New website tracks industry influence at Department of Interior, shows pattern of stacking the deck in favor of special interests

The Western Values Project (WVP) is launching the “Department of Influence,” an interactive website featuring in-depth research on political appointments at the Department of the Interior. The website documents the revolving door between special interest lobbyists and appointees at the department. The analysis shows that lobbyists, political cronies and industry insiders are taking over at Interior while scientists and civil servants are being pushed out or reassigned. WVP will promote the website with a video and targeted digital ad campaign.

View the video highlighting the “Department of Influence” here.

“This analysis shows that President Trump and Secretary Zinke have failed bigly in their promise to ‘drain the swamp.’ Instead, they have stacked the deck in favor of special interests and political cronies,” said Chris Saeger, Executive Director of the Western Values Project. “With almost no representation from sportsmen, conservation groups or outdoor industry, it’s no surprise that Secretary Zinke is making so many decisions that will harm Western communities and the outdoor economy they rely on.”

So far, President Trump and Secretary Zinke have appointed or nominated 21 staffers who came from extractive industries, 14 appointees from the George W. Bush administration, 12 from the Trump campaign, and 8 former lobbyists, while appointing only three individuals collectively from sportsmen and conservation groups and zero from the outdoor industry.

These former lobbyists and industry insiders will now be making policy and regulatory decisions impacting the businesses they once worked for and profited from. Unless the public holds them accountable, these operatives may use their power in government to enrich their special interest allies.

Visit to learn more.

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