Republicans raise ethics concerns over Biden Cabinet official who ordered oil leasing ban
- June 5, 2023
A group of 11 House Republicans is sounding the alarm on Interior Secretary Deb Haaland’s potential conflicts of interest related to an action she took last week restricting oil and gas drilling.
The Republicans, led by Natural Resources Committee Chairman Bruce Westerman, R-Ark., wrote to Haaland and top Interior Department ethics official Heather Gottry, expressing concern about how her and her family’s past activism may have influenced the action. On Friday, Haaland finalized a ban on fossil fuel leasing within 10 miles of the Chaco Culture National Historical Park in New Mexico.
“Under the standards of ethical conduct, federal government officials are required to recuse from particular matters involving specific parties where ‘a person with whom he has a covered relationship is or represents a party to such matter,’ unless authorized by the agency to participate,” the Republican lawmakers wrote.
Meanwhile, in April, government watchdog organization Protect the Public’s Trust filed two federal lawsuits against the Department of the Interior, alleging the agency and its subagency Bureau of Land Management have stonewalled information requests demanding communications involving Somah Haaland.