Washington, D.C. — David Bernhardt, nominated to lead the U.S. Department of the Interior, has more conflicts of interest than any other nominee for a Cabinet position nominated during the Trump administration, according to a new analysis from the Center for American Progress.
Of the 27 former clients and employers with potential conflicts of interest that Bernhardt disclosed on his ethics forms, lobbying disclosure data reveal that 20 have actively lobbied the Interior Department since the beginning of 2017. That number dwarfs other Cabinet nominees’ known direct conflicts of interest, the analysis finds.
“Bernhardt’s many conflicts of interest, his secretive leadership style, and his apparent contempt for ethical norms make him unfit to serve as secretary of the interior,” said Marc Rehmann, senior campaign manager for the Law of the Land Project at CAP and author of the report.
This unusually high number of conflicts makes the Interior Department vulnerable to corruption and capture by corporate interests. As the Senate considers Bernhardt’s nomination to become the next secretary of the interior, members of Congress should demand transparency on any ethics waivers that Bernhardt has sought or received. Lawmakers also should seek clarity on how Bernhardt tracks his time and whether he has violated the Federal Records Act. And they must take a hard look at whether he has violated any of his numerous recusals by continuing to meet with, or work on matters that benefit, his many former clients and employers.
Read the column: “David Bernhardt Is President Trump’s Most Conflicted Cabinet Nominee” by Marc Rehmann
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