Local TV Station Sheds Doubt On Bundy’s Claims About His Family Ranch

Rancher Cliven Bundy speaks at a protest camp near Bunkerville, Nev. Friday, April 18, 2014. (AP Photo/Las Vegas Review-Journal, John Locher)
Start your day with TPM.
Sign up for the Morning Memo newsletter

Cliven Bundy has trumpeted his “ancestral rights” in his land-use dispute with the federal government, but a report on Monday from a Nevada television station placed doubt on the defiant rancher’s claims.

KLAS in Las Vegas obtained property records showing that Bundy’s parents purchased the family’s ranch in 1948. The Bunkerville, Nev. ranch has been the site of a tense standoff with the federal government over Bundy’s use of land managed by the Bureau of Land Management.

Those records appear to contradict Bundy’s own history of the ranch, as well as his biography.

“I’ve lived my lifetime here. My forefathers have been up and down the Virgin Valley here ever since 1877. All these rights that I claim, have been created through pre-emptive rights and beneficial use of the forage and the water and the access and range improvements,” Bundy told KLAS before the government’s round up began.

The standoff has made Bundy a hero among conservatives like Sean Hannity.

Nevada Assemblywoman Michele Fiore (R), who is showing solidarity with Bundy and the armed militias supporting him, said Friday that the federal government shouldn’t “come here with guns and expect the American people not to fire back.”

Bundy said that his rights predate the formation of the Bureau of Land Management, and he has refused to pay more than $1 million in cattle grazing fees.

“My rights are before the BLM even existed, but my rights are created by beneficial use. Beneficial use means we created the forage and the water from the time the very first pioneers come here,” Bundy said.

But court records obtained by KLAS indicated the family’s cattle didn’t begin grazing the land until 1954. The Bureau of Land Management was created in 1946 (the same year Cliven Bundy was born.)

Latest Livewire
Masthead Masthead
Founder & Editor-in-Chief:
Executive Editor:
Managing Editor:
Associate Editor:
Editor at Large:
General Counsel:
Head of Product:
Director of Technology:
Associate Publisher:
Front End Developer:
Senior Designer: