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Apr 18, 2019

This Week: Interior Secretary David Bernhardt Is In Some Trouble

Newly minted Interior Secretary David Bernhardt might have broken the record for time elapsed before his first inspector general’s probe. The former oil and gas lobbyist was confirmed on April 11 and by April 15 the department’s office of the inspector general announced a probe into his earlier actions at the department, namely whether he’s given regulatory gifts to his former clients, whether he continued lobbying even after declaring he’d stopped, and so on. To be fair, this investigation into Bernhardt isn’t out of the blue, and stems from more than a year of work he’s done at Interior. He has been Deputy Interior Secretary since 2017, attracting the ire of ethics watchdog groups and the attention of muckraking reporters. On Monday, the Interior Department’s deputy inspector general wrote that the office was looking into “a wide assortment of complainants alleging various conflicts of interest and other violations.” Two days after that investigation was revealed, The Guardian reported on an interesting find…

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