William Pendley’s — the Acting Bureau of Land Management (BLM) Director — 17-page recusal list was released today, detailing over 50 entities that Pendley would be ethically dismissed from working on.
“For more than two months the Trump administration has stonewalled and refused to release this vital document. Now we see why they kept it from the public for so long: it clearly shows that Pendley is too conflicted to run the BLM,” said Western Values Project Deputy Director Jayson O’Neill. “The list is longer than a CVS receipt and it shows that Pendley is about as conflicted as his boss, former mega-lobbyist David Bernhardt. It’s clear that in order to preserve America’s public lands, this conflicted-character needs to go.”
William Pendley’s 30-year-long resume of anti-public lands advocacy as well as several instances of suing the Interior Department or a sub-agency is the root cause of his extensive recusal list. Interior still has not released Pendley’s 278 financial disclosure form, making it is impossible to tell if his recusal list is complete or if his financial holdings would require further recusals. Pendley has sought an extension on filing his financial disclosures according to an email sent to Western Values Project and shared with Politico.
“It remains unclear if there is work within the BLM that does not include the mega-list of entities detailed on Pendley’s recusal form,” continued O’Neill. “Will Pendley just be sitting behind a desk, twiddling his thumbs all day while taking a check from the American taxpayer or secretly be weighing in on decisions for his former clients?”
Pendley was brought into Interior’s fold in late July and granted the authority of Acting BLM director shortly after his hire by Secretary Bernhardt. His appointment was roundly criticized because of his 30-year record of advocating for the abolishment of federal public lands, supporting efforts to repeal the Antiquities Act, and rallying against sage grouse protections. It was also reported that Pendley was still the attorney of record for two interested parties concerning the contested Grand Staircase Escalante National Monument lawsuit. He only recently recused himself from this work.