Watchdog explores link between U.S. Interior Department Secretary and her daughter’s lobbying
- January 6, 2023
Juliette Fairley, Legal Newsline
A watchdog group is seeking answers as to whether Somah Haaland’s alleged lobbying of D.C. lawmakers to end oil and gas leasing near a New Mexico historical site is a conflict of interest, after her mother was appointed last year by President Biden to serve as Secretary of the Interior, overseeing such matters.
Haaland is the daughter of Secretary of the Department of the Interior Deb Haaland. The elder Haaland served as chair of the New Mexico Democratic Party from 2015 to 2017, and as the U.S. representative for New Mexico’s 1st Congressional District from 2019 until 2021.
“Federal employees are supposed to recuse from matters that involve parties with which they have covered relationships,” said Michael Chamberlain, director of Protect the Public’s Trust. “So, a daughter would be considered a covered relationship. If Somah Haaland is involved in lobbying on an issue or in activism on a matter, that could potentially create conflicts of interest for Secretary Haaland.”