Today, U.S. Senator Tom Udall, ranking member on the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on the Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies, and U.S. Representative Betty McCollum, chair of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies, responded to the U.S. Department of the Interior (DOI) Office of the Inspector General (OIG) agreeing to open an investigation into whether senior DOI officials, including Secretary of the Interior David Bernhardt, violated federal ethics regulations meant to prevent conflicts of interest by participating in matters concerning former clients or employers.
Udall and McCollum requested the investigation in March.
"The American public deserves to have the basic confidence that their Interior Secretary is looking out for their interests -- protecting public land, species, the air and the water -- and not the interests of former industry clients. The Inspector General's investigation into Secretary Bernhardt's extensive conflicts of interest is a necessary step to ensure that the public interest is paramount in decision-making at the Interior Department," Udall said.
"Our federal ethics policies and procedures are in place to ensure federal officials are working for the benefit of the American people. It's important to know that the Inspector General will be looking into whether officials at the Department of the Interior, including the newly confirmed Secretary, may have violated ethics regulations. The Department's focus should be protecting our public lands and natural resources," McCollum said.