Yes, Trump Really is Coming to Take Your Public Lands

The Trump administration’s bold attempt to steal your public lands continues

Blog – Last year, Western Values Project detailed a worrying trend of anti-public lands zealots being appointed to key Interior posts under then-Secretary Ryan Zinke — who, for all his misgivings and transgressions, was a staunch opponent of the transfer or sale of federal public lands, and repeatedly beat back such proposals. When the Utah branch of the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) suggested in late 2017 disposing of public lands in the illegally reduced Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument, Zinke had then-Deputy Secretary David Bernhardt issue a memorandum revoking the action. 

A lot has changed in a year. Zinke’s scandals caught up to him and he was forced out, and former mega-lobbyist David Bernhardt took the helm. Some political operatives left the department, while new ones replaced them. And despite having already executed historic reductions to public land protections, the Trump administration appears to be taking a markedly different approach under Secretary Bernhardt’s tenure: selling off America’s public lands.

Weeks before Secretary Bernhardt was confirmed, there was an ominous indication the administration had shifted its stance on the sale and transfer of public lands, despite President Trump’s campaign pledge to keep public lands in public hands. 

In March 2019, Bernhardt issued a Secretarial Order that made it clear the BLM would once again consider transferring and disposing of public land. While the Federal Land Policy and Management Act (FLPMA) directs the agency to identify the potential for land exchanges and disposal, nowhere does it require the agency to do so. In fact, the act requires that the disposal of public lands ‘serve the national interest,’ giving the Interior Secretary wide discretion to cancel any proposed land exchange or disposal decision. But it doesn’t appear Bernhardt will use that discretion.

In addition to the order indicating that public land disposal was, again, an option, Trump’s and Bernhardt’s intention to sell America’s public lands has come into focus with two recent actions. 

First, the proposed relocation of BLM’s headquarters to Grand Junction, Colorado, leading to the reshuffling of hundreds of BLM staff to state offices across the West. The administration’s reorganization and relocation of the BLM will not only limit the input of key leaders, scientists, and other career employees, but it may also be the first step in dismantling an agency that manages some 245 million acres of public lands. Past BLM Directors believe a HQ move is a not-so-veiled attempt to ultimately transfer federal public lands to states. 

Second, Secretary Bernhardt has hired and promoted anti-public land zealots to key positions within Interior. Karen Budd-Falen, a former “darling of the Sagebrush Rebellion,” quietly slid into the prominent role of deputy solicitor for Fish, Wildlife and Parks back in October of 2018 after being considered for the BLM Director position. Secretary Bernhardt also gave Budd-Falen the authority of the Assistant Secretary of Fish and Wildlife and Parks. Her ascension to this position, having spent the majority of her career undermining wildlife regulations and protections, led one group to declare that it was like putting “Genghis Khan in charge of a daycare center.” With the recent confirmation of ex-energy lobbyist Robert Wallace for the position, it’s assumed Budd-Falen has moved back to her deputy solicitor role.

Not to be outdone, Bernhardt recently gave the keys to the BLM to a political crony who has spent nearly 30 years suing the federal government on behalf of oil, gas and coal corporations, and has openly called for the federal government to sell all Western public lands. After being dismissed from President Reagan’s Interior Department, William Pendley became the president of the group formed by James Watt to help assist the Sagebrush Rebellion: the Mountain States Legal Foundation. Pendley’s appointment is an alarm bell for all public lands users and signals a dramatic shift by President Trump, who had promised “to keep the lands great, and you don’t know what the state is going to do.”

While connections to lobbyists, trade groups, and organizations that are trying to undermine America’s public lands have been and continue to be rampant throughout Interior, these new and old political appointees don’t appear to be even trying to hide their nefarious agenda to steal our public lands.

Interior’s public land transfer and privatization zealots:

William Perry Pendley, Acting Director of the Bureau of Land Management

William Perry Pendley, the poster child for the anti-public lands movement, was recently hired by Secretary Bernhardt to a position at the BLM that does not require a Senate confirmation process, joining on July 15th, 2019, as the Deputy Director for Policy and Programs at the Bureau of Land Management. But, within two weeks of his hire, Pendley was delegated all functions, duties, and responsibilities of the BLM director. As the President of the Koch brothers-funded Mountain States Legal Foundation, Pendley spent his career repeatedly suing the federal government on behalf of extractive corporations and private entities. He even penned an opinion piece arguing that the federal government should sell all of its public lands. At BLM he will manage some 245 million acres of federal public lands.

For nearly 30 years, Pendley was the head of Mountain States Legal Foundation, spending the majority of his career repeatedly suing Interior and BLM on behalf of extractive corporations. His track record includes representing Solenex President Sidney Longwell in a lawsuit with Interior over a canceled oil and gas lease in the Badger-Two Medicine, an area sacred to the Blackfeet Tribe. He’s also sued the Forest Service and other federal regulators over public land issues on behalf of private entities. 

[Groups take issue with BLM director’s stance on public lands, gas lease, Great Falls Tribune, 07/30/19,  LinkedIn Profile for William Perry Pendley, accessed 07/22/19 “Biography: William Pendley Perry, Esq.,” Property Rights Foundation of America, accessed 07/23/19, Conservative lawyer named to senior BLM post, E&E News, 07/15/19]

In a 2016 opinion piece, Pendley said that the Founding Fathers intended all lands owned by the federal government to be sold. As acting BLM director, Pendley now manages 245 million acres of public lands. He’s also penned numerous books with inflammatory titles such as “War on the West: Government Tyranny on America’s Great Frontier,” “It Takes a Hero: The Grassroots Battle Against Environmental Oppression,” and “Warriors for the West: Fighting Bureaucrats, Radical Groups, and Liberal Judges on America’s Frontier.” Pendley’s twitter account is aptly named ‘Sagebrush_Rebel.’ He announced he was ‘taking a break’ from Twitter shortly before he was hired at Interior. 

[The Federal Government Should Follow the Constitution and Sell Its Western Lands, William Perry Pendley, 01/19/16, William Perry Pendley did not have Senate approval. Congress should not stand for it, Amazon Page for William Perry Pendley, accessed 08/14/19, Washington Post Opinion, 08/08/19, Twitter account @Sagebrush_Rebel, accessed 08/14/19] 

On February 1st, 2017, Pendley wrote a column in the Washington Examiner that said Trump could “rob President Obama of his sole surviving legacy” by “vacating two national monuments designated by Obama in 2016 and an especially egregious one designated by President Clinton in 1996.” Pendley then describes the history of the Antiquities Act, and claimed: “Obama thumbed his nose at all Utahns with his 1.35 million-acre Bear Ears National Monument.”

Pendley claimed that Trump had the ability without question to “vacate the actions of his predecessors” and that both “Clinton and Obama far exceeded their authority under the Antiquities Act.” The opinion piece concluded: “Meanwhile, Congress should repeal the Antiquities Act to prevent lawlessness by any future president who views rural Americans with disdain.” 

[Trump should undo two of Obama’s illegal national monuments, Washington Examiner, 02/01/17] 

Pendley wrote another opinion piece that sympathized with the failed stand-off with BLM by Nevada rancher Cliven Bundy over unpaid fees and illegal grazing, saying that the federal government had a ‘massive overreaction.’ Pendley quoted The Wall Street Journal’s commentary on the Hammonds –  ranchers jailed for illegally burning about 140 acres of BLM land – that said the efforts to drive them other ranchers away was because the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) had “mismanaged water to let ranchlands flood.” Pendley went on to claim the Hammonds were not the only ones “wronged in a case of ‘theft by flooding.’” 

[Bundy Ranch Standoff Could Spark New Sagebrush Rebellion, William Perry Pendley, 04/16/14, Trump pardoned the Hammonds, but there’s more to be done, Washington Examiner, 07/31/08, Western States Seek Control of Federal Lands, Newsmax, 04/21/14]

 Karen Budd-Falen, Deputy Solicitor for Fish and Wildlife Services

Karen Budd-Falen, hired as the Deputy Solicitor for Fish and Wildlife Services in October 2018, has been described as “a darling of the original Sagebrush Rebellion” and “a hero of the Sagebrush Rebellion,” which was “the movement that [in] the 1970s… pushed for major changes to federal land control.” She also worked alongside acting Bureau of Land Management Director William Perry Pendley at Mountain States Legal Foundation.

By 1991, Newsweek was reporting that Budd-Falen had “become the hired gun of choice for ranchers facing court action from federal agencies.” In May 2019, Secretary Bernhardt delegated to Budd-Falen the authority to carry out the functions, duties, and responsibilities of the role of Assistant Secretary for Fish and Wildlife and Parks. 

[Rachel Gabel, “Budd Falen takes position in Interior Department as Deputy Solicitor for Wildlife and Parks,” The Fence Post, 10/12/18, Jennifer Yachnin, “Potential BLM pick has fought for ranchers, property rights,” E&E News, 06/16/17, Department of the Interior, Order No. 3345, 05/23/19, “MAKING IT LOCAL: Time for a new Sagebrush Rebellion,” High Country News, 12/06/04, Jeremy P. Jacobs, “PROPERTY RIGHTS: High-stakes suit pits ranchers against water-sampling greens,” Greenwire, 11/18/14, James N. Baker, John Taliaferro and Patricia King, “Who’s Who: 20 for the Future,” Newsweek, 09/30/91]

Budd-Falen began “working against environmental restrictions with the Mountain States Legal Foundation,” – a 501(c)(3) dedicated “to individual liberty, the right to own and use property, limited and ethical government, and the free enterprise system,” – which is said to be affiliated with  “ALEC/Koch”; Mountain State Legal Foundation has taken “funding from oil and gas companies.” The President at the time of Budd-Falen’s tenure was William Perry Pendley, who doesn’t believe the federal government should own public lands. 

[“Drilling in West Pits Republican Policy Against Republican Base,” New York Times, 06/22/05, Mark Trahant, “About Mountain States Legal Foundation,” Mountain States Legal Foundation, accessed 02/23/17, “ALEC, the Koch Led CABAL & ‘The Amicus Project’ – Fed Court Interference,” Daily Kos, 07/24/12]

Karen Budd-Falen was a “leading candidate” to head the Bureau of Land Management, although the White House has “declined to confirm that President Trump has decided on a nominee for the post.” It is presumed that her nomination was dropped because the administration lacked the support to get her through a Senate confirmation process due to her controversial background and extremist positions. 

[Jennifer Yachnin, “Potential BLM pick has fought for ranchers, property rights,” E&E News, 06/16/17]

Karen Budd-Falen, after President Trump “ordered a review of national monuments,” said, “‘I think there is enough land out there, and people are smart enough, that we can have multiple-use and still protect the land.’” She hoped that the Trump Administration would “scale back the amount of land the last administrations have deemed protected.” 

[Jason Kopp and Steve Kurtz, “Ranchers applaud President Trump’s review of ‘massive federal land grab,'” Fox News, 05/02/17]

From a profile on her: “Budd-Falen’s name is not as famous as that of the Bundy family, which has had two stand-offs with federal authorities in their efforts to deny the rightful existence of publicly-held lands. But she may be more dangerous, and not just because she has represented Cliven Bundy in his anti-conservation efforts in the past… Indeed, her legal relationship with Cliven Bundy goes back to the early ’90s, when Bundy and other ranchers hired Budd-Falen as their lawyer in their fight to continue grazing cattle on public lands that were designated for preservation in order to protect an endangered species of tortoise. Karen Budd-Falen said, of Cliven Bundy, ‘…I totally get what drove him to do what he did… I totally get it. I think you’re going to see more of that because we’re not left with any choice.’ Budd-Falen added, I don’t think what he did… was legal.’” 

[Angela Lu, “Long Land Battle,” World Magazine, 11/29/14, Amanda Marcotte, “Karen Budd-Falen, the Bundy family’s lawyer, may be Trump’s pick to manage federal lands,” Salon, 07/18/17]

Karen Budd-Falen is Facebook friends with American Lands Council founder Ken Ivory; they have twenty mutual friends. 

[Facebook, accessed 08/02/17]

 Tim Williams, Deputy Director of External Affairs

On April 18, 2018, Tim Williams joined five other Interior political appointees who became the subject of an investigation by Interior’s internal watchdog for violating ethics rules after he attended a meeting with the vice president of Koch-funded American’s for Prosperity (AFP), his former employer, just three months after his confirmation.

Interior’s Office of the Inspector General confirmed in a letter to the nonprofit Campaign Legal Center that Tim Williams is one of six Interior political appointees who are under investigation for possible ethics violations. The complaint cited William’s meeting on June 14, 2017, with Chrissy Harbin, vice president of AFP, “to discuss partnering on shared priorities.” Williams was a field director for AFP from March 2015 until January 2016. 

[“Six Trump Interior appointees are being investigated for possible ethical misconduct,” Washington Post, 04/23/19; “Letter to Interior IG Regarding Ethics Violations (with exhibits),” Campaign Legal Center, 02/20/19]

After the Inspector General investigation was opened, records indicated that not only did Williams meet with his former employer, but he also gave them a tour of Interior and discussed Interior’s plans to “rein in” Bears Ears National Monument. The records also indicate that communications between Williams’ former employer and Interior’s Office of Intergovernmental and External Affairs were ongoing. 

[Jimmy Tobias, “New Documents Reveal More About Alleged Ethics Violations at the Department of Interior,” Pacific Standard, 08/06/19]

In March 2018, the Montana Farm Bureau Federation (MFBF) issued a report saying that earlier in the month their members had met with Tim Williams, Interior Deputy Director of External Affairs. In the report, MFBF said that Interior was preparing to give “land back to the states,” a claim the Interior Department quickly rejected. Whether or not Williams said Interior was attempting to transfer federal land to the states, it is certain that Williams, along with two other current Interior staffers and one former Interior staffer, have all worked for Americans for Prosperity, a Koch-backed group that donated to the American Lands Council, a land transfer organization.

In March 2018, the Montana Farm Bureau Federation (MFBF) issued a report saying that, earlier that month, MFBF “members met with Interior’s Office of External Affairs Deputy Director Tim Williams, a former Nevada political operative, who discussed the department’s proposed reorganization.” Montana farmer Don Steinbeisser Jr. explained the meeting, “Mr. Williams explained the reason for the reorganization at the Department of the Interior, which made sense… ‘They want to make it simple for people trying to contact [the] Bureau of Land Management about a certain issue to easily locate the person who is responsible for that issue.'” He added: “‘In addition, there are some groups saying [Interior] Secretary [Ryan] Zinke is selling off land. All he’s doing is giving that land back to the states.'”

The Interior Department quickly rejected that explanation of the meeting. Interior spokeswoman Heather Swift called  what Steinbeisser Jr. said “‘100 percent not true'” and that Williams “‘would not have said that.'” 

[Jennifer Yachnin, “Group retracts report on Interior giving land to states,” Energy & Environment, 03/22/18]

Before working at Interior, Tim Williams worked for Americans for Prosperity, a Koch-backed group that has contributed to the American Lands Council, a major land transfer organization. 

[Nigel Duara, “In Western states, idea of reclaiming federal land still has a strong allure,” LA Times, 05/10/15]

In addition to Williams, current Interior staffers Brendan Quinn, and Landon “Tucker” Davis, and former Zinke Interior staffer Benjamin Keel, have all worked for the land-transfer sympathetic Americans for Prosperity. 

[“Americans for Prosperity,” Department of Influence, accessed 03/29/18]

 Todd Wynn, Director of the Office of Intergovernmental and External Affairs

Wynn has been busy in his position as the director of the office of intergovernmental and external affairs since his past ties and advocacy for the land transfer movement were noted. Wynn may have held at least three meetings with former employers even though he was barred from doing so under Trump’s ethics pledge. 

According to Wynn’s schedule and reported on by the Huffington Post, he held a 30-minute video call with a senior policy advisor the State Policy Network, an American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) linked organization. Wynn also scheduled another video call with the ALEC director that ran his former task force. His schedule also revealed a meeting with the head of the energy and environment committee for the Council of State Governments. Wynn served on the same committee prior to joining Interior. 

[“Yet Another Top Interior Department Official Seems To Have An Ethics Problem,” Huffington Post, 06/18/18]

Wynn is one of six Interior political appointees who are under investigation by the Interior’s internal watchdog for the possible ethics violations after he met with a representative from his former employer the Council of State Governments.

Interior’s Office of the Inspector General confirmed in a letter to the nonprofit Campaign Legal Center that Todd Wynn is one of six Interior political appointees who are under investigation for possible ethics violations. The complaint cited Wynn’s meeting with a Council of State Governments representative. Wynn previously served as a member of the board of trustees for the non-profit. 

[“Six Trump Interior appointees are being investigated for possible ethical misconduct,” Washington Post, 04/23/19; “Letter to Interior IG Regarding Ethics Violations (with exhibits),” Campaign Legal Center, 02/20/19]

Wynn was featured prominently in Facebook photos posted Ken Ivory, Utah State Representative and land-transfer enthusiast, when Ivory met with a host of Interior officials, including Wynn, at a closed-door meeting with the American Legislative Exchange Council, a Koch brothers-funded group that advocates handing over control of federal lands to states. 

[Ryan Zinke, Lover Of Public Lands, Can’t Keep His Staff From Proposing Sell-Offs, Huffington Post, 12/07/2018, Ken Ivory Facebook Post from 11/28/2018, accessed 08/11/2019]

While he worked at the Koch-backed American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), where he was the Director of a task force whose membership was heavily stacked with oil and gas interests, Todd Wynn advocated transferring federal land to the states.

Todd Wynn is currently serving as the Director of the Office of Intergovernmental and External Affairs. Wynn is Tim Williams’ boss, as Williams is the Deputy Director of the office. 

[Profile for Todd Wynn, Department of Influence, accessed 08/19/19, Department of the Interior, “Intergovernmental and External Affairs,” accessed 10/26/17]

From September 2011 to September 2013, Todd Wynn worked at the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), a “Koch brothers-backed group.” At ALEC, Wynn was the Director of the Energy, Environment and Agriculture Task Force. In the same year that Wynn started at ALEC, the Energy, Environment and Agriculture Task Force’s members included: Alliant Energy, American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity, American Electric Power Company, American Gas Association, American Petroleum Institute, BP, Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck, Duke Energy Corporation, Edison Electric Institute, Exxon Mobil Corporation, Hilex Poly Company LLC, Nuclear Energy Institute, Peabody Energy, and Salt River Project. Its task force members “fund almost all of ALEC’s operations.” 

[LinkedIn Profile for Todd Wynn, accessed 10/26/17, Tarini Parti, “‘Dark money’: ALEC wants image makeover,” Politico, 07/30/15; Meeting Minutes from Energy, Environment, and Agriculture Task Force Meeting, American Legislative Exchange Council, 04/29/11, accessed via; Gabe Elsner, “ALEC Energy Director Misleads the Wall Street Journal,” Huffington Post, 04/02/13]

In a June 2013 blog post, Wynn praised Utah State Representative Ken Ivory’s 2012 legislation HB 148, the Transfer of Public Lands Act, which, Wynn explained, “has subsequently become ALEC model policy for other state legislators to use as an example.” Wynn warned, “expect more states to press this issue both in the East and the West as state legislators are likely to continue to work together through ALEC and other organizations in order to gain back their land.” 

[Todd Wynn, “Nevada Becomes the 5th Western State to Explore the Transfer of Public Lands,” American Legislative Exchange Council, 06/06/13]

Todd Wynn was Facebook friends with Utah State Representative and land-transfer enthusiast Ken Ivory. Ivory also tagged Wynn in Facebook posts advocating land transfer.

On September 25, 2015, Ken Ivory tagged Todd Wynn in a Facebook story that said the two had been “Friends on Facebook” for three years.

[Facebook Stories Tagged with Todd Wynn, screenshot 10/26/17]

On December 29, 2014, Ken Ivory tagged Todd Wynn in a Facebook post about transferring public lands. Ivory wrote, “‘…Then You Win.’ Ghandi #TransferPublicLands #utpol @AmericanLandsCn ‘This is a wonderful time to be alive. We’re lucky not to live in pale and timid times. We’ve been blessed with the opportunity to stand for something.’ (R. Reagan).'” Ivory tagged the American Lands Council, his land transfer organization, as well as land seizure activists Jennifer Fielder, Marjorie Haun, and Darin Bushman in his post. The post came just two days before December 31, 2014, which was the deadline that Ivory’s bill, HB 148, gave to the federal government to transfer public lands in the state to Utah. 

[“Utah: State ramps up lands fight as deadline passes,” Greenwire, 01/05/15]

[Facebook Stories Tagged with Todd Wynn, screenshot 10/26/17] 

[Facebook Stories Tagged with Todd Wynn, screenshot 10/26/17] 

Wynn liked a comment on the post written by conservative blogger Marjorie Haun that said “Bring it on!”

[Facebook Stories Tagged with Todd Wynn, screenshot 10/26/17] 

 John Tanner, Director of the Office of Congressional and Legislative Affairs

John Tanner, the Interior Department’s Director of Congressional and Legislative Affairs, supported a 2012 bill demanding the federal government transfer public lands to the State of Utah. The bill was sponsored by Utah State Rep. Ken Ivory, the founder of the American Lands Council, an organization that advocates for the transfer of federal public lands.

Since November 2017, John Tanner has been the Director of the Office of Congressional and Legislative Affairs at the Interior Department. 

[Press Release, Orrin Hatch, 11/13/17; LinkedIn Profile for John Tanner, accessed 03/29/18]

John Tanner retweeted  former Utah Attorney General John Swallow’s tweet saying, “How cool it was to see months of work culminate in the signing of HB 148 on pub lands  Kudos to Ivory, Barrus, Lee, Herbert, Hatch & team UT.” 

[Tweet by John Swallow, 03/23/12, accessed 11/15/17]

Utah House Bill 148, signed into law by Governor Gary Herbert in 2012, “asks the federal government, which owns a majority of the land in the state, to give back more than 20 million acres.” The bill was sponsored by Utah State Rep. Ken Ivory, the founder of the American Lands Council, an organization that advocates for the transfer of federal public lands. 

[Kirk Johnson, “Utah Asks U.S. to Return 20 Million Acres of Land,” The New York Times, 03/24/12]

Additionally, John Tanner spent seven years working for land transfer enthusiast Congressman Rob Bishop. 

Tanner worked previously for Congressman Rob Bishop in Utah, first as Constituent Services Representative/Field Representative from 2003 to 2007, then as Salt Lake Regional Director from 2008 to 2010. 

[Legistorm Profile for John Tanner, accessed 03/29/18]

During his time in Congress, Congressman Rob Bishop has sponsored legislation to fund transferring federal land to local and state governments and advocated for ways to make it easier to “cede federal control of public lands to state officials.” 

[Timothy Cama, “GOP chairman seeks $50M to transfer federal land,” The Hill, 03/06/17; Juliet Eilperin, “Rob Bishop-led rules change would make it easier to sell off federal land in Utah and elsewhere,” Washington Post, 01/04/17]

 Ryan Nichols, Advisor in the Office of Water and Science

Ryan Nichols, an advisor to the Office of Water and Science in the Department of the Interior since 2017, presented to the American Land Exchange Council’s (ALEC) Federalism Task Force “on the topic of transfer of public lands & empowering local communities to make land-use decisions.”

In a closed-door meeting, tweeted about by ALEC’s board of directors secretary Republican South Carolina Rep. Alan Clemmons, on November 28, 2018, Nichols along with then-Secretary Ryan Zinke and other Interior officials presented to the Koch-backed organization on Interior’s efforts to transfer public lands to states and how Interior was empowering local governments to make land-use decisions regarding federal public lands. The tweet by Clemmons misidentifies Nichols as an employee of the Heritage Foundation, his former employer and an organization that advocates for land transfer. 

[Ryan Zinke, Lover Of Public Lands, Can’t Keep His Staff From Proposing Sell-Offs, Huffington Post, 12/07/2018]

At the Heritage Foundation, where he worked before he started at Interior, Ryan Nichols organized a “Western lands management” event with Federalism in Action (FIA). FIA is affiliated with “organizations funded by the Koch brothers and other donors pushing right-wing causes” and has fought for the transfer of federal lands to the states.

Since February 2017, Ryan Nichols has worked as an advisor to the Office of Water and Science in the Department of the Interior. Before starting at Interior, Nichols worked at the Heritage Foundation as the Associate Director of Coalition Relations. 

[LinkedIn Profile for Ryan Nichols, accessed 03/29/18]

While at the Heritage Foundation, Ryan Nichols “co-organized with Federalism in Action a nationally televised event and a coalition strategy meeting on the issue of Western lands management with the Utah Speaker and 26 other influential leaders.” 

[Department of the Interior, FOIA Response, 06/07/17]

Federalism in Action is a “South Carolina-based group affiliated with organizations funded by the Koch brothers and other donors pushing right-wing causes” and has fought for the transfer of federal lands to the states. 

[Brian Maffly, “Utah’s Ken Ivory recruiting ‘leaders’ to launch grass-roots lands-transfer movement,” Salt Lake Tribune, 02/03/16]

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