Watchdog Looks for Answers on Klein’s Conflicts

Watchdog Looks for Answers on Klein’s Conflicts

  • June 22, 2021

Interior ethics documents for Haaland’s top lawyer raise more questions

Today, Federal watchdog Protect the Public’s Trust weighed in on the ethics documents provided by the Department of the Interior to the House Committee on Energy and Natural Resources outlining the many recusals of Elizabeth Klein, Senior Counselor to Secretary Deb Haaland. The documents provided, and those not provided, prompted a follow up letter by the Committee asking for additional information and clarifications around the timing of the documents’ effective dates.

The ethics documents were dated the day following the Committee’s request on June 3rd, more than a week after Ms. Klein testified she would provide her ethics agreement in place at the time of her testimony. With more than 40 entities listed, including her husband’s numerous lobbying clients and five states she represented on behalf of her former employer, the public is right to wonder whether the list is accurate and comprehensive, and reflects the original list provided when Ms. Klein started.

“As expected, Elizabeth Klein’s ethics paperwork shows she has a significant list of potential conflicts,” Michael Chamberlain, Director of Protect the Public’s Trust, said. “Do she and the Department really expect the public to believe she was able to navigate these effectively for nearly five months without an official screening process in place? The timing of these agreements and their release to Congress also raises more questions than they answer. None of these facts instill confidence in the American public that the Department is being transparent about Ms. Klein’s activities to date.”