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Also see: Department of the Interior; Ryan Zinke; environment; ethics;
Jump to: 2018; 2019;
Undated: David L. Bernhardt (born August 17, 1969) is an American attorney, lobbyist and government administrator who serves as Acting United States Secretary of the Interior. A partner and shareholder at the Colorado law firm Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck, he began working for the United States Department of the Interior in 2001, and served as the department's solicitor from 2006 to 2009, among other roles.
On April 28, 2017, President Donald Trump nominated him to be the United States Deputy Secretary of the Interior. He was confirmed by the U.S. Senate on July 24, 2017. He was then sworn into office on August 1, 2017. He became Acting Secretary of the Interior on January 2, 2019, replacing Ryan Zinke.
Undated: Lobbyists in (and out of) the Trump Administration
President Donald Trump signed an Executive Order within his first days of office forbidding Executive Branch appointees from lobbying for five years after employment in the Administration. The Order also forbids former registered lobbyists now working in the White House from participating in areas they had previously lobbied on for a period of two years.
Despite this directive, these men and women made their way through the revolving door and were either previously lobbyists and now work in the Trump Administration or were previously in the Administration and work as lobbyists.
[Includes David Bernhardt]
-- 2018 --
November 19: Zinke’s #2 has so many potential conflicts of interest he has to carry a list of them all
Bernhardt’s relentless work ethic helps explain how he’s managed to advance Trump’s pro-industry agenda over the nation’s public lands. Having worked for years as a lobbyist representing many of the very businesses he now regulates, he walked into the No. 2 job at Interior with so many potential conflicts of interest he has to carry a small card listing them all.
“This is the deep state,” said Jim Lyons, who served as deputy assistant secretary for land and minerals management under Barack Obama. “He is the guy behind the curtain who’s manipulating everything, which he can do with his wealth of knowledge and experience.”
December 16: Former fossil fuels lobbyist to head interior department as Zinke exits
David Bernhardt’s new job means top two US environmental agencies will be helmed by people once paid by industry
-- 2019 --
Undated: David R. Bernhardt
Dept of the Interior
Deputy Secretary, Dept of the Interior
January 3: A brief guide to David Bernhardt, Ryan Zinke’s replacement at the Interior Department
Three things to know about the former oil lobbyist who’s now acting Interior secretary.
January 8: Acting Interior Secretary David Bernhardt Is Big Oil’s Lapdog
Bernhardt has government experience; he worked for President George W. Bush and was part of Trump’s transition team. One of his claims to fame from the Bush era is authorship of a document that made it more difficult to designate endangered species. He’s been eager to extend his record on stripping protections for wildlife to make it easier to exploit natural resources on federal lands.
In the private sector, he’s represented the oil and gas industry, as well as agribusiness and what environmentalists describe as “water profiteers.” Advocates say that Bernhardt has failed to fully disclose and account for his lobbying activities, which is an especially big concern when former clients are approaching the department for permits, regulatory guidance and other needs.
Like other Trump officials, Bernhardt’s connections raise concerns about conflicts of interest and whether he can truly serve the best interests of the American public. He’s been involved in several decisions that favored former connections, which isn’t a great precedent.
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