also connected to:

Neal McCaleb

Royalty Policy Committee
/
Alternate Member, Tribal Representative

Background Information
Previous Employers

Oklahoma Indian Affairs Commission

Oklahoma House of Representatives

President’s Commission on Reservation Economics

State of Oklahoma

Department of the Interior

Additional Background on Employers of Note:

Neal McCaleb served on “Ronald Reagan’s Indian Reservation Economics Commission” that wanted to “end” the Bureau of Indian Affairs.

Neal McCaleb served on Ronald Reagan’s Indian Reservation Economics Commission in the 1980s. The commission on which McCaleb served “wrote an unpopular report calling for limitations to tribal sovereign immunity, potentially opening tribes to certain lawsuits.” According to some critics, Reagan’s Indian Reservation Economics Commission “wanted to not only end the BIA, but change the status of sovereignty and other policies which would have finished the Indian extermination that began during the Andrew Jackson-era.”

Additionally, Ronald Reagan “cut funds for Native social programs by 40 percent in 1981.” At the time of McCaleb’s nomination to head George Bush’s Bureau of Indian Affairs, McCaleb’s “tie to the Reagan years [was] not lost on some tribal leaders.” Some observed that he was “poised to head the very agency his committee wanted to dismantle,” and other tribal leaders wondered “‘where'” McCaleb’s “‘loyalties'” would lie. [Mary Pierpoint, “Indian Affairs nominee bit of a mystery in Indian country,” Indian Country Today, 04/25/01, and [“Natives mixed on nominee,” Lincoln Journal Star, 4/19/01]

When he was Assistant Secretary of the Interior for Indian Affairs, Neal McCaleb was embroiled in the infamous Cobell trust fund lawsuit, a class-action lawsuit in which Native Americans sued the Interior Department for mismanaging billions of dollars in oil, gas and timber royalties. When McCaleb was at Interior, he deleted “months of e-mail and computer records relating to the Indian trust fund” and then tried to blame the disappearance of the records on one of his employees. In 2002 McCaleb was “found… guilty of contempt of court” for his actions in the trust fund issue.

The Cobell trust fund lawsuit was “a 15-year legal battle that ended with the federal government’s agreeing to pay $3.4 billion in compensation for mismanagement of Indian trust funds since the late 1800s.” Eloise Cobell, the lead plaintiff, representing “about 500,000” Native Americans “in a class-action lawsuit,” sued the Interior Department “claiming the government mismanaged possibly $137 billion in oil, gas and timber royalties for more than 100 years.” The lawsuit was filed in 1996, before McNeal took office, and “originally named his predecessor.” [Dennis Hevesi, “Elouise Cobell, 65, Dies; Sued U.S. Over Indian Trust Funds,” New York Times, 10/17/11, “Attorney: Indian trust debacle bigger than Enron,” Associated Press, 08/22/02, and Editorial, “Congress, courts must stop malfeasance at BIA,” Argus Leader, 01/31/03]

Although the lawsuit was filed before Neal McCaleb took office, when McCaleb was Assistant Secretary of Indian Affairs government lawyers accused him breaking “federal law by destroying individual Indian trust records” and “deleting months of e-mail and computer records relating to the Indian trust fund,” “despite court orders and internal policy to the contrary.” The material McCaleb deleted “reportedly included figures on the amounts of money going in and out of Indian trust fund accounts.” [“Native American Trust Fund: Massive Mismanagement,” Friends Committee on National Legislation, 12/10/10, and Editorial, “Congress, courts must stop malfeasance at BIA,” Argus Leader, 01/31/03]

McCaleb “admitted he didn’t preserve the documents as required by Department of Interior policy.” However, his excuse was that “he didn’t know he was supposed to keep the material,” because he “thought a subordinate was keeping the records.”

Alan Balaran, a court-appointed special master investigating McCaleb, called it “unbelievable” that McCaleb had “‘fabricated a story that attempted to blame others for his misdeeds.'” [“McCaleb aide testifies in court’s email probe,” Indianz.com, 12/11/02,  and Editorial, “Congress, courts must stop malfeasance at BIA,” Argus Leader, 01/31/03]

The judge in the case, U.S. District Judge Royce Lamberth, “later found the department also was not protecting the security of the accounts.” Under McCaleb’s leadership, a “court-hired hacker broke into the trust fund computer in late 2001 and set up dummy accounts. In his contempt ruling, the judge found that Norton and McCaleb made ‘false and misleading representations’ about the security of Indian trust data.” [Chris Casteel, “BIA, Interior officials accused of cover-up Contempt ruling urged in Indian trust fund case,” The Oklahoman, 12/11/01, and Faith Bremner, “Departing Indian Affairs official disappointed by trust fund dispute,” Gannett News Service, 12/30/02]

In September 2002, Judge Lamberth “found Interior Secretary Gale Norton and Assistant Interior Secretary of Indian Affairs Neal McCaleb guilty of contempt of court” for “failing to do enough to reform the system.” Lamberth wrote that the Interior Department had “‘undeniably shown that it can no longer be trusted to state accurately the status of its trust reform efforts'” and he called Neal McCaleb an “‘unfit’ trustee.” McCaleb left Interior “frustrated and disappointed” in January 2003, after only as serving assistant secretary of the Interior for Indian Affairs for 18 months. [Faith Bremner, “Departing Indian Affairs official disappointed by trust fund dispute,” Gannett News Service, 12/30/02 and Jim Adams, “Norton and McCaleb found guilty of contempt of court,” Indian Country Today, 09/18/02]

The plaintiffs’ attorney for the case called the “government corruption in the handling of American Indian trust money… a scandal bigger than the Enron debacle.” [“Attorney: Indian trust debacle bigger than Enron,” Associated Press, 08/22/02]

In the short time he was at Interior, Neal McCaleb was a proponent of “increased energy production on reservations.”

Neal McCaleb, as assistant secretary for Indian affairs, said that “his goal [was] to streamline policies to make energy development in Indian country more competitive.” [“Indian Bureau Chief Announces His Retirement,” Associated Press, 11/22/02, and “Bush administration to develop Indian energy policy,” Associated Press, 08/16/02]


Other Information

Neal McCaleb serves on the Board of Chickasaw Nation Industries.

Chickasaw Nation Industries is a “corporation wholly owned by the Chickasaw Nation” that “serves as a holding company with over a dozen subsidiaries that operate as Limited Liability Companies (LLCs) engaged in multiple lines of business.”

One of Chickasaw Nation Industries’ companies is Filtra-Systems Company, LLC, which is involved with “industrial filtration and separation products, systems, and technology” and works with “players in the automotive, aerospace, [and] oil and gas” industries.” [“About CNI,” Chickasaw Nation Industries, accessed 09/28/17, “Leadership Team,” Chickasaw Nation Industries, accessed 09/28/17, and “Manufacturing,” Chickasaw Nation Industries, accessed 09/28/17]


Special Interests

Leslie Shakespeare

Royalty Policy Committee
/
Alternate Member, Tribal Representative

Other Information

Leslie Shakespeare is involved with a Wyoming “leadership program” created by a group founded as “an alternative voice” for “coal industry development,” and now run by oil and gas executives from Devon Energy, Nucor Drilling, Cameco Resources, Cloud Peak Energy, Chesapeake Energy, Peabody Energy, Anadarko Petroleum, True Oil, Jonah Energy, and Wold Oil Properties, Inc.

Wyoming Business Alliance, whose first logo included oil, gas, and mining symbols, was founded “to promote multiple use and serve as an alternative voice” for “coal industry development.” [“Leadership Wyoming Alumni by Region,” Leadership Wyoming, accessed 10/16/17, “Origin,” Leadership Wyoming, accessed 10/16/17, “Steering Committee,” Wyoming Business Alliance, accessed 10/16/17, and “Wyoming Business Alliance/Wyoming Heritage Foundation Timeline,” Wyoming Business Alliance, accessed 10/16/17]

In October 2016, Leadership Wyoming took Leslie Shakespeare on a tour of the Eagle Butte Coal Mine. [“AGENDA NATURAL RESOURCES AND THE ENVIRONMENT,” Leadership Wyoming, accessed 10/16/17]


Special Interests
Wyoming Business Alliance (Resource Development on Public Lands)

Shakespeare is involved with a program created by the WBA, which is run by executives from Devon Energy, Nucor Drilling, Cloud Peak Energy, Chesapeake Energy, Peabody Energy, and Anadarko Petroleum.

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also connected to:

Bidtah Becker

Royalty Policy Committee
/
Alternate Member, Tribal Representative

Other Information

In 2017, Bidtah Becker helped negotiate an agreement “to extend operations of the Navajo Generating Station” an extra two years, until the end of 2019.

In 2017, Bidtah Becker, the Executive Director of the Navajo Nation Division of Natural Resources, helped negotiate an agreement “to extend operations of the Navajo Generating Station until the end of December 2019.” The owners of NGS “determined that the process of decommissioning the power plant” must begin in July 2017, but Becker’s deal would allow the owners to operate the power plant until the end of 2019, provide for three to five years for decommissioning the power plant after 2019 and to allow the owners access to the site for an additional 30 years to monitor the site as required by federal environmental laws.” [“NABI Commitee tables NGS legislation, work session scheduled,” Grand Canyon News, 06/13/17]

Bidtah Becker, as Assistant Attorney General for the Natural Resources Unit of the Navajo Nation Department of Justice, “handles legal matters pertaining to the development and use of the Nation’s land and natural resources and protection of the environment.”

Bidtah Becker is the Assistant Attorney General for the Natural Resources Unit of the Navajo Nation Department of Justice, which “handles legal matters pertaining to the development and use of the Nation’s land and natural resources and protection of the environment.” [“Upcoming Events,” The University of New Mexico School of Law, accessed 10/17/17]


Special Interests

Harry Barnes

Royalty Policy Committee
/
Alternate Member, Tribal Representative

Background Information
Previous Employers

Blackfeet Advanced Technologies

Blackfeet Tribal Business Council


Special Interests

Kwame Awuah-Offei

Royalty Policy Committee
/
Alternate Member, Academia and Public Interest Groups

Special Interests
Sphinx Mining Systems LLC (Resource Development on Public Lands)

Awuah-Offei runs Sphinx Mining Systems LLC, a consulting firm that works with publicly traded mining companies.

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also connected to:

PENTA Engineering Corporation (Resource Development on Public Lands)

Awuah-Offei "collaborates" with the consulting arm of PENTA Engineering Corporation, an international firm that provides "consulting and design/build solutions to the cement, lime, industrial minerals, mining, coal, frac sand and fertilizer industries."

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also connected to:

Andrea Travnicek

Fish, Wildlife and Parks
/
Acting Assistant Secretary

Background Information
Previous Employers

Ducks Unlimited

Nexus Youth And Family Solutions

Allete

BNI Energy

BNI Coal

High Plains Consortium, Inc.

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers

North Dakota Governor’s Office

Lockridge Grindal Nauen P.L.L.P.

North Dakota State University Extension-Burleigh County

University of Mary-Gary Tharaldson School of Business

Additional Background on Employers of Note:

Andrea Travicek was a registered North Dakota state lobbyist, on behalf of Allete, a natural gas and coal energy company that is also “the corporate parent of BNI Energy, which owns and operates… a lignite mine near Center, North Dakota,” mining “about 4.5 million tons of lignite coal annually.”

Sometime between July 2016 to June 2017, Andrea Travnicek registered as a lobbyist in North Dakota on behalf of Allete.

[“2017 Registered Lobbyists,” North Dakota Secretary of State, accessed 07/27/17]

Allete is an energy company that “generates electricity from coal-fired, natural gas-fired, biomass co-fired, hydroelectric, wind, solar, and other sources” and “serves taconite mining, iron concentrate, paper, pulp and wood products, and pipeline industries.” Allete is also the “corporate parent of BNI Energy, which owns and operates BNI Coal, LTD., a lignite mine near Center, North Dakota,” which “mines about 4.5 million tons of lignite coal annually.”

[“Our Businesses, Allete, accessed 07/27/17 and Jessica Holdman, “BNI company to focus on energy solutions,” Bismarck Tribune, 02/28/16]

In 2016, Andrea Travnicek said it was “possible” they would force the transfer of 9,000 acres on Lake Oahe “owned by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers” to the the state and “possibly to private landowners.”

In 2016, following the passage of a 2015 bill directing North Dakota Governor and the state’s congressional delegation to get Congress to transfer about 9,000 acres on Lake Oahe “owned by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.” Former Corps of Engineers member Andrea Travnicek, “the governor’s policy adviser on natural resources, said the possible return of private lands, where practicable, is under discussion,” to be given ” to the state and possibly to private landowners.”

[Lauren Donovan, “Transfer of Lake Oahe land comes under fire,” Bismarck Tribune, 05/27/16 and Lauren Donovan, “Lake Oahe transfer shelved,” Bismarck Tribune, 07/14/16]

Andrea Travnicek said she “lobbied Congress for FY’05 Wetland Conservation Act funding” when she worked for Ducks Unlimited in 2004.

In 2004, Andrea Travnicek interned for Ducks Unlimited, where she “Lobbied Congress for FY’05 Wetland Conservation Act funding, collected signatures on Capitol Hill.”

[LinkedIn Profile for Andrea Travnicek, accessed 07/28/17]

In 2015, Andrea Travnicek raked in a $21,040 bonus paid by taxpayer money, the “first time” a Governor had “used the bonus program since it started in 1999.”

Andrea Travnicek, in June 2015, was paid a $21,040 retention bonus by Republican North Dakota Gov. Jack Dalrymple. Gov. Dalrymple paid out a total of $99,824 in retention bonuses, “the first time a governor has used the bonus program since it started in 1999.”

[Mike Nowatzki, “Dalrymple says incentives needed to keep key employees,” Bismarck Tribune, 11/03/15]


Political Connections

On September 13, 2016, Andrea Travnicek contributed $298 to the North Dakota Republican Party.

[Search for Andrea Travnicek, National Institute on Money in State Politics, accessed 07/27/17]


Financials

Financial Disclosure

Department of the Interior salary: $162,000

[Andrea Jean Travnicek, ProPublica’s Trump Town, accessed 03/14/18]


Special Interests
Ducks Unlimited (Protecting Public Lands)

In 2004, Travnicek interned for Ducks Unlimited, the "world's largest and most effective private waterfowl and wetlands conservation organization."

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also connected to:

Allete (Resource Development on Public Lands)

Travnicek was a registered North Dakota lobbyist for Allete, a natural gas and coal energy company.

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also connected to:

BNI Energy (Resource Development on Public Lands)

Travnicek was a registered North Dakota lobbyist for Allete, the corporate parent of BNI Energy, the parent to the owner of a lignite coal mine in North Dakota.

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also connected to:

BNI Coal (Resource Development on Public Lands)

Travnicek was a registered North Dakota lobbyist for Allete, whose subsidiary BNI Coal, owns a North Dakota lignite mine which mines about 4.5 million tons of lignite coal annually.

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also connected to:

Todd Willens

Leadership
/
Assistant Deputy Secretary

Background Information
Previous Employers

Representative Richard Pombo, United States House of Representatives

Feld Entertainment Inc. 

House Natural Resources Committee, United States House of Representatives

United States Department of the Interior

Mariposa Group

Washington Strategies LLC 

Vitello Consulting

VC International 

Representative Steve Pearce, United States House of Representatives

Additional Background on Employers of Note:

When he worked for Richard Pombo, Todd “Willens aided the former California congressman in his attempts to undermine the Endangered Species Act by promoting private property rights above all.”

[Katharine Mieszkowski, “No bears for oil,” Salon, 01/17/08]

Todd Willens lobbied against animal welfare-rules.

Todd Willens, from January 2000 to January 2002, was the “lead lobbyist” for Feld Entertainment, which at the time was the “owner of the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus.” While at Feld Entertainment, Willens “lobbied against animal-welfare rules.”

[LinkedIn Profile for Todd Willens, accessed 08/28/17, Adam Satarino, “People on the Move,” CQ, 05/15/03, and Keturah Hetrick, “Endangered Species Act foe takes top Interior post,” Legistorm, 07/06/17]

When he worked for the Bush administration’s Interior Department, Todd Willens fought against endangered species listings for wolves and manatees, and also, contrary to the National Park Service’s recommendation, had the Everglades removed from a United Nations list of endangered sites.

In 2006, Todd Willens, when he was “assistant Interior Secretary for fish, wildlife and parks,” sought to “remove wolves from the endangered species list in Idaho, Montana and Wyoming.”

[Rocky Barker and Roger Phillips, “Feds to give states control of wolves; Ending endangered species protection could give hunters a shot at predators by 2008,” Idaho Statesman, 12/20/08]

In 2007, when he was a “newly appointed Deputy Assistant Secretary of Interior for Fish and Wildlife and Parks,” Todd Willens led “an effort to downgrade protection for manatees.” Willens “shepherd[ed]” a plan to “‘downlist'” the [Florida] manatee from its… ‘endangered’ status to ‘threatened’ under the Federal Endangered Species Act.”

[Editorial Board, “Stop Stalking Sea Cows,” Palm Beach Post, 04/13/07, and “Manatee Protections to be Cut Under Bush Plan,” The CVN, 04/01/07]

In 2007, Todd Willens “recommended that UNESCO remove the Everglades” from “a United Nations list of endangered sites.” Willens told the U.N. World Heritage Committee “that the National Park Service wanted the Glades taken off the endangered list…. despite a recommendation to the contrary from the Park Service.”

The United Nations “acquiesced to Willens’ request, and the Everglades was removed” from the UN list of endangered sites. Florida Senator Bill Nelson “called a hearing by the Senate Foreign Relations subcommittee… to investigate” Willens’ removal of Everglades from a list of endangered sites.

[John Heilprin, “Everglades Decision Criticized,” Associated Press, 08/03/07, Alex Daugherty, “Official who nixed Everglades from UN endangered-site list gets Trump job,” Miami Herald, 07/11/17, and Editorial, “Highly endangered; Everglades loses a layer of protection,” Bradenton Herald, 08/08/07]

While he worked in George W. Bush’s Interior Department, Todd Willens was accused “of interfering in decisions on protecting endangered species.”

Julie MacDonald resigned from the Interior Department “in May 2007, after Interior’s inspector general found that she may have skewed 11 ESA rules for the benefit of oil and natural gas producers and other industry sectors.” In 2008, “after investigating a Fish and Wildlife review of McDonald’s decisions,” the Government Accountability Office “accused” Willens “of interfering in decisions on protecting endangered species.” Willens “denied the allegation, and left the Interior Department of his [own] accord later in 2008.”

[Derek Sands, “Political tampering with ESA decisions may be more widespread, GAO says,” Inside Energy, 05/26/08, and Alex Daugherty, “Official who nixed Everglades from UN endangered-site list gets Trump job,” Miami Herald, 07/11/17]

Todd Willens lobbied the Department of the Interior immediately after he stopped working for the Department of the Interior.

In 2008 Todd Willens, while at Washington Strategies LLC, lobbied the Department of the Interior on behalf of the City of Gillette, Wyoming and on behalf of the North Central Montana Regional Water Authority.

[City of Gillette, Wyoming 2008 Second Quarter Report, United States Senate Lobbying Disclosure Act Database, accessed 08/28/17, and North Central Montana Regional Water Authority 2008 First Quarter Report, United States Senate Lobbying Disclosure Act Database, accessed 08/28/17]


Political Connections

Todd Willens, since 2001, has donated at least $3,000 to Republican politicians.

[Political Moneyline Search for Todd Willens, CQ, accessed 08/29/17]


Current Activity

  • Feld Entertainment

From 2000 to 2002, Todd Willens was Vice-President of Government Relations for Feld Entertainment, the parent company of Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey circus. Willens is now the Assistant Deputy Secretary of the Interior Department, and from July 18 to September 30, 2017, he was also the Acting Interior Assistant Secretary for Fish, Wildlife and Parks. In this position, he supervised the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

Todd Willens, who has been described as an “Endangered Species Act foe,” from January 2000 to January 2002 was the Vice President of Government Relations for Feld Entertainment, the parent company of Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus. While at Feld Entertainment, Willens “lobbied against animal-welfare rules.” Willens began working in Trump’s Interior Department in July 2017.

[Keturah Hetrick, “Endangered Species Act foe takes top Interior post,” Legistorm, 07/06/17, Legistorm Profile for Todd Willens, accessed 12/18/17, and Department of Interior, Press Release, 07/12/17]

On July 18, 2017, Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke issued a Secretarial Order “to temporarily redelegate authority” for “Assistant Secretary for Fish and Wildlife and Parks to Todd Willens, Assistant Deputy Secretary.” In this capacity, Willens was serving as the Acting Interior Assistant Secretary for Fish, Wildlife and Parks and was responsible for “exercis[ing] secretarial direction and supervision over the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the National Park Service.” According to the order, Willens’ authority as Assistant Secretary for Fish, Wildlife and Parks lasted until September 30, 2017.

[“Order No. 3345, Amendment No. 6,” Department of the Interior accessed via cayuganation.gov, 07/18/17, and “Assistant Secretary for Fish, Wildlife and Parks, Department of the Interior,” Our Public Service, accessed 12/18/17]

After Ringing Bros and Barnum & Bailey closed in May 2017, Feld Entertainment applied for an Endangered Species Permit from the US Fish and Wildlife Service to export fifteen big cats to their original owner in Germany.

After Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey circus closed in May 2017, fifteen of the companies trained big cats—lions, tigers and one leopard, were “awaiting permanent new homes.” Feld Entertainment, Ringling Bros.’ parent company, applied to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) for an Endangered Species Permit, asking USFWS “for permission to send the captive-bred animals back to Germany to their owner and original trainer, Alexander Lacey.”

[Michael Doyle, “Where do the big cats prowl when the circus closes?Energy & Environment, 07/21/17]

“Import and export permits for endangered species are issued by the Division of Management Authority,” which is part of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. The Division of Management Authority “works under the Endangered Species Act to conserve and protect endangered and threatened species and their habitats.”

[Kristin James, “Feld Entertainment applies for permit to send tigers to German circus,” Orlando Weekly, 05/26/17, and “Division of Management Authority,” U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, accessed 12/18/17]

Feld Entertainment’s application said that, if the permit was granted, the animals would be “involved in public exhibition,” upon their return to Germany. The application “kicked off a furious debate,” and most of the comments posted on the Federal Register website “beg[ged] FWS not to grant the permit.”

The application noted that “‘prior to coming to the United States, these animals were involved in public exhibition and education in Europe and they will do so again upon their return to Germany.'” If the animals were returned to Germany, they would “be confined to 215 square feet for every four animals.”

[Michael Doyle, “Where do the big cats prowl when the circus closes?Energy & Environment, 07/21/17]

Feld Entertainment’s application “kicked off a furious debate.” Over 100,000 comments were “posted on the Federal Register website, most begging the FWS not to grant the permit.” If the animals were returned to Germany, they would ” be confined to 215 square feet for every four animals.”

[Emily Atkin, “For Sale: Endangered Tigers. Will Perform for Food,” New Republic, 07/03/17, and Michael Doyle, “Where do the big cats prowl when the circus closes?Energy & Environment, 07/21/17]

On August 18, 2017, while Todd Willens was the Acting Assistant Secretary for Fish, Wildlife and Parks and as such was overseeing the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, USFWS “granted Feld a permit to re-export the big cats.”

On August 18, 2017, shortly after Secretary Zinke had assigned Todd Willens Acting Assistant Secretary for Fish, Wildlife and Parks, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, which was under Willens’ supervision, “granted Feld a permit to re-export the big cats.”

[Michael Doyle, “Feds join inquiry into shooting of Suzy the circus tiger,” Greenwire, 09/12/17]


Financials

According to his 2017 financial disclosure, Willens owns between $1,001 and $15,00 of stock in AMLP-Alerian, an exchange-traded fund made up of energy stocks. Some of the top fund holdings in AMLP-Alerian are Energy Transfer Partners, Enterprise Products Partners, Magellan Midstream Partners, MPLX, Plains All American Pipeline, and Williams Partners.

[Todd Willens, OGE Form, 2017; “AMLP: Top Fund Holdings,” Bloomberg, accessed 03/12/18]

According to his 2017 financial disclosure, in 2016 Willens was paid $3,000 for “Consulting work” for People for Pearce, anti-public lands Congressman Steve Pearce’s campaign.

[Todd Willens, OGE Form, 2017; Home, Pearce for US Congress, accessed 03/12/18]

Financial Disclosure

[Office of Government Ethics]

Department of the Interior salary: $170,000

[Todd D. Willens, ProPublica’s Trump Town, accessed 03/14/18]


Other Information

In 1997, Todd Willens “was among a group of congressional staffers who visited the Mariana Islands on a trip paid by disgraced lobbyist Jack Abramoff.”

[John Heilprin, “Everglades Decision Criticized,” Associated Press, 08/03/07 and Erica Werner, “AP Exclusive: Records suggest Abramoff, Pombo lobbying contacts,” Associated Press, 10/10/06]

Todd Willens is married to Morna Willens, who was Vice President of lobbying firm Glover Park Group and who has lobbied on behalf of Fuels America, “a coalition of organizations committed to protecting America’s Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) and promoting homegrown biofuels.”

[Legistorm Profile for Morna Willens, accessed 08/28/17, and “About,” Fuels America, accessed 08/28/17]

 


Special Interests
Jack Abramoff (Political Extremism)

Willens was part of a "group of congressional staffers who visited the Mariana Islands on a trip paid by disgraced lobbyist Jack Abramoff."

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also connected to:

Ducks Unlimited (Protecting Public Lands)

As a congressional staffer, Willens went on a trip paid for by Ducks Unlimited, the "world's largest and most effective private waterfowl and wetlands conservation organization."

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also connected to:

Safari Club International (Resource Development on Public Lands)

As a congressional staffer, Willens went on a trip paid for by SCI, an organization that has ties to the oil and gas industry and that is "behind the killings of tens of thousands of animals, including those on the brink of extinction.

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also connected to:

American Forest Resource Council (Resource Development on Public Lands)

As a congressional staffer, Willens went on a trip paid for by the American Forest Resource Council, a trade organization for western timber companies that has spent $3.7 million lobbying the federal government.

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also connected to:

Northern California Power Agency (Resource Development on Public Lands)

As a congressional staffer, Willens went on a trip paid for by NCPA, a 16-member not-for-profit agency of publicly owned entities that "operates and maintains a fleet of power plants" and has a "mix of geothermal, hydroelectric, and natural gas resources."

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also connected to:

Chevron (Resource Development on Public Lands)

According to his 2017 financial disclosure, Willens owns between $1,001 and $15,000 of stock in the multinational Chevron Corporation, a conglomerate with oil, natural gas, and LNG production and exploration operations.

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also connected to:

Energy Transfer Partners (Resource Development on Public Lands)

According to his 2017 financial disclosure, Willens owns between $1,001 and $15,00 of stock in AMLP-Alerian, an exchange-traded fund made up of energy stocks. One of the largest stocks in AMLP-Alerian is Energy Transfer Partners.

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also connected to:

Enterprise Products Partners (Resource Development on Public Lands)

According to his 2017 financial disclosure, Willens owns between $1,001 and $15,00 of stock in AMLP-Alerian, an exchange-traded fund made up of energy stocks. One of the largest stocks in AMLP-Alerian is Enterprise Products Partners.

Learn More

also connected to:

MPLX (Resource Development on Public Lands)

According to his 2017 financial disclosure, Willens owns between $1,001 and $15,00 of stock in AMLP-Alerian, an exchange-traded fund made up of energy stocks. One of the largest stocks in AMLP-Alerian is MPLX.

Learn More

also connected to:

Plains All American Pipeline (Resource Development on Public Lands)

According to his 2017 financial disclosure, Willens owns between $1,001 and $15,00 of stock in AMLP-Alerian, an exchange-traded fund made up of energy stocks. One of the largest stocks in AMLP-Alerian is Plains All American Pipeline.

Learn More

also connected to:

Williams Partners (Resource Development on Public Lands)

According to his 2017 financial disclosure, Willens owns between $1,001 and $15,00 of stock in AMLP-Alerian, an exchange-traded fund made up of energy stocks. One of the largest stocks in AMLP-Alerian is Williams Partners.

Learn More

also connected to:

Karen Budd-Falen

Leadership
/
Deputy Solicitor for Parks and Wildlife

Background Information
Previous Employers

Additional Background on Employers of Note:

Karen Budd-Falen’s law firm provides “legal representation regarding endangered species, clean water, private property ownership and use, federal lands, local government involvement, local zoning and property rights, energy law, and other areas of law affecting ranchers, farmers, and other landowners.”  

[“About Us,” Budd-Falen Law Offices LLC, accessed 07/21/17, “Energy Development,” Budd-Falen Law Offices LLC, accessed 07/21/17, and Craig Welch, “Bush switches nation’s tack on protecting species, The Environment and the Presidency,” The Seattle Times, 09/27/04]

Karen “Budd-Falen often loses in court” and “frequently pursues legal arguments, such as her claim that county authority supersedes federal authority over federal land, that collapse in court.”

[Amanda Marcotte, “Karen Budd-Falen, the Bundy family’s lawyer, may be Trump’s pick to manage federal lands,” Salon, 07/18/17]

Karen Budd-Falen “has represented Cliven Bundy in his anti-conservation efforts in the past.”

Her “legal relationship with Cliven Bundy goes back to the early ’90s, when Bundy and other ranchers hired Budd-Falen as their lawyer in their fight to continue grazing cattle on public lands that were designated for preservation in order to protect an endangered species of tortoise.”

[Amanda Marcotte, “Karen Budd-Falen, the Bundy family’s lawyer, may be Trump’s pick to manage federal lands,” Salon, 07/18/17]

Karen Budd-Falen said that “‘the Cliven Bundy situation goes to show how American citizens react when a government has so expanded that it believe that the citizens are subservient to political power.’”

She called the armed standoff between Bundy and the federal government “‘simply a case of the government putting a rancher out of business because the rancher has to prove a negative — the burden is on the rancher while all deference goes to the federal government and the government only has to make allegations to eliminate a family, a business, a community, a way of life.’”

[Michael Bastasch, “Feds accused of ‘intimidation’ and ‘bullying’ ranchers,” Daily Caller, 04/14/14]

Karen Budd-Falen said that she “‘totally get[s]’” what drove Cliven Bundy “to do what he did.” She said, “‘I think you’re going to see more of that because we’re not left with any choice.’”

Budd-Falen also claimed the Bundy standoff was “symptomatic of Washington’s increased hostility towards ranchers.” She explained, “‘The Cliven Bundy situation goes to show how American citizens react when a government has so expanded that it believe that the citizens are subservient to political power… In this case, the federal government claims that it had to remove grazing to protect a species — when in reality, livestock grazing has a miniscule impact (not even a bad impact) on the species.’”

[Angela Lu, “Long Land Battle,” World Magazine, 11/29/14, and Michael Bastasch, “Feds Accused of ‘Intimidation’ and ‘bullying’ Ranchers,” Daily Caller, 04/14/14]

Karen Budd-Falen was the “longtime attorney” of Harvey Frank Robbins, a ranch owner “with a grudge against the government,” who had “been involved in lawsuits and countersuits” with the Bureau of Land Management “over numerous grazing violations.”  

In a case that went all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court, Robbins and Budd-Falen sued BLM staffers “as individuals” for “pressuring” him to “let them use the road through his property,” “invoking RICO, an anti-racketeering law.” Their victory in the case could have “ruined the staffers’ personal finances,” but the U.S. Supreme Court “ruled unanimously against Budd-Falen” and her clients because “the racketeering law wasn’t intended to expose federal employees to extortion charges whenever they push the envelope with regulations.”

[Cat Urbigkit, “Budd-Falen to argue in nation’s highest court,” Pinedale Online, 12/04/06, Ray Ring, “Rebels with a Lost Cause,” High Country News, 12/10/07, Amanda Marcotte, “Karen Budd-Falen, the Bundy family’s lawyer, may be Trump’s pick to manage federal lands,” Salon, 07/18/17, Henry Weinstein, “THE NATION; U.S. agents avoid a racketeering suit; The high court rejects a rancher’s legal strategy against the BLM,” Los Angeles Times, 06/26/07, and United States v. Robbins, Case No. 98-8038, 06/14/99]

Karen Budd-Falen represented Hugh McKeen, an extremist rancher in Catron County, NM, who repeatedly, despite warnings, grazed his cattle in forbidden areas, in violation of his grazing permits.

McKeen, who sued the U.S. Forest after it suspended 25% of his grazing permit due to repeated violations, called the Forest Service “‘our worst enemy’” and wrote, “if you are a rancher or logger, you will understand why the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge near Burns, Oregon, was taken over.” McKeen claimed that the Forest Service “framed” him when they reduced his cattle numbers, and wrote that most of the “rangers I have had in the past 50 years have had evil intentions and are never fired.” McKeen has also compared government regulations to slavery, stating, “‘I think I know how colored people used to feel. I’m a slave and I’m a slave to the federal government.’”

[McKeen v. United States Forest Serv., 615 F.3d 1244, 08/02/10, “Ranchers turn to Livestock Board for help in Gila grazing fight,” Associated Press State & Local Wire, 03/06/04, Hugh McKeen, “Federal government causing chaos [Letter to the Editor],” Silver City Daily Press & Independent, 02/05/16, and Jim Nesbitt, “Harvest of Discontent,” American Cowboy, 05-06/96]

Karen Budd-Falen represented Maynard Alves, a Nevada rancher who complained about livestock from a neighboring ranch trespassing onto his ranch, and claimed that the operators of the neighboring ranch were “‘hiding behind’” Shoshone Indian land rights.

The neighboring ranch was operated by Mary and Carrie Dann, Shoshone Indians who argued that claims against them were invalid because of aboriginal rights. “Tribal leaders” “united behind the Danns, hoping the sisters’ lawsuit would provide the vehicle for re-establishing Shoshone land rights.” “‘These people have taken my livelihood away from me, and I have to stand here and watch with my hands in my pockets,’” said Alves, Budd-Falen’s client. “‘In my opinion, they are hiding behind their lineal ancestry to steal.’”

[Maynard Alves v. United States, Case No. 97-5042, 01/12/98 and Jennifer Warren, “U.S.-INDIAN LAND FEUD HEATS UP,” Los Angeles Times, 09/24/91]

Karen Budd-Falen represented the Mantle family “in their various legal battles with the National Park Service,” including a complaint that the family had been “illegally dumping solid waste on park property.”

The Mantles had “feuded with federal managers for decades over their right to operate their late father Charlie’s 520-acre cattle ranch within the boundaries of Dinosaur National Park,” such as when the Park Service determined that a spring box installed on the property “was an unauthorized water development.”

[Christopher Smith, “Judge Tells Dinosaur Park To Restore Water to Ranch,” The Salt Lake Tribune, 12/16/96]

Karen Budd-Falen represented a group of landowners—including “a wealthy” “majority shareholder in the Texas-based Clajon Production Corp.,” which owned “some 90,000 acres in Carbon and Albany counties in southern Wyoming”—who challenged Wyoming’s allotment of “big-game hunting licenses for landowners.”

Budd-Falen’s clients claimed that Wyoming’s formula for distributing hunting licenses was unfair to landowners and argued to increase the number of licenses issued to landowners. Opponents of the lawsuit claimed it sought to privatize “public wildlife, a move that would jeopardize not just Wyoming’s season, but public hunting everywhere,” because it would reduce the number of licenses available to the public. Public hunting advocates said the lawsuit “might be the most serious threat to the nation’s hunting tradition in recent times.” The Hunters Institute said this case was part of a movement to “end public hunting traditions in this country, turning the sport into the pastime of a wealthy few.” Even a Republican legislator in Wyoming said the lawsuit was so dangerous that “‘every sportsman in the state should be extremely concerned about it.’” The case demonstrated “‘new property-rights agenda’” where groups attempted “to force state and federal governments to compensate property owners for complying with environmental regulations,” arguing that such regulations “are de-facto takings of that property.” The issues touched “everything from wetlands designations to Endangered Species Act rulings, and even common conservation policies.”

[Bob Saile, “Wildlife lawsuit sad sign of times,” The Denver Post, 02/06/94, “Public hunting faces challenge from lawsuit,” The Times-Picayune, 03/06/94, and “Suit challenges state ownership of wildlife,” Associated Press, 08/30/93]

Karen Budd-Falen represented “32 Nevada ranchers who graze livestock where federally protected tortoises roam” and “took the ranchers’ case to the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Salt Lake City after an Interior Department administrative law judge denied their claims in 1995.”

“The ranchers had asked the Interior Department judge to halt the BLM’s grazing moratorium,” claiming that they were excluded from the BLM’s “decision-making process” and that “there is no scientific evidence that livestock grazing hurts tortoises.”

[Keith Rodgers, “Nevada ranchers applaud court ruling,” Las Vegas Review-Journal, 03/20/97]

Karen Budd-Falen, in 2002, represented cattle ranchers in the Mojave Desert who challenged BLM grazing restrictions, which “had been imposed to protect the endangered desert tortoise.”

[Sharon McNary, “Mojave grazing restrictions lifted: CATTLE: The ban, to protect the desert tortoise, is taken off the eastern and northern regions,” Press-Enterprise, 12/21/02]

Karen Budd-Falen, in 2003, represented ranchers in northern Utah, whose grazing permits were challenged by the Western Watersheds Project, an environmental group. Western Watersheds argued that the grazing “has resulted in soil erosion, habitat destruction and degraded water quality in streams.”

[“Group asks federal court to cancel 149 grazing permits in Utah,” Associated Press, 04/03/03]

Karen Budd-Falen was hired by “Tweeti Blancett, a coordinator for George Bush’s presidential campaign in San Juan County, N.M.,” and her husband, Linn, when they “sued to try to force the federal Bureau of Land Management to clean up” the “32,000 acres of public land” the couple “used for grazing cattle” in 2005.

The Blancetts accused the BLM “of failing to protect their grazing allotment from oil and gas drilling,” and said their land had become “riddled with gas wells and pipelines” and “petroleum byproducts have poisoned the water…killing animals and causing the fertility rate to plummet.” Budd-Falen represented the Blancetts again several years later, when they sued the Interior Department, claiming that their property was “put in jeopardy by the BLM’s reliance on an erroneous dependent resurvey.”

[Timothy Egan, “Drilling in West Pits Republican Policy Against Republican Base,” The New York Times, 06/22/05, “Judge dismisses ranchers’ suit on oil and gas rights on BLM land,” Associated Press, 04/14/06, and Blancett et al. v. United States Department of the Interior et al., Case 1:10-cv-00254-JAP-KBM, filed 03/19/10]

Karen Budd-Falen represented a Florida property owner, Jesse James Hardy, who owned “160 acres in the Everglades,” which the state of Florida attempted to take through eminent domain “for the state’s $8 billion Everglades restoration project.”

The Everglades restoration project would restore “a pollution-free water flow” and give “habitat back to the panthers and wading birds.” Hardy, who had paid $60,000 for the land in 1976, had “rejected all offers” from the state for the land, “including one for $4.5 million.” Hardy argued that his property was “not in the Everglades, and the state can do its science experiment without his contribution.” Budd-Falen “hired experts to say that his land was never underwater,” and said that she thought “‘the state just wants the land.’” “‘Sometimes environmentalists are not about protecting the environment, they’re about stopping use,’” she said. “‘Isn’t that what the King of Nottingham did in Robin Hood?’” Hardy lost his case in 2005, and “was given $4.95 million” for the property. Hardy called the Everglades Restoration project “‘the biggest fraud ever put onto the people of the state of Florida, big as the panther is. There ain’t no Florida panther. Those cats are from Texas and I seen the trailers load up,’” he said.

[Roberto Santiago, “State moves to seize land for Glades restoration,” The Miami Herald, 08/31/04, Kelley Benham, “Standing his ground,” St. Petersburg Times, 03/01/05, and Nicholas Spangler, “When $4 million feels like a rip-off,” The Miami Herald, 02/03/06]

Karen Budd-Falen represented the Dayville Grazing Association, which intervened in a lawsuit brought by environmental groups, challenging “grazing on the Murderers Creek and Blue Mountain allotments” in Oregon.

The lawsuit was filed by the Oregon Natural Desert Association and the Center for Biological Diversity, which argued that the grazing was “causing irreparable injury to stream banks and steelhead spawning areas.” The Dayville Grazing Association estimated that their attorneys’ fees could total “hundreds of thousands of dollars.”

[Mark Engler, “Key grazing dispute ruling still pending,” Blue Mountain Eagle, 07/14/04]

Karen Budd-Falen represented “a sprawling Nevada ranch” that, along with the “world’s biggest gold mining company,” “agreed to dramatically reduce livestock grazing across nearly 800 square miles of public land” in a March 2006 settlement.

The conservation group Western Watersheds Project “had asked an Interior Department administrative law judge to ban grazing outright” on the property. Budd-Falen called the settlement “‘a temporary compromise,’” and “said the ranch agreed to the settlement so it could gather evidence to prove next year that the land can sustain grazing at levels the BLM had approved.” A spokesman for Western Watersheds Project said the settlement was “evidence that the grazing levels were unsustainable,” saying, “‘It shows the scamming that has been going on for a long time, giving the big ranchers and big mines whatever they wanted in terms of grazing levels.’”

[Scott Sonner, “Mining company, Nevada ranch reach grazing deal with environmental group,” Associated Press, 03/23/06, and “GRAZING: Mining, Nev. ranching firms reach deal with enviros,” Greenwire, 03/23/06]

Karen Budd-Falen represented a group of off-roaders who “purchased tiny pockets of private land at the top of” Surprise Canyon, near Death Valley in California, and then sued “the federal government for access to their property, arguing that the canyon is a public right of way.”

Five years earlier, “environmentalists successfully sued to get the narrow canyon and its spring-fed waterfalls closed to vehicles, arguing that the federal Bureau of Land Management was not carrying out its duty to protect the land.” Budd-Falen “dusted off a Civil War-era mining law” to argue the off-roaders’ case, which was dismissed by a federal judge in 2007, “citing a lack of jurisdiction.”

[“Calif. off-roading rights case pitting environmentalists against property owners dismissed,” Associated Press, 07/28/07]

Karen Budd-Falen represented “a group of ranchers with cattle grazing permits” who alleged that the U.S. Forest Service violated the Endangered Species Act “by arbitrarily limiting grazing in the” Malheur National Forest in Oregon. Environmental groups alleged that cattle grazing on the lands were harming the steelhead trout population.

[Oregon Natural Desert Ass’n et al v. U.S. Forest Service et al, Case No. 2:07-cv-01871-HA, filed 12/21/07, and Richard Cockle, “Ranchers say a ban on grazing would end their very existence,” The Oregonian, 05/10/09]

Karen Budd-Falen, in 2007, represented “ranchers on the 11 allotments within the” Joseph Creek Rangeland Analysis Area in Oregon when the Center for Water Advocacy challenged their grazing rights.

Budd-Falen argued that her clients would be “irreparably harmed if a restraining order or injunction was imposed and no grazing were allowed.” The Center for Water Advocacy argued that grazing “would adversely impact steelhead habitat, aspen groves, sage grouse habitat, and exotic endangered plants.”

[Corey Wicks, “Judge denies Joseph Creek grazing injunction request,” Wallowa County Chieftain, 04/12/07]

Karen Budd-Falen represented ranchers with the Smithsfork Grazing Association, who “sued the BLM and various government officials” in a challenge to “the federal agency’s 2005 order to reduce grazing on the 91,000-acre Smithsfork Allotment located north and east of Cokeville, in southwestern Wyoming.”

According to the Western Watersheds Project, grazing was “causing major problems with streams in the area that support Bonneville cutthroat trout, a species that the BLM has listed as sensitive.”

[Ben Neary, “Appeals court rules against Wyoming ranchers,” Associated Press, 05/06/09]

Karen Budd-Falen represented a group called Houston County Landowners Concerned About Property Rights, which sued the Minnesota county “in 2010, after four years of unsuccessfully lobbying the county to rewrite portions of its zoning code.”

The group claimed that Houston County had acted “outside of authority provided by the state in denying landowners the right to develop their properties.” “‘Land-use planning cannot go so far as to take private property rights,’” said Budd-Falen.

[Craig Moorhead, “Land-use group threatens to sue Houston County,” Houston County News, 04/07/10 and Nathan Hansen, “Houston County property lawsuit dismissed,” Winona Daily News, 02/11/12]

Karen Budd-Falen has repeatedly clashed with the Western Watersheds Project, an Idaho-based conservation organization, in legal battles.

Budd-Falen represented a group of 15 Wyoming ranchers who brought a “nuisance lawsuit” against “Western Watersheds and its Wyoming project director, Jonathan Ratner, for trespassing” in 2014. The ranchers accused the group’s “members of trespassing on private land to collect water samples” and crossing “onto ranches in Fremont and Lincoln counties more than two dozen times since 2005 to monitor water pollution.” Ratner had “spent a couple years testing pollution levels in water on public lands” and found “that, because of all the cattle grazing in the area, levels of E. coli in Wyoming streams were far higher than federal regulations allowed.” Budd-Falen denied Ratner’s assertion that “the case against him is a blatant attempt to pile legal fees onto Western Watersheds that discourage activism,” saying, “‘It wasn’t about data collection. It was about trespassing on private property.’” However, Budd-Falen reportedly bragged “in 2015 to a group of ranchers that ‘one of the funniest things I’m doing right now’ is that she ‘figured out a way to sue Western Watersheds Project.’” The case was settled in 2016, with no monetary damages imposed against Western Watersheds or Ratner. After she brought the case, Western Watershed’s executive director at the time referred to Budd-Falen as the group’s “‘nemesis.’”

[“WATER POLLUTION: Wyo. ranchers sue stream-monitoring enviros for trespassing,” Greenwire, 06/16/14, Amanda Marcotte, “Karen Budd-Falen, the Bundy family’s lawyer, may be Trump’s pick to manage federal lands,” Salon, 07/18/17, “Settlement reached in Fremont County trespass lawsuit,” Associated Press, 09/10/16, and Jeremy P. Jacobs, “PROPERTY RIGHTS: High-stakes suit pits ranchers against water-sampling greens,” Greenwire, 11/18/14]

Karen Budd-Falen defended rancher Bradford Smith after he and his brother were charged with dumping “garbage, waste, and debris generated on private property” on public land in Moffat County, Colorado.

A spokesperson for the Department of Justice said the ranchers “‘diverted water, to create a ditch from a pond, to an area where they had a flock of sheep,’” which “‘can impact public land in ways that can’t be foreseen.’” He also noted that “said they used heavy equipment to tear up ditches for dumping refuse.” Budd-Falen’s client was convicted of “knowingly and willfully allowing livestock to graze on public land without a permit” and “willfully removing or destroying plants on their parts, soil, rocks or minerals.”

[Erin Fenner, “2 Moffat County residents charged with dumping on BLM land,” Craig Daily Press, 06/24/13, “Two Moffat County Ranchers Indicted For Building Trash Dumps On Public Lan And Illegally Diverting Water,” Department of Justice, Press Release, 06/20/13, and United States v. Smith, Case No. 1:13-cr-00261-REB, 06/18/13]

Karen Budd-Falen represented Andy Johnson, a “southwest Wyoming farmer” who sued the Environmental Protection Agency, in 2015, for what he claimed was “an illegal overreach of its authority.”

Johnson had “a stock pond on his property to provide a watering hole for his cattle,” which the EPA informed him “was in violation of the Clean Water Act.” In January 2014, the EPA sent Johnson a compliance order, “instructing him to remove the stock pond or face $37,500 in fines for every day he refused to do so.” Johnson claimed, “‘when the EPA came into my life, they didn’t just attack me, they attacked our family and our home.’” The case was settled in 2016.

[James Chilton, “Wyoming man files lawsuit against EPA because of stock pond,” Wyoming Tribune-Eagle, 08/28/15, and Pacific Legal Foundation, Press Release, 05/09/16]

Karen Budd-Falen represented a coalition of groups, including the Colorado Cattlemen’s Association, in a case that challenged the Bureau of Land Management’s “ongoing illegal treatment of wild horses residing on public lands” and its plan “to remove wild horses from the West Douglas Herd Area” in Colorado.

[Complaint, Colorado Wild Horse and Burro Coalition, Inc. et al. v. Salazer et al., Case 1:10-cv-01645-RMC, 09/29/10]

Karen Budd-Falen represented Utah ranchers who demanded that “the Bureau of Land Management remove ‘excess’ wild horses from” land near Cedar City, which they claimed was “overrun with free-roaming horses that displace their cattle.” The case was dismissed by a federal judge in July 2017.

[Brian Maffly, “Judge rejects Utah ranchers’ plea to evict wild horses,” The Salt Lake Tribune, 07/13/17, Lindsay Whitehurst, “Judge allows wild-horse lawsuit to move forward,” Associated Press, 04/21/15, and “Karen Budd-Falen – Local Land use Plans & Petitions for Redress of Grievances,” YouTube, 10/25/16 (09:59)]

Karen Budd-Falen, in 1999, submitted an amicus brief in support of the Public Lands Council. In the case, the Council challenged “federal grazing regulations” issued by Interior Secretary Bruce Babbitt; the U.S. Supreme Court ruled unanimously in favor of the Interior Secretary.

Budd-Falen filed the brief on behalf of several groups, including the Arizona & New Mexico Coalition of Counties for Stable Economic Growth, which has been “frequently lumped into the so-called wise-use movement.” The wise use movement is “made up of private property rights, farming, ranching, logging and mining organizations” and is “closely aligned with the militia movement in the West.” Budd-Falen has submitted amicus briefs on behalf of the Arizona & New Mexico Coalition of Counties for Stable Economic Growth on multiple occasions.

[Brief of Amici Curiae Alameda Book Cliff’s Ranch et. al., Public Lands Council v. Bruce Babbitt, 529 US 728 (2000), “Public Lands Council v. Babbitt,” Oyez, accessed 08/09/17, Brief of Amici Curiae Alameda Book Cliff’s Ranch et. al., Public Lands Council v. Bruce Babbitt, 529 US 728 (2000), James Scarantino Testimony, House Resources Committee Subcommittee on Forest and Forest Health, 04/04/00, 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, Brief of Amici Curiae New Mexico Cattle Growers’ Association et. al., Arizona Cattle Growers’ Association v. Salazar et. al., 11/04/10, and Brief of Amicus Curiae of Coalition of Counties, City of Tombstone v. United States of America et. al., 06/18/12]

Karen Budd-Falen, in 2001, “won a ruling from a regional appeals court” in “an important suit” against “critical habitat” designations, “which protect habitat deemed essential to the recovery of endangered species.”

Budd-Falen represented the “New Mexico Cattle Growers Association, the New Mexico Farm and Livestock Bureau and several other groups” who “sued the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service over a critical habitat designation for the southwestern willow flycatcher,” arguing that “the federal government had not properly considered economic impacts.” In the case, “ranchers argued that their livelihoods could be threatened if they were forced to fence cattle out of certain areas, build new stock ponds or remove livestock from federal grazing allotments.” The ruling “ordered the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to consider the economic impacts of its critical habitat designations,” which “worried environmentalists.” Peter Galvin, “a conservation biologist and co-founder of the Tucson-based Center for Biological Diversity,” said that the case prompted concerns “‘that what industry is doing here is attempting to basically turn back the clock on wildlife protections.’”

[Ray Ring, “Property-rights lawyers score one against wild salmon; Court rulings force re-evaluation of endangered fish and habitat in the Northwest,” High Country News, 05/24/04, and “New Mexico endangered species case sparks others,” Associated Press, 08/11/02]

Karen Budd-Falen represented the Nebraska Habitat Conservation Coalition in a federal lawsuit seeking “to overturn a U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service critical habitat designation for an endangered bird,” the piping plover.

Members of the coalition included “23 natural resource, irrigation and power districts, the cities of Lexington and Grand Island, the Nebraska Farm Bureau Federation and Nebraska Cattlemen.”

[Margery Beck, “Coalition files lawsuit over piping plover habitat designation,” Associated Press, 02/15/03]

Karen Budd-Falen represented a developer (Canyon Club Inc.) that was sued by environmental groups while it was “constructing an upscale housing development and championship golf course on ranch land.” The environmental groups argued that the development would have an “adverse impact on bald eagles.”

[Greater Yellowstone Coalition and Jackson Hole Conservation Alliance v. Robert B. Flowers et al., Case No. 03-8034, 03/02/04, Greater Yellowstone Coalition et al. v. Robert B. Flowers et al., Case No. 02-8087, 02/20/03, and Cara Froedge, “River club’s trouble mounts,” Jackson Hole News & Guide, 09/24/08]

Karen Budd-Falen represented “a group of ice fishermen calling itself ‘Save our Snowplanes’” that challenged “a ban on operating snowplanes on Jackson Lake in Grand Teton National Park” in 2005.

Snowplanes, “propeller-driven machines that slide on skis across frozen lakes,” were banned on the lake in 2001 “because they made too much noise” and “were often audible from as far as three or four miles from the lake.” Budd-Falen lost the case in 2009, when the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled the Save Our Snowplanes “lacked standing to appeal the National Park Service’s ban on the machines” because the group “had challenged the Park Service’s 2001 winter use plan after the plan was no longer in effect and had been replaced by another rule.”

[Ben Neary, “Appeals court says snowplane group has no case,” Associated Press, 06/04/09]

In 2011, Karen Budd-Falen filed an amici brief in support of BLM rules, “first proposed by the grazing industry,” that “put restrictions on the BLM’s enforcement powers and limited public involvement in the public-lands management process.”

The Nevada Land Action Association, one of the amici represented on Budd-Falen’s brief, has, in the past, asked Congress to investigate the BLM, claiming that the Interior Department attempted “to ‘usurp’ the powers of Congress” and was depriving “‘Americans of freedom, rights and property value without due process of law.’”

[Western Watersheds Project v. Public Lands Council, Case Nos. 08-35359, 08-35360, 09/01/10, and Ian Thomas, “9th Circ. Refuses To Rehear Grazing Rights Appeal,” Law360, 01/19/11, Brief of Amici Curiae Eureka County et. al., Public Lands Council v. Western Watersheds Project, 05/19/11, J. Goicoechea, “NLAA Dues Notice Letter,” The Progressive Rancher, July/August 2015, and Page 15, Reno Gazette-Journal, 01/17/77]

Karen Budd-Falen represented several organizations—including the New Mexico Trappers Association, New Mexico Farm & Livestock Bureau, and United Sportsmen for Fish and Wildlife—in a case that challenged “trapping within the occupied range of the critically endangered Mexican gray wolf” in New Mexico.

[Gavin Broady, “Enviro Group Loses Challenge To NM Wolf Trapping Regs,” Law 360, 12/05/12, Rene Romo, “Magistrate Tosses Trapping Lawsuit; Group: Species Act Was Violated,” Albuquerque Journal, 12/05/12, WildEarth Guardians v. Kirkpatrick et al, 1:12-cv-00118-JCH-SCY, filed 02/07/12, Complaint, WildEarth Guardians v. Kirkpatrick et al, 1:12-cv-00118-JCH-SCY, filed 02/07/12, Motion to Intervene, WildEarth Guardians v. Kirkpatrick et al, 1:12-cv-00118-JCH-SCY, filed 02/07/12, WildEarth Guardians v. United States Forest Service, 1:07-cv-01043-JB-ACT, filed 10/17/07 and “Environmentalists Join Forces: The new group is called WildEarth Guardians,” WildEarth Guardians, 01/28/08]

Karen Budd-Falen defended Andrew VanDenBerg, who was sued by the federal government after building a “one-mile road built across federal property in San Juan County,” Colorado.

VanDenBerg “used mechanical equipment to construct the road to his mining claim across” BLM land, and “removed top soil, vegetation and hundreds of trees ‘creating an unnatural corridor from 10 to 20 feet wide,’ in a winter foraging habitat for Canada lynx, which is a federally designated threatened species.” VanDenBerg settled the case and agreed to pay “$80,000 in order to remove and mitigate his work.” Budd-Falen claimed that VanDenBerg was “vilified by a press release issued by the Colorado U.S. Attorney’s Office (part of the U.S. Justice Department).”

[United States v. VanDenBerg, Case 1:11-cv-02042-WYD-BNB, filed 08/05/11, “Telluride man to pay $80,000 to remove wilderness road,” The Denver Post, 06/20/12, and Karen Budd-Falen, “Power of the Bureaucracy to Stop Private Property Access,” Wyoming Livestock Roundup, accessed 08/14/17]

Karen Budd-Falen represented the New Mexico Off-Highway Vehicle Alliance when it repeatedly attempted to challenge “a plan that reduced the number of roads and trails available to off-road vehicles in Santa Fe National Forest.”

Although conservationists said the plan protected “more than 400,000 acres of land and wildlife,” Budd-Falen’s clients sought “to loosen the rules” on off-road vehicle use. A federal judge ruled against Budd-Falen’s clients in 2014, saying the group “did not have a persuasive enough argument.” In 2017, the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that “the New Mexico Off-Highway Vehicle Alliance didn’t have a legal basis to sue” and challenge the plan for a second time.

[Holbrook Mohr and Garance Burke, “Gorsuch willing to limit environmental groups in land cases,” Associated Press, 03/05/17 and “Santa Fe forest travel plan upheld by court,” Associated Press, 07/27/14, and “Appeal rejected in off-road vehicles case on forest use,” Associated Press, 04/27/16 and Michael Phillis, “10th Circ. Again Nixes Challenge To Santa Fe Park Rules,” Law360, 07/24/17]

Karen Budd-Falen filed an amicus brief on behalf of the New Mexico Cattle Growers’ Association in a lawsuit challenging “the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s (FWS) designation of critical habitat for the Mexican Spotted Owl.”

[Arizona Cattle Growers Association v. Ken Salazar et al., Case No. 08-15810, 06/04/10, Brief of Amicus Curiae New Mexico Cattle Growers’ Association, Arizona Cattle Growers’ Association v. Kempthorne et. al., 07/25/08, Brief of Amici Curiae New Mexico Cattle Growers’ Association et. al., Arizona Cattle Growers’ Association v. Salazar et. al., 11/04/10, and “9th Circuit upholds habitat designation for Mexican spotted owl,” Greenwire, 06/07/10]

Karen Budd-Falen represented Anniversary Mining Claims LLC in a lawsuit against the federal government. Anniversary Mining sued to use a road on federal public lands “for the use of commercial vehicles to transport minerals.” The lawsuit was dismissed.

[Anniversary Mining Claims LLC v. United States, Case No. 2:16-CV-932 JCM (GWF), 02/14/17]

Karen Budd-Falen argued, in an amicus brief in support of People for the Ethical Treatment of Property Owners, that the Endangered Species Act (ESA) should not apply to species within the boundaries of a state.

Budd-Falen argued that the federal government had “no constitutional authority to regulate the taking of Utah prairie dogs” because the species “resides entirely within the boundaries of the State of Utah.” Such a change would gut the ESA; the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled against Budd-Falen, saying that “bans on the unauthorized destruction of threatened or endangered wildlife is a ‘cornerstone’ of the Endangered Species Act.”

[People for the Ethical Treatment of Property Owners v. United States Fish & Wildlife Service et al., Case No. 2013-cv-00278-DB (2015), Brady McCombs, “Burrowing prairie dogs again a concern after ruling,” Associated Press, 03/30/17, Brian Maffly, “Court ruling preserves federal protections for Utah’s prairie dogs — though some shooting still allowed,” The Salt Lake Tribune, 03/30/17, and Brief of Amici Curiae Wyoming Association of Conservation Districts et. al., , People for the Ethical Treatment of Property Owners V. United States Fish & Wildlife Service et al, 05/22/15] 

Karen Budd-Falen is “one of the most prominent figures in the county supremacy movement’s legal efforts” and has “written extensively on what she believes is the legal basis for the county supremacy movement and provided her services in representing counties in several cases.”

Budd-Falen promotes “the theory that federal laws should take into account the ‘custom and culture’” of local areas and helps counties “codify what its custom and culture is so that the federal government can defer to the counties and allow them to make policy according to that definition.”

[Jacqueline Vaughn Switzer, “The History and Politics of Environmental Opposition in the US,” Lynne Rienner Publishers, 1997]

In the 1990s, Karen Budd-Falen “helped draft” ordinances passed by county officials in Catron County, N.M, “declaring federal powers subservient to county ‘custom and culture’ – meaning grazing and logging.”

Under the ordinances, “federal employees who did not cooperate could be arrested.” The ordinances were passed in response to a 1989 logging ban intended “to protect the Mexican spotted owl.”

After drafting the Catron County ordinances, Karen Budd-Falen went “from state to state,” inciting “county residents to stand up for their rights” and advocating for the adoption of land-use plans like Catron County’s. By 1994, “more than 40 counties in several states” had passed Catron-based land use plans, “often using a guidebook Catron leaders [were] marketing.” 

[Dan Meyers, “Anger Is Rising In A Western Turf War Ranchers And Others, United In Outrage, Challenge Federal Control. How Far Will The Battle Go?,” Philadelphia Inquirer, 05/19/94, and Candace Burns, “N.M. Land Use Model Confuses Officials, Environmentalists,” Post Register, 04/01/93]

Karen Budd-Falen defended the Catron County Board of Commissioners when it was sued by environmental group WildEarth Guardians over a 2007 “ordinance regarding endangered Mexican gray wolves.”

WildEarth Guardians complained that the ordinance authorized “county officials to kill or otherwise injure federally protected Mexican gray wolves,” in violation of the Endangered Species Act. A federal judge ruled that “the group’s claims were moot since the county had already amended the ordinance to remove provisions that authorized county officials to take action against wolves that were deemed to be threats to people.”

[WildEarth Guardians et al v. Board of County Commissioners, 6:07-cv-00710-MV-WDS, filed 07/25/07, and Susan Montoya Bryan, “NM judge rules on Mexican gray wolf ordinance,” Associated Press, 10/02/08]

Karen Budd-Falen represented the Catron County Board of Commissioners in 2013, when the county filed a lawsuit against the U.S. Forest Service over road access.

[Catron County v. United States et al., Case No. 2:12-cv-00237-MV-WPL, 03/27/13]

Karen Budd-Falen, in 1995, represented county commissioners in Boundary County, Idaho, after they passed ordinances asserting “county control over federal land within the county.”

Budd-Falen claimed that the county was “simply asserting its authority, granted to it by congressional law and federal regulation, to participate in development of federal agency land use plans.”

[Karen Budd-Falen, “Turnabout: Federal law gives Boundary Country role to play [Opinion],” Lewiston Morning Tribune, 04/30/95]

Karen Budd-Falen, in 1998, “helped write land-use plans and worked with local governments interested in adopting them” in multiple counties in Arkansas. She claimed that “the plans do not restrict the powers of the federal government but help ‘facilitate the relationship between the county and the federal government.’”

[“Property-rights activists persuade counties to adopt land-use policies,” Associated Press, 12/08/98]

Karen Budd-Falen represented “Kane and Garfield counties in southern Utah” in a challenge to “the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument’s policies on grazing in the 1.9 million-acre reserve.”

The lawsuit targeted “a long-held practice by environmental groups of buying up grazing permits from ranchers and then not using them, or asking that the BLM permanently ‘retire’ them.” Budd-Falen also represented individual ranchers in the case, including Trevor Stewart, the son-in-law of Utah State Rep. Mike Noel, who “helped procure” $50,000 from the State of Utah for the counties to fund the lawsuit. Although the $50,000 grant was initially denied by the “Permanent Community Impact Board Fund, which distributes mineral-lease royalties collected from oil, gas and coal production on federal lands,” “board members agreed the counties’ cause was ‘worthy’ and directed the counties to submit a proposal for ‘alternate eligible projects of roughly the same dollar value.’” The board approved $25,000 grants to each of the two counties; the “manager of the fund” “said the board had been under some pressure from the 2003 Legislature, which passed intent language in the appropriations bill,” written by Mike Noel, “suggesting the board grant $50,000 to Garfield and Kane counties.” A Garfield County commissioner claimed that public money paid to Budd-Falen for her work on the lawsuit was “for the public good, to preserve the rural economy.”

[Donna Kemp Spangler, “The BLM’s cow wars,” Deseret News, 03/08/03, “Two counties use state funds for individuals’ grazing permit lawsuits,” Associated Press, 11/23/03, Felicity Barringer, “A Strategy to Restore Western Grasslands Meets With Local Resistance,” The New York Times, 12/01/05]

Karen Budd-Falen represented Skagit County, Washington, in a lawsuit brought by the Swinomish Indian Tribal Community.

The tribe alleged that the county “violated the Clean Water Act (CWA) and the Endangered Species Act (ESA) by their construction of three tidegates in the Skagit River delta.” The county “admitted that they discharged fill or dredged materials into federal waters” without the necessary permit, and the court found that it “violated the ESA because the tidegate resulted in harm to threatened chinook salmon.” The Swinomish Tribe had “treaty rights to Skagit salmon” and had “been battling the county in court on behalf of the salmon for more than a decade.” The Skagit River was “the only river in Washington with healthy populations of all five native salmon species as well as steelhead trout.”

[Swinomish Indian Tribal Community v. Skagit County Dike District No. 22 Case No. C07-1348RAJ, 09/05/08, and Lynda V. Mapes, “Raising taxes to save the salmon?” The Seattle Times, 03/23/07]

Karen Budd-Falen filed an amicus brief in support of the City of Tombstone, Arizona, in a case that became “ground zero in a rekindled Sagebrush Rebellion.”

The city claimed that it had “a right of way to access the Coronado National Forest to repair municipal water lines damaged by floods” and a fire. The U.S. Forest Service “balked at” issuing “Tombstone a permit to use heavy construction equipment to fix the pipeline.” The city took “the feds to court,” “with the conservative Goldwater Institute taking on Tombstone’s legal work,” and argued that it “shouldn’t have to ask anyone for permission to maintain its own water line.” Utah State Rep. and American Lands Council founder Ken Ivory also supported Tombstone in the legal dispute, saying that “the conflict playing out in Tombstone is an example of the Forest Service dictating to, rather than working with, local government officials.”

[“Summary Judgment Grants Against City’s Claims to Access Water Lines,” Lexis Legal News, 06/17/15, Ann O’Neill, “Spotted owl could be game-changer in Tombstone water war,” CNN, 06/09/12, Jeff Glor, “Locals duel with feds in Wild West city of Tombstone,” CBS News, 06/15/12, Brief Amicus Curiae of Coalition of Counties, City of Tombstone v. United States of America et. al., 06/18/12, Brief Amicus Curiae of Coalition Of Arizona/New Mexico Counties for Stable Economic Growth, City of Tombstone v. United States of America et. al., 03/29/13, and Ann O’Neill, “Spotted owl could be game-changer in Tombstone water war,” CNN, 06/09/12]

Karen Budd-Falen, in 2013, was hired by Ravalli County, Montana, “to challenge the Bitterroot National Forest Service’s filings for new water rights on headwater streams.”

The State of Montana had previously “denied all their objections due to a lack of standing.” The county commission “voted unanimously to accept up to $1,500 in private funds to hire the Wyoming-based Budd-Falen Law Offices as a consultant,” after Karen Budd-Falen had called Commissioner Ron Stolz, claiming that her law firm “had received phone calls from some Ravalli County residents who said they were willing to pay for the firm’s services if the County” hired them. Budd-Falen informed the county that her hourly billable rate is $250/hour.

[Perry Backus, “Ravalli County to hire out-of-state water rights attorney,” Ravalli Republic, 11/20/13 Michael Howell, “County hires Wyoming attorney, private citizen pays,” Bitterroot Star, 11/25/13, and Karen Budd-Falen, “Retention of Legal Services of Budd-Falen Law Offices, LLC,” Budd-Falen Law Offices, 11/05/13]

Karen Budd-Falen helped draft a land use plan for Curry County, New Mexico, which was tabled in September 2016. Budd-Falen worked with Y2 Consultants on the plan, which had a $40,000 contract with the county.

[Kevin Wilson, “Groundwork laid on land use policy,” Clovis News Journal, 03/16/16 and Douglas Clark, “County votes to table land use plan,” Clovis News Journal, 09/21/16]

Karen Budd-Falen, spoke to a group of “landowners negotiating with pipeline companies” in Stanley, North Dakota, in April 2016, as well as to “a group of county commissioners and other community leaders about how locally elected officials can influence federal energy decisions.”

Budd-Falen “encouraged local government to get involved using the National Environmental Policy Act. ‘As a cooperating agency, you get to help shape the decision,’” she said.

[Amy Dalrymple, “Wyoming attorney urges Bakken landowners to organize on energy issues,” Duluth News Tribune, 04/04/16]

Karen Budd-Falen’s law firm represented the State of Montana in a lawsuit where it, with the State of Wyoming, sued “the Interior Department (DOI) over a final rule to reduce venting and flaring from oil and gas operations on public and tribal lands.”

The rule updated “30-year old regulations” to “help curb waste of public resources, reduce harmful methane emissions, and provide a fair return on public resources for federal taxpayers, tribes and states.” In the lawsuit, which was filed in November 2016, “the states derided the methane rules promulgated by the DOI and its Bureau of Land Management (BLM) as a ‘blatant attempt by a land management agency to impose air quality regulations on existing oil and gas operations under the guise of waste prevention.’”

[State of Wyoming et. Al. v. United States Department of the Interior et. al., Case No. 2:16-cv-00285-SWS and Charlie Passut, “Montana, Wyoming Sue BLM Over Venting/Flaring Final Rule,” NGI’s Shale Daily, 11/22/16, and U.S. Department of the Interior, Press Release, 11/15/16]


Political Connections

Karen Budd-Falen, since 2002, has contributed $3,296 to conservative candidates and causes, including “Tea Party favorite” Cindy Hill and Wyoming Governor Matt Mead.

[Political Moneyline Search for Karen Budd-Falen, CQ, accessed 05/05/17, National Institute for Money in State Politics Search for Karen Budd-Falen, accessed 05/05/17, and John Celock, “Cindy Hill, Demoted Wyoming Education Chief, Requests Budget Increase Of Almost $4 Million,” Huffington Post, 02/08/13]


Current Activity

Residents of Ravalli County, Montana don’t want Karen Budd-Falen to speak before their county commission because she has advocated for “major changes to federal authority on public lands.”

Montana Representative Theresa Manzella is trying to bring Karen Budd-Falen to Hamilton, Montana, “to discuss land use policies,” and specifically “to make a four-hour presentation to the Ravalli County Commission on ways to ‘add teeth’ to the Bitterroot Valley Natural Resource Use Plan.” However, “about a dozen Ravalli County residents” have spoken out against Budd-Falen presenting before the commission because she has “pushed for major changes to federal authority on public lands.”

[Eve Byron, “Controversial land use attorney invitation sparks protests,” Missoulian, 11/02/17]


Other Information

Karen Budd-Falen serves on the Wyoming Water Development Commission; her term expires in March 2021. She was appointed to the position, which requires confirmation by the Wyoming Senate, in 2012, and was reappointed to the board in 2017.

[Karen Budd-Falen, Truth in Testimony Form, 10/29/13, “Senate Confirmation Boards 2017,” accessed 08/02/17, and “Directory,” Wyoming Water Development Commission, accessed 07/31/17]

Karen Budd-Falen is on the Board of Trustees of the Wyoming Natural Resource Foundation, which describes itself as “a 501(c)(3) organization dedicated to conserving Wyoming’s natural resources, heritage, and culture.”

[“Board of Trustees,” Wyoming Natural Resources Foundation, accessed 07/31/17, and “About WNRF,” Wyoming Natural Resources Foundation, accessed 07/31/17]

Karen Budd-Falen was a member of Donald Trump’s Interior Department transition team.

[Dean Scott, Rebecca Kern, and Renee Schoof, “Trump Transition Adds More EPA, Energy Advisers to Team,” Bloomberg, 12/12/16]

Karen Budd-Falen was the attorney for the Cheyenne-based Spirit of Freedom Institute, whose director thought it “was politically targeted during the 33 months it took the Internal Revenue Service to give it tax-exempt status.”

[Laura Hancock, “Cheyenne group says it was politically targeted by IRS,” Casper Star-Tribune, 03/19/14]

Karen Budd-Falen believes that “‘the basis for every freedom is property rights.’” She says she decided to become a property rights attorney “over ranch grazing in Wyoming,” where the “federal government owned 75 percent of the land near her family’s ranch.”

She claimed that the National Environmental Protection Act “stopped her family from doing important work on their land, such as building fences” and said Washington was trying to “‘take away land that’s been used by a family for generations.'”

[Clay Schuld, “Property rights attorney speaks on lawsuit,” Houston County News, 03/21/12, “N.M. residents help feds assess environment act,” Albuquerque Tribune, 08/02/05, and Timothy Egan, “Wingtip ‘Cowboys’ in Last Stand To Hold On to Low Grazing Fees,” The New York Times, 10/29/93]

Karen Budd-Falen authored research, first published in 2009, which looked at “litigation filed by environmental organizations and the amount of attorneys’ fees these groups have received from the federal government for these cases,” specifically highlighting payments from the Equal Access to Justice Act.

The research, which was funded by the Western Legacy Alliance, was cited by Republican members of the Congressional Western Caucus to claim “that environmental groups have used the Equal Access to Justice Act to win back millions of dollars in attorney fees for lawsuits filed against the Forest Service and other federal agencies.” In 2012, Budd-Falen claimed “that environmental groups have amassed hundreds of millions of dollars in EAJA awards.” Environmental groups said Budd-Falen’s work was “spurious and greatly misrepresents the share of funding they receive under the act and a similar program called the Justice Fund.”

The Western Legacy Alliance (WLA), which funded Karen Budd-Falen’s “spurious” research on the Equal Access to Justice Act, is an Idaho-based group that was formed in response to lawsuits from “radical environmental groups.” WLA believes that “ranchers are simply on the receiving end and it is time to stand up and fight” and has compared grazing regulations to “the mafia’s ‘protection program.’” Budd-Falen has also submitted an amicus brief on WLA’s behalf. WLA has referred to environmental groups receiving payments through the Equal Access to Justice Act process as “radical environmental groups extort[ing] taxpayer money from the federal government disguised as ‘reimbursement for attorneys fees,'” and has asked Congress to investigate the “‘apparent abuse of EAJA by certain organizations.'”

[Karen Budd-Falen, “Environmental Litigation Gravy Train,” Memorandum, Budd-Falen Law Offices, 09/15/09, Phil Taylor, “Lawsuit abuse charge by Western lawmakers enrages enviros,” E&E News, 11/19/09, William Perry Pendley, “Equal Access To Justice Act Is Neither Equal Nor Just: Environmental Groups Get Paid Off And File More Lawsuits; Meanwhile Private Citizens Battle For Years For Their Fees,” Mountain States Legal Foundation, 09/15/12, Western Legacy Alliance, “El Paso Corp./Ruby Pipeline Unwittingly Funds Demise of United States Ranchers Through Extortion Masterminded by Western Watersheds Project, Jon Marvel and Oregon Natural Desert Association,” Pinedale Online, August 2010, and Brief of Amici Curiae New Mexico Cattle Growers’ Association et. al., Arizona Cattle Growers’ Association v. Salazar et. al., 11/04/10]

Although she is an outspoken critic of Equal Access to Justice Act payments made to environmental groups, Karen Budd-Falen has been awarded nearly half a million dollars for attorney fees in cases against government agencies through the program, including “$100,000 from a single lawsuit fee return” in 2011.

Budd-Falen claims the EAJA “has been hijacked by very radical, what they call environmentalists, but who are really not because they don’t care at all about the environment, they simply care about making more money” and said, in 2013, that she had received attorney’s fees under the Equal Access to Justice Act “five times in 22 years.” Budd-Falen has also represented clients who attempted to have attorney’s fees reimbursed through the Equal Access to Justice Act.

[“Karen Budd-Falen Discusses EAJA,” Defend Rural America Radio Show, 6/20/13 (15:10), Karen Budd-Falen, Truth in Testimony Form, 10/29/13, and Kieran Suckling, “The Endangered Species Act: How Litigation is Costing Jobs and Impeding True Recovery Efforts,” Hearing of the House Natural Resources Committee, 12/06/11, “Karen Budd-Falen interview on Walls in our Minds,” Dr. Kate’s Radio Revolution, 01/13/12 (6:05), Karen Budd-Falen, “Another Federal Government Cover-up?,” 05/29/13, Shooting Star Ranch LLC v. United States, Case No. 99-1197, 10/17/00, and United States v. Robbins, Case No. 98-8038, 06/14/99]

Karen Budd-Falen, at a 1997 House Natural Resources Committee hearing, argued that the U.S. Forest Service should “eliminate the forest-wide standards and guidelines” on livestock grazing known as Uniform Action Guidelines and, instead, issue grazing allotments based “on an allotment-by-allotment basis or stream reach-by-stream reach basis.” She claimed that Uniform Action Guidelines may violate the civil rights of ranchers and suggested that a preference to graze on an allotment on public lands may constitute a “property interest.”  

[“Livestock Grazing,” Oversight hearing before the Subcommittee on Forest and Forest Health on the Committee on Natural Resources, US House of Representatives, 04/08/97]

Karen Budd-Falen “was instrumental in drafting the original Grazing Improvement Act,” which was introduced by Sen. John Barrasso (R-WY) in 2011. Budd-Falen said the bill’s “most important element” was “that grazing permittees could appeal BLM and FS decisions through the Administrative Procedures Act.”

[“Caren Cowan: Senate grazing act spells disaster,” Deming Headlight, 01/20/14 and Sen. John Barrasso, Press Release, 05/31/11]

Karen Budd-Falen accused the federal government of waging “a full scale war” on private landowners, saying it was “no wonder that so many injured individuals mistrust the federal government.”

[Karen Budd-Falen, “Power of the Bureaucracy to Stop Private Property Access,” Wyoming Livestock Roundup, 05/18/16]

Karen Budd-Falen believes that the federal government—an “all-powerful, unelected, unaccountable bureaucracy”—has “set up a dictatorship over some of the private citizens who actually employ them.”

[Karen Budd-Falen Testimony, House Natural Resources Committee Hearing, 10/29/13 (36:25)]

Karen Budd-Falen believes that the federal government and environmental groups are engaging in “rural cleansing.”

She wrote that “rural cleansing” occurs “as those who rely on the use of their property are forced to relinquish their rights and move to more urban settings in search of jobs.” She believes that “rural cleansing” is happening because “people are easier to control in large metropolitan areas than we are scattered out throughout the country.”

[“Federal Bullying and Rural Cleansing,” YouTube, 12/16/13 (16:35 and 18:35), and Karen Budd-Falen, “Federal Government Bullying and Rural Cleansing,” Wyoming Livestock Roundup, accessed 07/27/17]

Karen Budd-Falen said, “I don’t know that I’ve ever seen final figures on how they want to do this, but there’s just a million different ways to lock up land. They do it through wilderness area legislation or the president creates some sort of an Antiquities Act area, or you have a smart growth area…. One of the things I think is fairly brilliant about this project is they’re not trying to eat the entire apple at once. But they get control a little bit at a time, and a little bit at a time, and it’s sort of like boiling a frog.”

[“Karen Budd-Falen Land Grab,”  iSpy on Salem, 06/25/11, accessed via Archive.org, (13:30)]

Karen Budd-Falen believes that rural communities and ranchers are “under attack by radical environmental groups and overzealous federal regulators.” She claimed that farmers “are generally outmatched in terms of time and money in” environmental litigation, saying, “‘It really is like David and Goliath, with two Goliaths instead of one,’” presumably referring to environmentalists and the federal government.

[Karen Budd-Falen, “Re: Leveling the Playing Field: Support for the Grazing Improvement Act of 2011,” Memorandum, 05/23/11, and “Central Oregon irrigators face tricky negotiations after legal victory,” Herald and News, 04/12/16]

Karen Budd-Falen said, at a rally protesting the Bureau of Land Management, “‘There’s no question we are in a war and if we don’t stand up and be counted, we’re going to lose that war.’”

At a Constitutional Sheriffs event, Karen Budd-Falen said, “We may not be on a ship crossing the Pacific like my dad was, and we may not be veterans like this gentleman who sang the Star Spangled Banner was, but we’re veterans now. Because we’re veterans of a war that if we don’t win, our kids have nowhere to go.”

[Mike Stark, “Ranchers rally at BLM office,” Billings Gazette, 11/11/03, and “Alturas Sheriffs Panel, Karen Budd-Falen,” YouTube, 08/16/12 (44:50)]

Karen Budd-Falen has voiced opposition to the “silly” Federal Land Policy and Management Act (FLPMA), which established “public land policy” and “guidelines for the administration, management, protection, development, and enhancement of public lands.” Budd-Falen said that, when she was in high school, her father, who was “really cool,” “went to DC several times to oppose FLPMA.”

[“Federal Land Policy and Management Act (FLPMA),” Office of Indian Energy and Economic Development, accessed 07/27/17 and “Karen Budd-Falen – Local Land use Plans & Petitions for Redress of Grievances,” Washington County on YouTube, 10/25/16]

Karen Budd-Falen is an outspoken critic of the Endangered Species Act, which she called “a threat to private property use, working ranch families and resource and job providers” that “is used as a sword to tear down the American economy, drive up food, energy and housing costs and wear down and take out rural communities and counties.”

Budd-Falen believes “that there are significant flaws in the Act and loopholes that should be closed” and thinks that the Act’s “‘process and litigation are not about saving species; it is about spending American taxpayer money.’” Budd-Falen also warned that the Obama Administration would increase the act’s scope: “‘It will be more designations and bigger designations,’ she said.”

[Karen Budd-Falen, “The Endangered Species Act: How Litigation is Costing Jobs and Impeding True Recovery Efforts,” Hearing of the Committee on Natural Resources, 12/06/11, Shar Porier, “Endangered species listing process wastes taxpayer cash, attorney says,” The Arizona Range News, 03/9/11, and Mateusz Perkowski, “Analysis: Ranchers fear expanding scope of ESA [Opinion],” Blue Mountain Eagle, 04/09/13]

Karen Budd-Falen, in congressional testimony from 2011, claimed she does “not advocate the complete repeal of the” Endangered Species Act. However, in a 2016 speech, Budd-Falen said she “would repeal the ESA in a heartbeat.”

[Karen Budd-Falen, “The Endangered Species Act: How Litigation is Costing Jobs and Impeding True Recovery Efforts,” Hearing of the Committee on Natural Resources, 12/06/11, and “Liberty Summit 2016 Episode 4,” The Cavalry Group on Vimeo, 09/21/16] (14:40)]

Karen Budd-Falen complained that there are “600 foreign species on the American [Endangered Species Act] that have never set one wing, one toe, or one hop in the US. Animals in Africa,” including “animals in countries that hate us.” She added, “How in the heck did we decide that we need to protect a species in countries that don’t even like us? I think it’s dumb enough to buy oil from people who don’t like us.”

[“Alturas Sheriffs Panel, Karen Budd-Falen,” YouTube, 08/16/12 (24:00)]

When asked if the Endangered Species Act would “inevitably lead to the destruction of the progress we’ve made in this country,” Karen Budd-Falen replied, “I think that is fair.”

She added that the ESA is a “land-grab and human control issue.”

[“Karen Budd-Falen on ‘Walls in our Minds,'” 01/27/12 (13:40)]

Karen Budd-Falen has repeatedly insulted the environmental groups she has had legal battles with over the years. She called Wild Earth Guardians “a terrible environmental group” and said Center for Biological Diversity was made up of “the scariest people on the planet who live in a compound” who don’t care about protecting wildlife, but only care about “getting those farmers off of their land.”

She claimed that Center for Biological Diversity’s goal is “population control and that kind of thing. It wouldn’t just be turning the land back to the Native Americans, it is getting rid of people.” Budd-Falen described Western Watersheds Project as “an environmental group that I have to deal with” that “really hates livestock grazing” and “has two goals—both of them are to eliminate livestock grazing.”

[“Liberty Summit 2016 Episode 4,” The Cavalry Group on Vimeo, 09/21/16 (14:40), “Alturas Sheriffs Panel, Karen Budd-Falen,” YouTube, 08/16/12 (22:40), “Karen Budd-Falen Discusses EAJA,” Defend Rural America Radio Show, 06/20/13 (37:10), “Liberty Summit 2016 Episode 4,” The Cavalry Group on Vimeo, 09/21/16 (07:20), and “June 28 RDC Annual Meeting: Karen Budd-Falen,” Resource Development Council on Vimeo, 06/28/11 (07:55)]

Karen Budd-Falen claimed that environmental groups were able to convince the Obama Administration “that because they represent a ‘special class of voiceless victims,’ you know, like rocks and trees and worms and stuff, and because environmental law is such a specialty, that they should get paid $775/hour.”

She also said, “When the federal government pays these groups, what they’re paying for is litigation regarding bugs and birds and squirrels, and, you know, little creatures that we don’t care about.”

[“Alturas Sheriffs Panel, Karen Budd-Falen,” YouTube, 08/16/12 (11:35 and 15:35)]

Karen Budd-Falen said, during the Obama Administration, that U.S. global warming policy was “not based on scientific data, but on procedural statutes and payment of millions of dollars in attorney fees.”

[Karen Budd-Falen, “Environmental groups milking climate change [Opinion],” Capital Press, 12/31/09]

Karen Budd-Falen “argued that citizens should have the opportunity to sue individual federal employees, similar to how state and local government employees can be sued under the Civil Rights Act.”

Karen Budd-Falen, at a 2013 meeting of the Natural Resources Subcommittee on Public Lands and Environmental Regulation, “argued that citizens should have the opportunity to sue individual federal employees, similar to how state and local government employees can be sued under the Civil Rights Act. ‘While some may claim that we are here to ask Congress to eliminate the federal bureaucracy or the federal agencies, we are not,’ she said. ‘What we are asking for you to do is open the courthouse door to individuals who believe that their civil and constitutional rights are being violated by individual federal employees, using the power of their offices.’”

[Phil Taylor, “PUBLIC LANDS: Federal bullying or ‘mini sagebrush rebellions’? Panel hears out ranchers,” E&E News, 10/30/13]

Karen Budd-Falen called the “citizen lawsuit” provision, which “allows environmental activist groups to sue energy companies and other businesses which they claim have violated environmental regulations,” “‘the environmental law equivalent of ambulance chasing.’”

[Michael P. Tremoglie, “Environmental ‘citizen lawsuits’ are equivalent to ambulance chasing, critic says,” Legal News Line, 07/10/12]

Karen Budd-Falen defended the Hammond ranchers, who illegally burned about 140 acres of Bureau of Land Management (BLM) land, by saying they “‘didn’t do anything like’” the EPA’s spill in Colorado.

Karen Budd-Falen said, of the Hammond ranchers, who illegally burned about 140 acres of Bureau of Land Management (BLM) land, “‘What totally amazes me is what these guys did – they burned 140 acres. If you compare that to the EPA spill in Colorado, it amazes me that nothing will happen to those EPA employees. You have cities down there with no drinking water. The Hammonds didn’t do anything like that.'”

[Carrie Stadheim, “Where there’s smoke,” Tri-State Livestock News, 10/29/15]

Karen Budd-Falen, in 2003, compared libraries to “porn shops,” claiming that the local “library refuses to put Internet filters on the computers in the children’s section of the library.” Budd-Falen urged citizens to oppose new library funding because it “means pornography will be readily available to your children.”

[Karen Budd-Falen, “Bigger Library Means more Porn for Our Children,” Wyoming Tribune-Eagle, 10/25/03]

Karen Budd-Falen, 2015, described the state of “administrative regulatory burdens” as “‘mission creep.’”

Karen Budd-Falen, in congressional testimony from August 2015, said, “I would argue that the biggest problem that not only the ranching industry in the West, but all of the agriculture industries across the Nation, faces is ‘mission creep.’ Mission creep is the expansion of a project or mission beyond its original goals. Mission creep is usually considered undesirable due to the dangerous path of each success breeding more ambitious attempts, only stopping when a final, often catastrophic, failure occurs. The term was originally applied exclusively to military operations, but has recently been applied to many different fields. The phrase first appeared in articles concerning the United Nations peacekeeping mission during the Somali Civil War in the Washington Post on April 15, 1993, and in the New York Times on October 10, 1993. As the examples below show, federal bureaucracy ‘mission creep’ absolutely applies to administrative regulatory burdens today.”

[Karen Budd-Falen, “’Threats to Grazing From Federal Regulatory Overreach,” Hearing of the House Oversight and Government Reform Subcommittee on Interior Hearing, 08/06/15]

Karen Budd-Falen criticized Debt for Nature swaps, which she characterized as a “way for America to spend money on foreign property.”

Debt for Nature swaps were designed as a “mechanism to sustain long-term conservation efforts in countries with rich tropical forests,” through which “eligible countries agree to use their debt payments to finance tropical forest conservation in their countries.” Budd-Falen, however, claimed that “there are several types of Debt for Nature programs being used to exert the opinions of a small group of radical environmentalists who believe that ‘nature is more important than people.’”

[Karen Budd-Fallen, “Government Trades Debt For Nature,” Beef, 02/10/11, and “Guatemala: $24 Million in Debt Now Slated for Conservation,” The Nature Conservancy, accessed 07/25/17]

Karen Budd-Falen said that being on Donald Trump’s Department of Interior transition team was “‘a great experience.’”

Budd-Falen “looked at different ways to improve the Endangered Species Act, hard rock mining on BLM lands, NEPA, and more” and “sought to help reduce regulatory pressure on BLM lands around the country to help businesses thrive.” She claimed, “‘they didn’t want us to just do things like write Secretarial Orders… they wanted us to implement these policies on the ground.’”

[Saige Albert, “Working in Washington,” Wyoming Livestock Roundup, 02/11/17]

Karen Budd-Falen appeared on a conservative radio show in 2011 to discuss Agenda 21, a “conspiracy theory” based on U.N. policy.

She claimed that “the U.N. Convention on Biological Diversity and Agenda 21” is “actually a way to move people into more populated areas” where “it’s much easier to control them economically and socially.” When asked if Agenda 21 “is something we really need to be concerned about,” Budd-Falen replied, “I think it’s really hard for people to believe that this is happening, but I think you have to sort of separate out who’s in charge and who is not…  I think that the general, run-of-the mill American citizen doesn’t understand that what they are helping to fund is really controlled by just a few individuals with a big plan.” Budd-Falen believes that Agenda 21 does not get more attention in the press “because it is so hard to believe,” and told listeners, “I would encourage you to really start understanding Agenda 21 and how it all fits together, because it truly does.”

[“Karen Budd-Falen Land Grab,” iSpy on Salem, 06/25/11, accessed via Archive.org,  “Agenda 21: The UN, Sustainability and Right-Wing Conspiracy Theory,” Southern Poverty Law Center, 03/31/14, and “About I Spy Radio,” iSpy Radio, accessed 08/09/17, “Karen Budd-Falen Land Grab,” iSpy on Salem, 06/25/11, accessed via Archive.org, (08:05)] 09:30, 11:55)] (04:32), “Karen Budd-Falen legislative luncheon talk on Agenda 21,” iSpy Radio, 09/24/11 (28:00) and (52:10)]

Karen Budd-Falen, in 2011, spoke at least two workshops on property rights and Agenda 21 in Oregon, which were sponsored by Americans for Prosperity and conservative radio show “I Spy.” At one event, Budd-Falen spoke about “how one aspect of Agenda 21 becomes the foundation to lock up land and remove it from public use.”

[“AGENDA 21 Workshop – How our Private Land is Being Stolen Away,” KlamathBasinInCrisis.org, accessed 07/24/17, and “Property rights seminar to be viewed in Seaside,” The Daily Astorian, 09/20/11]

Karen Budd-Falen supports the Constitutional Sheriffs movement, which “encourages law enforcement officers to defy laws they decide are illegal” and “sometimes puts police on the same side as ‘sovereign citizens,’ a fringe group that the FBI considers one of the most serious domestic terrorism threats.”

She has spoken at at least two Constitutional Sheriffs events, including a Tea Party-sponsored event in 2012 and a 2011 event at which “one sheriff after another stood up and spoke proudly about his involvement in the Tea Party and the ‘assault being perpetrated against our community by our own government’ by way of travel management plans and dam removals.”

[Julia Harte and R. Jeffrey Smith, “Constitutional Sheriffs: The Cops Who Think the Government Is Our ‘Greatest Threat,’NBC News, 04/18/16, Liz Bowen, “Baird Honored by Sheriff Lopey; Liz Writes Life,” Siskiyou Daily News, 01/17/12 and “Alturas Sheriffs Panel, Karen Budd-Falen,” YouTube, 08/16/12, “Sheriffs Stand TALL for the Constitution,” Robert Exter on YouTube, 10/29/11, and Jonathan Thompson, “Sagebrush Sheriffs,” High Country News, 02/08/16]

According to a San Juan County Commissioner Phil Lyman, Karen Budd-Falen attended an Americans Lands Council “Public Lands event” “a couple years ago.”

[“San Juan County Commission Work Meeting,” Utah.gov, 04/04/17 (67:40)]


Special Interests
Cliven Bundy (Political Extremism)

Budd-Falen has represented Nevada rancher and anti-government extremist Cliven Bundy in his anti-conservation efforts.

Learn More

also connected to:

Harvey Frank Robbins (Political Extremism)

Budd-Falen was the “longtime attorney” of Harvey Frank Robbins, a ranch owner “with a grudge against the government,” who had “been involved in lawsuits and countersuits” with the Bureau of Land Management “over numerous grazing violations.”

Learn More

also connected to:

Hugh McKeen (Political Extremism)

Budd-Falen represented Hugh McKeen, an extremist rancher in Catron County, NM, who repeatedly, despite warnings, grazed his cattle in forbidden areas, in violation of his grazing permits.

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also connected to:

Houston County Landowners Concerned About Property Rights (Political Extremism)

Budd-Falen represented this group which sued Houston County, Minnesota claiming the county had acted "outside of authority provided by the state in denying landowners the right to develop their properties."

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also connected to:

Andy Johnson (Political Extremism)

Budd-Falen represented Andy Johnson, a Wyoming farmer who sued the EPA for what he claimed was “an illegal overreach of its authority.”

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also connected to:

Arizona & New Mexico Coalition of Counties for Stable Economic Growth (Political Extremism)

Budd-Falen represented this group, which has been “frequently lumped into the… wise-use movement,” a movement “made up of private property rights, farming, ranching, logging and mining organizations” and is “closely aligned with the militia movement in the West.”

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also connected to:

Western Legacy Alliance (Political Extremism)

WLA, which funded Budd-Falen’s “spurious” research on the Equal Access to Justice Act, was formed in response to lawsuits from “radical environmental groups.” WLA believes that “ranchers are simply on the receiving end and it is time to stand up and fight.”

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also connected to:

Clajon Production Corporation (Resource Development on Public Lands)

Budd-Falen represented a group of landowners—including “a wealthy” “majority shareholder in the Texas-based Clajon Production Corp.,”—who challenged Wyoming’s allotment of “big-game hunting licenses for landowners.”

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also connected to:

Dayville Grazing Association (Resource Development on Public Lands)

Budd-Falen represented the Dayville Grazing Association which intervened in a lawsuit brought by environmental groups, who claimed that argued that the grazing in Oregon was “causing irreparable injury to stream banks and steelhead spawning areas.”

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also connected to:

Smithsfork Grazing Association (Resource Development on Public Lands)

Budd-Falen represented ranchers with the Smithsfork Grazing Association, who “sued the BLM” in a challenge to “the federal agency’s 2005 order to reduce grazing" in southwestern Wyoming.

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also connected to:

Nebraska Habitat Conservation Coalition (Resource Development on Public Lands)

Budd-Falen represented this coalition, made up of natural resource, irrigation and power districts, in a federal lawsuit seeking “to overturn a U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service critical habitat designation for an endangered bird,” the piping plover.

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also connected to:

Canyon Club Inc. (Resource Development on Public Lands)

Budd-Falen represented this developer that was sued by environmental groups while it was “constructing an upscale housing development and championship golf course on ranch land,” because, the environmental groups argued, the development would harm bald eagles.

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also connected to:

Save Our Snowplanes (Resource Development on Public Lands)

Budd-Falen represented “a group of ice fishermen calling itself ‘Save our Snowplanes’” that challenged “a ban on operating snowplanes on Jackson Lake in Grand Teton National Park.”

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also connected to:

Nevada Land Action Association (Resource Development on Public Lands)

Budd-Falen has filed amici briefs on behalf of the Nevada Land Action Association, which “was created in 1976 to help defend public land grazing and agriculture in general in Nevada."

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also connected to:

New Mexico Off-Highway Vehicle Alliance (Resource Development on Public Lands)

Budd-Falen represented the New Mexico Off-Highway Vehicle Alliance when it repeatedly attempted to challenge “a plan that reduced the number of roads and trails available to off-road vehicles in Santa Fe National Forest.”

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also connected to:

New Mexico Cattle Growers' Association (Resource Development on Public Lands)

Budd-Falen filed an amicus brief on behalf of the New Mexico Cattle Growers' Association in a lawsuit challenging “the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service's (FWS) designation of critical habitat for the Mexican Spotted Owl.”

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also connected to:

Anniversary Mining Claims LLC (Resource Development on Public Lands)

Budd-Falen represented Anniversary Mining Claims LLC in a lawsuit against the federal government. Anniversary Mining sued to use a road on federal public lands “for the use of commercial vehicles to transport minerals.”

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also connected to:

Mountain States Legal Foundation (Resource Development on Public Lands)

Budd-Falen worked at the Mountain States Legal Foundation, an organization that is affiliated with ALEC and the Koch network and has taken funding from oil and gas companies.

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also connected to:

Lacey Smethers

Leadership
/
Special Assistant in the Immediate Office of the Secretary of the Interior

Financials

Financial Disclosure

Department of the Interior salary: $44,941

[Lacey Smethers, ProPublica’s Trump Town, accessed 03/15/18]


Other Information

Lacey Smethers is active on twitter and in 2012 posted a tweet that said that the “best quote” she had heard in awhile was, “‘Throwing McNuggets at McFucktards to start a McShitfight.'”

[Tweet by Lacey Arabella, accessed 07/24/17]


Special Interests

Aurelia Skipwith

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
/
Nominee for Director

Background Information
Previous Employers

Monsanto

U.S. Department of Agriculture

U.S. Agency for International Development

Alltech Inc.

AVC Global

Additional Background on Employers of Note:

From 2006 to 2012 Aurelia Skipwith worked at Monsanto, a company that “provides agricultural products for farmers worldwide.”

While Skipwith worked at there, Monsanto lobbied the Department of the Interior, Congress, and other federal agencies on the Endangered Species Act, “ag environment litigation,” mineral licensing and royalty issues, issues related to the Clean Air Act, Clean Water Act, Superfund, conservation practices, mining permitting and acceptance, and phosphate mining.

[“Company Overview of Monsanto Company,” Bloomberg, accessed 08/17/17, LinkedIn Profile for Aurelia Skipwith, accessed 07/17/17, “Monsanto Company 2008 First Quarter Report,” United States Senate Lobbying Disclosure Act Database, accessed 07/17/17, “Monsanto Company 2008 Third Quarter Report,” United States Senate Lobbying Disclosure Act Database, accessed 07/17/17, “Monsanto Company 2009 Fourth Quarter Report,” United States Senate Lobbying Disclosure Act Database, accessed 07/17/17, “Monsanto Company 2009 Second Quarter Report,” United States Senate Lobbying Disclosure Act Database, accessed 07/17/17]


Financials

Financial Disclosure

Department of the Interior salary: $162,000

[Aurelia Skipwith, ProPublica’s Trump Town, accessed 03/15/18]


Other Information

Aurelia Skipwith, after starting her work at the Interior Department, “kept between $50,001 and $100,000 in stocks” in AVC Global, the agricultural consulting firm she founded, and also has “between $1,001 and $15,000 in Monsanto shares.”

[Catherine Bourdeau, “Silence on Cuba export bill is telling,” Politico, 05/31/17]

Aurelia Skipwith, in 2012, won a “Monsanto Sustainable Yield Pledge Award” for her “positive impacts in science, agriculture and [her] communit[y].”

[Vicky Hartzler, “Honoring Monsanto Employees,” Congressional Record, 05/31/12]


Special Interests
Monsanto (Resource Development on Public Lands)

Skipwith worked at Monsanto, a multinational corporation that provides agricultural products for farmers worldwide. While Skipwith worked there, Monsanto lobbied the Interior Department on a variety of issues.

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also connected to:

Independent Petroleum Association of America (Resource Development on Public Lands)

Skipwith spoke at the Independent Petroleum Association of America's Regulators' Forum on October 17, 2017.

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also connected to:

Elinor (Renner) Werner

Leadership
/
Special Assistant to the Secretary of the Interior

Background Information
Previous Employers

Heritage Foundation

Additional Background on Employers of Note:

Since 2012, Elinor Renner has worked at the Heritage Foundation, whose “donors include major companies like Boeing and Chevron and conservative foundations such as the Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation.” 

Elinor Renner, in 2012, became an intern at the Heritage Foundation in “communications and development.” Next she worked as a Special Events Assistant at Heritage, then worked as an Executive Assistant to the Vice President of Heritage’s Institute of Economic Freedom and Opportunity, and then became the Assistant Director for the Young Leaders Program, managing “Heritage’s internship program… with almost 200 interns annually.”

[Department of Interior, Press Release, 07/12/17, and LinkedIn Profile for Elinor Werner, accessed 08/16/17]

“Heritage had $109 million in assets in 2002, a figure that has ballooned to $174 million in 2011, according to its tax filings. During the same period its annual fundraising haul (in contributions and grants) climbed from $40 million to more than $65 million. Donors include major companies like Boeing and Chevron and conservative foundations such as the Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation.”

[Ken Silverstein, “The Great Think- Tank Bubble,” New Republic, 02/19/13]


Financials

Financial Disclosure

[Office of Government Ethics]

Department of the Interior salary: $66,510

[Elinor Renner, ProPublica’s Trump Town, accessed 03/15/18]


Other Information

Elinor Renner appears to have tweeted messages critical of President Donald Trump. In addition to repeatedly spreading Senator Ben Sasse’s criticisms, in February 2017, Renner posted an article titled “If You Want To Fight Trump, You Can’t Be Worse Than Trump,” which encouraged Trump detractors to not be “worse with the facts than he is,” ended with: “the goal in the fight against Trump shouldn’t be to strengthen him.”

The article, which said it was “reasonable for people to be concerned” because Trump had said “such harsh things about the media,” encouraged Trump detractors to not be “worse with the facts than he is.” The article ended with the sentence, “the goal in the fight against Trump shouldn’t be to strengthen him.”

[Tweet by Elinor Renner, 02/02/17, and Mollie Hemingway, “If You Want To Fight Trump, You Can’t Be Worse Than Trump,” The Federalist, 02/02/17]

In May 2016, Elinor Renner retweeted Senator Ben Sasse, who tweeted “I assume this is a parody account?” in response to the GOP tweeting “Thank you to the entire Republican field for a hard fought race. The Party is better for your efforts.”

[Retweet by Elinor Renner of Ben Sasse, 05/04/16]

In January 2016, Elinor Renner retweeted a Daily Signal article quoting Senator Ben Sasse, who said, “‘What makes America great is not some guy in Washington who says, “If I had more power, I could fix it all unilaterally,”‘ he said. ‘That’s not the American tradition.'”

[Tweet by Jim DeMint, 01/31/16, and “In Under 90 Seconds, Sen. Ben Sasse Defines Conservatism,” Daily Signal, 01/29/16]

Elinor Renner retweeted an anti-trans tweet saying it was “insane” to be “letting boys into girls’ locker rooms,” with an article that read,” We don’t play along with the delusions of schizophrenics” and “I refuse to play along with the delusion.”

Elinor Renner retweeted a Federalist tweet from September 3, 2015, which said it was “insane” to be “letting boys into girls’ locker rooms.” In the article, the author wrote, “I refuse to play along with the delusion. We don’t play along with the delusions of schizophrenics, and I won’t play along with the notion that someone with a penis is somehow a woman.” The piece ended with “if Americans aren’t comfortable with biological males in their daughters’ locker rooms, it behooves us to call a spade a spade—or, in this case, call a boy a boy.”

[Elinor Renner Retweet of a Federalist Tweet, 09/03/15, and Bethany Mandel, “Man-splaining Is No Excuse For Invading Girls’ Locker Rooms,” The Federalist, 09/03/15]

In January 2013, Elinor Renner defended a pastor who in the 1990s ” called on fellow Christians to fight the ‘aggressive agenda’ of the gay rights movement and advocated ‘the healing power of Jesus’ as ‘the only way out of a homosexual lifestyle.'”

In January 2013, Elinor Renner tweeted a New York Times article titled “Pastor Chosen for Inaugural Was Criticized as Antigay.” Renner commented: “Heaven forbid a pastor believe in the sanctity of marriage.” The pastor was criticized for delivering “a sermon in the 1990s in which he called on fellow Christians to fight the ‘aggressive agenda’ of the gay rights movement and advocated ‘the healing power of Jesus’ as ‘the only way out of a homosexual lifestyle.'”

[Tweet by Elinor Renner, 01/11/13, and Sheryl Gay Stolberg, “Pastor Chosen for Inaugural Was Criticized as Antigay,” New York Times, 01/09/13]

In October 2013, Elinor Renner retweeted an article about the “sheer vindictive pettiness” of the National Park Service, which suggested NPS Rangers sing “This land is our land, it sure ain’t your land… This land is closed to you and yours.”

In October 2013, Elinor Renner retweeted a National Review article about the “sheer vindictive pettiness” of the National Park Service, with parodied Woody Guthrie lyrics saying “This land is our land, it sure ain’t your land/ From downtown DC to the Lake Mead shoreland/ From the Arctic Refuge to the Gulf Stream waters/ This land is closed to you and yours.” The author also promised he would be singing this live in Ohio, “possibly in a Park Service uniform.”

[Elinor Renner Retweet of a Mark Steyn Tweet, 10/06/13, and Mark Steyn, “Song of the National Park Service,” National Review, 10/06/13]


Special Interests
Heritage Foundation (Resource Development on Public Lands)

Renner worked at the Heritage Foundation, which has received almost $800,000 from ExxonMobil and millions from the family foundations of the oil billionaire Koch brothers.

Learn More

also connected to:

Russell Newell

Leadership
/
Deputy Director of Communications

Financials

Financial Disclosure

[Office of Government Ethics]

Department of the Interior salary: $153,730

[Russell Newell, ProPublica’s Trump Town, accessed 03/15/18]


Special Interests

David Mihalic

Leadership
/
Senior Advisor to the Secretary

Background Information
Previous Employers

Department of the Interior (BLM and NPS)

Heritage Resources Group LLC

Indiana University

Additional Background on Employers of Note: 

David Mihalic started his career at the Bureau of Land Management and then moved to the National Park Service where, among other roles, he was the superintendent of Glacier and Yosemite National Parks.

David Mihalic, in the 1970s, worked “for the Bureau of Land Management in Alaska and Denver, Colo.”

[Bill Stall, “David Mihalic,” Los Angeles Times, 01/09/00]

During his time working for the National Park Service, David Mihalic worked as a ranger in Yellowstone National Park from 1976 to 1981, as a deputy superintendent at Great Smoky Mountains National Park from 1985 to 1988, as superintendent of Glacier National Park from 1994 to 1999, and as superintendent of Yosemite National Park from 1999 to 2002. Mihalic “was the personal choice of Bruce Babbitt, President Bill Clinton’s interior secretary” to be superintendent of Yosemite, one of the “most politicized and difficult jobs in the National Park Service.”

[Charles Johnson, “Davison recruits ex-park superintendent,” Helena Independent Record, 03/25/04, Dean Murphy, “After Top Job at Yosemite, He’s Hanging Up the Ranger Hat,” New York Times, 12/10/02, and Sherry Devlin, “Mission Accomplished,” The Missoulian, 01/09/03]

David Mihalic left the NPS when he was assigned to be superintendent of Great Smoky Mountains National Park because, he claimed, the George W. Bush administration was trying to get him to “push through two contentious proposals,” that posed environmental risks.

The George W. Bush administration, in 2002, picked David Mihalic to be the superintendent for Great Smoky Mountains National Park. However, Mihalic refused the assignment because, he claimed, “the Bush administration wanted him to push through two contentious proposals,” a land swap and a road project, that had been “long been opposed by the National Park Service because of environmental concerns but had been backed by some influential Republicans in North Carolina and Tennessee.” When Mihalic “refused the Great Smoky assignment and asked for another,” he was told by the administration that “there would be none.”

One of the proposals was to “allow a land swap with the Eastern Band of the Cherokee Indians that would give the Indians about 168 acres of the park’s ecologically rich wetlands,” that included 55 “‘new to science'” species, “for the building of several schools.” The other proposal was to “allow completion of a road project abandoned in the 1960’s because of environmental concerns.”

[Dean Murphy, “After Top Job at Yosemite, He’s Hanging Up the Ranger Hat,” New York Times, 12/10/02]


Financials

Financial Disclosure

Department of the Interior salary: $155,000

[David Mihalic, ProPublica’s Trump Town, accessed 03/15/18]


Other Information

David Mihalic ran for lieutenant governor of Montana in 2004.

David Mihalic, in 2004, ran for lieutenant governor of Montana with Republican gubernatorial candidate Pat Davidson.

[Charles Johnson, “Davison recruits ex-park superintendent,” Helena Independent Record, 03/25/04]

David Mihalic worked as an adviser to Marc Racicot when Racicot was governor of Montana.

David Mihalic, “worked as an adviser to Marc Racicot when Mr. Racicot was governor of Montana” in the 1990s.

[Dean Murphy, “After Top Job at Yosemite, He’s Hanging Up the Ranger Hat,” New York Times, 12/10/02]

David Mihalic used to be a registered Democrat.

David Mihalic, when he lived in Kentucky and “headed Mammoth Cave National Park,” was a registered Democrat.

[Allison Farrell, “Mihalic criticized for party ties,” Billings Gazette, 05/12/04]


Special Interests

Leila Getto

Leadership
/
Deputy Director of Scheduling and Advance

Background Information
Previous Employers

DCI Group (then called DCI Companies)

Davis Manafort

John McCain 

Abraham for Senate

U.S. Department of Energy

Institute for 21st Century Energy


Financials

Financial Disclosure

[Office of Government Ethics]

Department of the Interior Salary: $130,692

[Leila Getto, ProPublica’s Trump Town, accessed 03/14/18]


Special Interests
U.S. Chamber of Commerce (Resource Development on Public Lands)

Getto was Senior Director, Fundraising and Member Relations for the Institute for 21st Century Energy, which is part of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. The institute's purpose is to promote the development of oil and gas.

Learn More

also connected to:

Eli Nachmany

Leadership
/
Writer

Financials

Financial Disclosure

[Office of Government Ethics]

Department of the Interior salary: $54,972

[Eli Nachmany, ProPublica’s Trump Town, accessed 03/15/18]


Other Information

Eli Nachmany thinks divesting from fossil fuels is a “dangerous movement.”

In 2015, when Eli Nachmany was in college, he wrote an op-ed on why he opposed New York University divesting from fossil fuels. Nachmany said fossil fuel divestment was a “dangerous movement” and he criticized students who supported fossil fuel divestment for “endeavor[ing] to make feel-good political statements of negligible impact with money [NYU] does not have.”

[Eli Nachmany, “Opinion: Why I’m Against NYU Fossil Fuel Divestment,” BreakingEnergy, 04/30/15]

Eli Nachmany, in 2016, had to resign from his position as Chair of the New York Federation of College Republicans after he called an “abrupt” vote “in secret” to revoke recognition of the Cornell Chapter of the Federation after they endorsed Gary Johnson in the 2016 election.

In September 2016, when he was the Chair of the New York Federation of College Republicans (NYFCR), Eli Nachmany “called for an abrupt executive board vote to expel Cornell’s chapter” from the New York Federation of College Republicans when the Cornell Chapter endorsed Libertarian candidate Gary Johnson. NYFCR “revoked recognition” of the Cornell Chapter, “chastising the group for breaking party lines.” The Cornell Chapter’s lawyer filed an appeal to the National Chair of the College Republicans National Committee saying that the rights of the Cornell Republicans were violated over the course of the expulsion and that Nachmany’s “calling an abrupt executive board vote… resulted in a disregard for free speech protections.”

[Madeline Cohen, “Chair of NY College Republicans Resigns After Cornell Expulsion Backlash,” Cornell Daily Sun, 09/17/16, and Madeline Cohen, “Cornell Republicans Fight Expulsion, Enlist Attorney in Appeal to National Committee,” Cornell Daily Sun, 09/15/16]

Austin McLaughlin, the executive director of the Cornell Republicans, criticized Nachmany for “acting in ‘secret'” and “‘steamroll[ing] the 6-3 emergency vote'” which McLaughin said “resulted in a ‘flagrant violation of the state constitution.'” Additionally, when Olivia Corn, the chair of the Cornell Republicans, warned Nachmany of the Cornell chapter’s plan to take legal action if they weren’t reinstated, Nachmany “‘laugh[ed]'” at Corn and was “‘uncooperative'” with her requests.

[Madeline Cohen, “Cornell Republicans Fight Expulsion, Enlist Attorney in Appeal to National Committee,” Cornell Daily Sun, 09/15/16]

Shortly after the New York Federation of College Republicans was faced with legal action, Eli Nachmany resigned from his post as chair, although he allegedly “‘whined'” that the Cornell chapter was “‘ruining his political career.'” Critics also observed that “Nachmany’s role in the Trump campaign could jeopardize [NYFCR’s] 527 status, as independent from any campaign.”

[Madeline Cohen, “Cornell Republicans Fight Expulsion, Enlist Attorney in Appeal to National Committee,” Cornell Daily Sun, 09/15/16, and Madeline Cohen, “Chair of NY College Republicans Resigns After Cornell Expulsion Backlash,” Cornell Daily Sun, 09/17/16]

Eli Nachmany believes that we have “sold out our country to a bunch of technocrats,” and that federal agencies, which he calls “our shadow government,” have too much power.

Eli Nachmany says that he loves that Donald Trump “is deconstructing the administrative state.” Nachmany believes that we’ve “sold out our country to a bunch of technocrats both on the Republican and Democratic side, and now Donald Trump is beginning to roll that back so that the government can really serve the people.”

[Eli Nachmany, “Eli Nachmany Pitch Tape,” Youtube, (0:12)]

Eli Nachmany supported Neil Gorsuch’s nomination to the Supreme Court because Gorsuch “believes in challenging federal agencies on their regulatory behavior” and, once on the Court, would focus “on taking the power out of the hands of our shadow government.”

[Eli Nachmany, “OPINION: Gorsuch’s View on Regulatory Agencies Serves College Students Well,” Washington Square News, 02/21/17]

Eli Nachmany supports Donald Trump’s nomination of Rex Tillerson as Secretary of State. Because of his ExxonMobil background, Nachmany claims, Tillerson would “personally” feel the consequences of a bad deal for the US.

Eli Nachmany supports who Donald Trump has chosen to serve in his cabinet, and has said specifically about Trump’s promise to “Drain the Swamp” that Trump has “brought in people like Rex Tillerson, someone from ExxonMobil to negotiate some of these bilateral international deals… you’d rather have people from the private sector who understand how to negotiate these deals, who’ve cut their teeth on negotiating deals with skin in the game, rather than people who are career politicians. In the past we’ve seen Secretaries of State like Hillary Clinton or John Kerry, people who if a deal goes bad for the American people they might not personally feel it. But Rex Tillerson at his company would feel it and bankers at Goldman Sachs would feel it too. And so to bring in these people who have this expertise I think is a good thing.”

[Eli Nachmany, “Eli Nachmany Pitch Tape,” Youtube, (07:51)]

Eli Nachmany thinks that Democrats use George Soros and Organizing for Action, which he calls “Obama’s shadow administration,” “to goad the base and get grassroots.”

Eli Nachmany, in response to a question about the excitement young Republican voters felt for Donald Trump, said, “I think that we see on the Democratic side there have been much more efforts to try to goad the base and get grassroots, that’s why you need people like George Soros, you need Obama’s shadow administration Organizing for Action, to get the grassroots moving, when on the Republican side it’s genuine and people are excited about President Donald Trump.”

[Eli Nachmany, “Eli Nachmany Pitch Tape,” Youtube, (0:50)]


Special Interests
Chicago Bridge & Iron Company (Resource Development on Public Lands)

According to his 2017 disclosure form, Nachmany owns stock in Chicago Bridge & Iron company, a company that "provides designing, engineering, construction, fabrication, maintenance, and environmental services" to the "the oil and gas, infrastructure, wastewater, and power industries."

Learn More

also connected to:

Alex Hinson

Leadership
/
Deputy Press Secretary

Financials

Financial Disclosure

[Office of Government Ethics]

Department of the Interior salary: $94,796

[Alex Hinson, ProPublica’s Trump Town, accessed 03/15/18]


Special Interests
Murphy USA Inc. (Resource Development on Public Lands)

According to his 2017 financial disclosure form, Hinson owns stock in Murphy USA Inc., a company that operates gas stations located primarily in the Southwest, Southeast, and Midwest United States.

Learn More

also connected to:

Richard Goeken

Leadership
/
Deputy Solicitor for Parks and Wildlife

Background Information
Previous Employers

Saltman & Stevens, P.C.

Smith Currie & Hancock, L.L.P.

Additional Background on Employers of Note:

At Smith Currie, Richard Goeken represented “members of the forest products, construction, and oil and gas industries, ranchers and grazing associations… and holders of water rights on or across public lands.”

According to his bio from Smith Currie, Richard Goeken “represents members of the forest products, construction, and oil and gas industries, ranchers and grazing associations, professional guides and outfitters, and holders of water rights on or across public lands.”

[“Richard W. Goeken,”Smith Currie, accessed via Google Cache on 07/31/17]

At Smith Currie, Richard Goeken worked on an Antiquities Act case where the firm “challenged the President’s use of the Antiquities Act to create a National Monument in California.”

At Smith Currie, Richard Goeken worked on an Antiquities Act case where the firm “Challenged the President’s use of the Antiquities Act to create a National Monument in California,” which they claimed the size of which “was vastly larger than necessary for its stated purposes.” Smith Currie represented a client that “sought review of lower court decisions by the U.S. Supreme Court.”

[“Richard W. Goeken,”Smith Currie, accessed via Google Cache on 07/31/17, and “Antiquities Act Challenging The Creation of National Monuments,” Smith Currie, accessed 07/31/17]

In 2015, Richard Goeken represented “12 timber companies and trade associations” that opposed the Center for Biological Diversity’s legal challenge that the Endangered Species Act protected the “threatened northern long-eared bat.”

In 2015, Richard Goeken represented “12 timber companies and trade associations” that allied with the Fish and Wildlife Service to oppose “a legal challenge filed by the Center for Biological Diversity… over the extent of protections for the threatened northern long-eared bat.”

[Michael Doyle, “Agency adds staffers with histories in coal, timber, Iraq,”  Energy & Environment News, 07/27/17, “Richard W. Goeken,” Smith Currie, accessed via Google Cache on 07/31/17, and “Endangered Species Act,” Smith Currie, accessed 07/31/17]

In 2015, Richard Goeken represented a timber company that won a case allowing them to cut roughly 100 million board feet of timber from “centuries-old trees” in the Tongass National Forest, most of which had “never been cut.”

In 2015, Richard Goeken represented Viking Lumber Co. a timber company that won their federal appeals case, clearing the way to “cut centuries-old trees from the Tongass National Forest.” Viking Lumber Co. stood to cut “roughly two-thirds” of the 150 million board feet of lumber in question, “most of it from tree stands that have never been cut.”

[Michael Doyle, “Agency adds staffers with histories in coal, timber, Iraq,” Energy & Environment News, 07/27/17, and Phil Taylor, “9th Circuit clears way for Tongass old-growth logging,” Energy & Environment News, 04/17/15]

Richard Goeken represented a group of private landowners who sued the U.S. Forest Service, claiming their private land was damaged during a prescribed USFS burn.

In 2015, Richard Goeken represented a group of private landowners who sued the U.S. Forest Service for “the damages and costs” they claimed to their private land for a 2013 prescribed burn in South Dakota “that escaped.” As of August 2017, the case is still active and pending.

[Seth Tupper, “Ranchers sue feds for escaped 2013 prescribed burn,” Rapid City Journal, 12/19/15, and 5:15-cv-05087-JLV Casper et al v. The United States]

In a Wilderness Act case, Richard Goeken represented the City of Tombstone, Arizona, which sued to access a Wilderness Area “to repair damaged water pipelines” with mechanized equipment prohibited in wilderness areas.

Richard Goeken “represented the City of Tombstone, Arizona in Federal District Court to obtain access to a Wilderness Area… to repair damaged water pipelines with mechanized equipment. The use of such equipment in Wilderness Areas is generally prohibited.”

[“Richard W. Goeken,”Smith Currie, accessed via Google Cache on 07/31/17, and “Wilderness Act,” Smith Currie, accessed 08/02/17]

Richard Goeken was a member of a trade association for the California timber industry and “frequent donor to political causes and candidates.” In 2012, the trade association actively supported a bill that lowered their insurance and liability costs by limiting the federal government’s ability to levy “environmental penalties against timber companies for wildfire damage.”

In 2014, Richard Goeken was a member of the California Forestry Association, a trade organization of California sawmills, veneer mills, large industrial forest landowners, wood-fired powerplants, and other forest products producers. In 2012, the California Forestry Association backed a California state bill to “eliminat[e] regulatory fees on California timber firms, allo[w] extra time to harvest timber,” and reduce insurance and liability costs for California timber companies by “preventing the federal government from obtaining potentially unlimited environmental penalties against timber companies for wildfire damage.” The California Forestry Association, “a frequent donor to political causes and candidates,” spent $245,000 in 2007-2008 “lobbying state agencies on… climate legislation and the Air Resources Board policy on greenhouse gas emissions.”

[“Membership Outreach List,” California Forestry Association, 05/19/14, “Testimony of Steven A. Brink Vice President – Public Resources California Forestry Association,” Congressman Tom McClintock Congressional Field Hearing, 08/06/13, Bill Esler, “Lumber Tax Replaces Forest Regulatory Fees in California” Woodworking Network, 09/23/12, and Mark Schapiro and Sara Terry-Cobo, “Timber companies stand to benefit from new climate law,” San Jose Mercury News, 12/15/10, and “Become Part of Calforests,” California Forestry Association, accessed 08/17/17]

Richard Goeken has been a member of the American Forest Resource Council, a trade organization for western timber companies that’s spent $3.7 million lobbying the federal government.

Richard Goeken has been a member of the American Forest Resource Council, a trade organization for western timber companies. Since 2001, the American Forest Resource Council has spent $3.73 million lobbying the federal government.

[“Richard W. Goeken,”Smith Currie, accessed via Google Cache on 07/31/17, and Lobbying Data for the American Forest Resource Council, Center for Responsive Politics, accessed 08/02/17]

Richard Goeken has been a member of the Forest Landowners Association, which represents “privately owned forests” and has pushed Congress to reclassify wood as a renewable energy source “for the development of ethanol.”

Richard Goeken has been a member of the Forest Landowners Association, a group that represents “privately owned forests.” In 2007, the Forest Landowners Association pushed Congress to reclassify wood “as a renewable energy source” to market it “as an option for the development of ethanol.”

[“Richard W. Goeken,” Smith Currie, accessed via Google Cache on 07/31/17, and Luke Rosiak, “Power Play Series: Energy & Agriculture,” Center for Responsive Politics, 06/21/07]

Richard Goeken has been a member of the Federal Forest Resource Coalition, a timber product trade association whose member organizations “purchase, harvest, transport, and process timber” from BLM-managed lands. Since 2011, the Federal Forest Resource Coalition has spent $450,000 lobbying the federal government on timber issues.

Richard Goeken has been a member of the Federal Forest Resource Coalition, which is a national timber trade association with “over 650 member companies,” who “purchase, harvest, transport, and process timber and biomass from the National Forest System and lands managed by the Bureau of Land Management. Since 2011, the Federal Forest Resource Coalition has spent $450,000 lobbying the federal government on timber issues.

[“Richard W. Goeken,” Smith Currie, accessed via Google Cache on 07/31/17, Testimony of the Federal Forest Resource Coalition Executive Director Bill Imbergamo, Committee on Energy and Natural Resources, 06/25/13, and Lobbying Data for the Federal Forest Resource Coalition, Center for Responsive Politics, accessed 08/02/17]


Financials

Goeken, Richard

[Office of Government Ethics]

Department of the Interior salary: $162,000

[Richard Goeken, ProPublica’s Trump Town, accessed 03/15/18]


Other Information

Richard Goeken is a member of the Federalist Society, one of the “most powerful… [legal] organizations in the conservative orbit.”

Richard Goeken “is a member of the conservative Federalist Society,” one of the “most powerful and unique organizations in the conservative orbit, [that] describ[es] itself as ‘a group of conservatives and libertarians interested in the current state of the legal order.'”

[Amanda Terkel, “The Federalist Society: Where Are They Now?Huffington Post, 11/18/10, and Michael Doyle, “Agency adds staffers with histories in coal, timber, Iraq,” Energy & Environment  News, 07/27/17]


Special Interests
California Forestry Association (Resource Development on Public Lands)

Richard Goeken was a member of the California Forestry Association, a trade association for the California timber industry.

Learn More

also connected to:

American Forest Resource Council (Resource Development on Public Lands)

Richard Goeken has been a member of the American Forest Resource Council, a trade organization for western timber companies that's spent $3.7 million lobbying the federal government.

Learn More

also connected to:

Forest Landowners Association (Resource Development on Public Lands)

Richard Goeken has been a member of the Forest Landowners Association, a private forest ownership interest group that pushed Congress to classify wood as a renewable energy source for ethanol development.

Learn More

also connected to:

Federal Forest Resource Coalition (Resource Development on Public Lands)

Richard Goeken has been a member of the Federal Forest Resource Coalition, a timber product trade association, whose members use timber from BLM-managed lands.

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also connected to:

Blake Deeley

Leadership
/
Advisor in the Office of Congressional and Legislative Affairs

Background Information
Previous Employers

Senator Rand Paul, United States Senate

Senator Mitch McConnell, United States Senate

Kentucky Chamber of Commerce (worked as a lobbyist)

Representative David McKinley, United States House of Representatives

Additional Background on Employers of Note:

Blake Deeley has worked for the Kentucky Chamber of Commerce, a pro-coal organization.

From December 2014 to May 2015, Blake Deeley worked for the Kentucky Chamber of Commerce. The Kentucky Chamber of Commerce supports “efforts that will help Kentucky position itself as the leading exporter of coal to international markets,” “careful legal review of the rules that regulate carbon dioxide emissions from coal plants,” and argues that “federal policies… have crippled the coal economy in the eastern and western Kentucky coal fields which has had a negative impact on the entire state.”

[Legistorm Profile for Blake Deeley, accessed 08/02/17, and “Support the Future of Kentucky’s Coal Industry,” Kentucky Chamber of Commerce, accessed 08/02/17]

In 2016, Blake Deeley used talking points spoon-fed by industry to write a memo to his boss, David McKinley, on the “Illegality of the Stream Protection Rule.” The following year, Deeley was the McKinley staffer responsible for working on H.J. Res. 38, the congressional review act that overturned the Stream Protection Rule.

When he worked for Representative David McKinley, in July 2016, Blake Deeley wrote McKinley a memo on the “Illegality of the Stream Protection Rule” in which he wrote that the “proposed SPR will be devastating to underground longwall mining” and that the rule would “put a significant amount of otherwise mineable coal out of reach.” In his memo Deeley used points provided by Murray Energy Corporation, which is the largest privately owned coal company in the United States, to explain why the Stream Protection Rule was illegal.

[Blake Deeley to David McKinley, 07/12/16, and “About,” Murray Energy Corporation, accessed 08/02/17]

The Stream Protection Rule was an Obama-era update to existing mining regulations that required “companies to restore the ‘physical form, hydrologic function, and ecological function’ of streams after mining operations are complete” and required “monitoring pollution levels in streams near surfaces mines.”

[Jeremy Deaton, “Congress is set to overturn the Stream Protection Rule,” ThinkProgress, 01/31/17]

In 2017, when he worked for Representative David McKinley, Blake Deeley was the McKinley staffer responsible for working on H.J. Res. 38, a Congressional Review Act bill to “bloc[k] the Office of Surface Mining’s (OSM) Stream Protection Rule (SPR).” McKinley was one of the original cosponsors of H.J. Res. 38, which passed the House and Senate and became law on February 16, 2017.

[“Rolling Back Obama’s Regulations Using the Congressional Review Act,” Congressional Western Caucus, accessed 07/31/17, and H.J. Res.38 – Disapproving the rule submitted by the Department of the Interior known as the Stream Protection Rule, United States House of Representatives, 115 Congress]

When he worked on Capitol Hill, Blake Deeley “served as the lead staffer for the Congressional Coal Caucus.”

[Michael Doyle, “Agency adds staffers with histories in coal, timber, Iraq,” Energy & Environment, 07/27/17]


Financials

Financial Disclosure

[Office of Government Ethics]

Department of the Interior Salary:$94,796

[Blake Deeley, ProPublica’s Trump Town, accessed 03/14/18]


Other Information

Blake Deeley was a registered lobbyist in the state of Kentucky for the Kentucky Chamber of Commerce. His registration is no longer active. 

[Kentucky Legislative Ethics Commission search for Blake Deeley, accessed 07/31/17]


Special Interests
Coal Lobby (Resource Development on Public Lands)

While working on Capitol Hill, Deeley worked on H.J. Res. 38, the Congressional Review Act that blocked the Obama administration's Stream Protection Rule. Deeley was also the lead staffer for the Congressional Coal Caucus.

Learn More

also connected to:

Kentucky Chamber of Commerce (Resource Development on Public Lands)

Deeley worked for and was a registered lobbyist for the Kentucky Chamber of Commerce, an organization that supports the future of Kentucky's coal industry.

Learn More

also connected to:

Murray Energy Corporation (Resource Development on Public Lands)

In a memo he wrote to his then-boss, Representative David McKinley, Deeley used talking points from Murray Energy, the largest privately owned coal company in the United States, to explain why the Stream Protection Rule was illegal.

Learn More

also connected to:

Gavin Clarkson

Indian Affairs
/
Former Deputy Assistant Secretary for Policy and Economic Development

Financials

Financial Disclosure

[Office of Government Ethics]

Department of the Interior Salary: $162,000

[Gavin Clarkson, ProPublica’s Trump Town, 03/13/18]


Other Information

Gavin Clarkson resigned from his position at the Department of the Interior in November 2017, “after the department’s inspector general issued a scathing report on the loan program” that Clarkson oversaw, which “guarantees loans for tribal businesses.”

At the Bureau of Indian Affairs, Clarkson supervised a program that “guarantees loans for tribal businesses.” The inspector general “said the loan program lacked ‘adequate controls'” and found that, “on at least two occasions, the acting DCI chief approved loan-guarantee applications over the objections of the program’s credit committee without providing any written justification for the move.”

[Juliet Eilperin, “Trump appointee to Bureau of Indian Affairs resigns after Interior’s IG slams the loan program he oversaw,” The Washington Post, 11/14/17, and Isaac Arnsdorf, “Trump Appointee Resigns After ProPublica Report,” ProPublica, 11/14/17]

Prior to joining the Department of Interior, Gavin Clarkson worked “as a consultant for tribes that received loans under the program” flagged by the inspector general, “including a controversial $22.5 million loan for the Lower Brule Sioux Tribe that helped finance the purchase of a brokerage firm that eventually went under.”

The “inspector general found that the loan guarantee Clarkson arranged ‘departed from’ guidelines and raised several red flags that made it ‘particularly risky.'” Clarkson claimed “that he received ‘no compensation whatsoever’ for his work on the loan, though New York court filings in a suit related to the deal state that Clarkson and his firm received $366,764 in fees and other payments.” The Interior Department is now facing a lawsuit over the loan Clarkson arranged.

[Juliet Eilperin, “Trump appointee to Bureau of Indian Affairs resigns after Interior’s IG slams the loan program he oversaw,” The Washington Post, 11/14/17, and Isaac Arnsdorf, “Trump Appointee Resigns After ProPublica Report,” ProPublica, 11/14/17]

Gavin Clarkson has argued that “title to trust land can and should be returned to tribes.”

Gavin Clarkson, in 2014, co-wrote a law review article that argued that “a primary cause for the lack of on-reservation consumer options [was] the cumbersome and onerous policy of the United States government holding tribal land in trust.” Clarkson further argued that “title to trust land can and should be returned to tribes and individuals in fee under a new tribal status that confers permanent jurisdiction to the tribe.”

[Gavin Clarkson and Alisha Murphy, “Tribal Leakage: How the Curse of Trust Land Impedes Tribal Economic Self-Sustainability,” 05/07/14]

Gavin Clarkson, after attending one of Donald Trump’s Native American Listening Sessions, said he was “incredibly pleased with the receptiveness of the transition team.”

Gavin Clarkson, in December 2016, wrote that he was “incredibly pleased with the receptiveness of the transition team” after attending a Native American Listening Session with then President-elect Donald Trump. Clarkson also praised Trump’s choice of Ryan Zinke to run the Interior Department.

[Gavin Clarkson, “Gavin Clarkson: A tribal economic contract with President Donald Trump,” Indianz.com, 12/20/16]

In 2016, Gavin Clarkson and his girlfriend took donations to protestors protesting the construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline.

Gavin Clarkson and his girlfriend, Alisha Murphy, in 2016, “haul[ed] much needed donations” to protestors protesting the Dakota Access Pipeline. Murphy started a GoFundMe page to raise money for “gas money, food, and enough to rent a trailer.” Murphy said that any “excess funds [would] be donated as cash to the Sacred Stone Camp.”

[Alisha Murphy, “#NoDAPL Donation Drive,” GoFundMe, accessed 07/21/17]

 


Special Interests

Greg Sheehan

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
/
Former Deputy Director

Background Information
Previous Employers

U.S. Air Force

Utah Division of Wildlife Service

Additional Background on Employers of Note:

Greg Sheehan opposed the reintroduction of Mexican wolves into Utah when he was Director of the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources (DWR).

While he was Director of the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources (DWR), Greg Sheehan opposed reintroduction of Mexican wolves, “one of the most critically endangered mammals on Earth,” into their historic range in Utah. Sheehan said that bringing Mexican wolves into Utah was “‘just not really a very sound approach to recovery planning on a highly endangered species'” because Utah was a “‘new region where they didn’t evolve in the first place.'” Wildlife advocates said that “refusing the Mexican wolf’s entry” in Utah was “taking a ‘selfish’ approach” and that there were only “a few swaths of public land large enough for management of a long-ranging species like wolves are left.”

[House Natural Resources Democrats, Press Release, 06/29/17, Brian Maffly, “Conservationists blast long-awaited recovery plan for Mexican wolves, which excludes Utah, Colorado from lobos’ range,” Salt Lake Tribune, 06/29/17, Morgan Jacobsen, “Wildlife Advocates Hold Rally in Utah to Save Mexican Gray Wolf,” KSL, 01/14/16, and “Conservationists howl for Mexican wolf protection in Utah,” Standard-Examiner, 01/14/16]

When Greg Sheehan was Director of the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources, DWR was criticized for accepting a $1 million check from Sportsmen for Fish and Wildlife (SFW) and for giving SFW preference over other groups as a permit distributor.  

Although on their website Sportsmen for Fish and Wildlife (SFW) brags that they are “dedicated to the perpetuation of wildlife,” that that they are “passionate about hunting,” SFW has “ties to energy interests.” Founded by Don Peay, “one of former President George W. Bush’s top fundraisers,” SFW has defied “mainstream sportsmen groups by not opposing the Bush administration’s oil and gas policies on public lands.”

[“About SFW,” Sportsmen for Fish and Wildlife, accessed 08/10/17 and Matt Lee-Ashley, “Oil and Gas Industry Investments in the National Rifle Association and Safari Club International: Reshaping American Energy, Land, and Wildlife Policy,” Center for American Progress, 04/14]

In 2012, while Sheehan was Director of the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources, the Executive Board of Sportsmen for Fish and Wildlife “presented the Utah DWR Director, Greg Sheehan, and the Utah Wildlife Board a check for $1,071,284.58.” After the December 2012 donation, some observed that “money and political clout often give the impression that SFW and not the DWR is in charge of wildlife in Utah.”

[“SFW Donates $1 Million Dollars to the DWR,” Sportsmen for Fish & Wildlife, 12/05/12, and and Tom Wharton, “