Memo: Did Interior Secretary Bernhardt Lie to Congress?

Western Values Project’s analysis (view here) of Interior Secretary David Bernhardt’s answers to questions for the record shows that the ex-oil lobbyist has spun a web of lies regarding his actions at Interior. Many of his decisions have favored his former clients and monied special interests that threaten America’s public lands, parks, and wildlife.

From slashing funding for a public parks program to suppressing science to the lack of written approval for his dealings with former clients, Bernhardt must clarify his contradictory statements when he testifies before the full House Natural Resources Committee.

Just four days after his historically controversial confirmation, Bernhardt became the subject of a multi-faceted ethics investigation by Interior’s internal watchdog. Six other senior Interior political appointees are also under investigation for potential ethics violations.

Bernhardt’s lack of candor about his work has frustrated members of Congress, who may file subpoenas after Bernhardt refused to provide them the information necessary to conduct oversight as well as documentation regarding the department’s handling of public information requests.

It is clear from the analysis of his written answers to Senator’s questions that Bernhardt is continuing to obfuscate his dealings at Interior. In addition to the instances in the analysis, Bernhardt has been equally obtuse about major Interior initiatives on offshore drilling, the Endangered Species Act, departmental reorganization, and climate change.

More information on the former lobbyist and his conflicts is available at

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