By Jon Dougherty
When POTUS Donald Trump and others of his administration complain that Democrats and the Left-wing ‘deep state’ are united in opposing him for the sake of opposition and nothing more, they’re not kidding, as the latest #resist effort proves.
Newly-installed Interior Secretary David Bernhardt has only been in office for a week and he’sÂ already under investigation by his own agency’s inspector general.
Bernhardt, a former lobbyist who served as Interior’s deputy secretary, replaced President Trump’s first pick, former Navy SEAL Ryan Zinke, who resigned after he fell under investigation as well for alleged ethics violations.
Now it’s Bernhardt’s turn,Â CNBC reports:
The confirmation comes less than a week after the Senate confirmed Bernhardt to his position.Â It keeps the spotlight on the nationâ€™s top steward of public lands, whose past lobbying for energy and agribusiness clients drew scrutiny from Democrats during confirmation hearings.
The disclosure was made in a letter to Rep. Betty McCollum, D-Minn., and Sen. Tom Udall, D-N.M. Last month, the lawmakers asked the inspector general to look intoÂ whether there was anything improper about Bernhardtâ€™s participation in regulatory activity that affected former clients. Bernhardt previously chaired the natural resources practice at lobbying and law firm Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck.
Deputy Inspector General Mary Kendall told the lawmakers the office â€œhas received seven complaints, including yours, from a wide assortment of complainants and have opened an investigation to address them.â€
Translation: Because Trump’s Interior picks share his vision of opening federal lands to more commercial development while turning over more responsibility for them to states, the Left-wing environmental extremist lobby that has long controlled the department’s bureaucracy is doing everything in its power to thwart that agenda.
Even to the detriment of the national economy and the federal government.
The requested investigation came afterÂ The New York Times reported that Bernhardt was involved in helping to ease wildlife protections what would benefit former farming clients in California. The Times said that Bernhardt continued working for a former client — the Westlands Water District — after he stopped lobbying several months earlier.
A spokesperson for the Interior Department told theÂ TimesÂ that the secretary’s work did not constitute “regulated lobbying activity.” The official added thatÂ Bernhardt “is in complete compliance with his ethics agreement and all applicable laws, rules, and regulations.”
“Secretary Bernhardt is hopeful the Inspector General will expeditiously complete a review of the facts associated with the questions raised by Democratic Members of Congress and DC political organizations,” said Press Secretary Faith Vander Voort in a statement.
Before Zinke, another of Trump’s environmental conservatives, EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt, resigned last July amid at leastÂ 14 separate federal investigations over his spending habits, management habits and potentialÂ conflicts of interest.
As we reported in April 2018, insiders at the Environmental Protection Agency said that Pruitt was being set up.
Former Trump campaign officialÂ Kevin Chmielewski, also a former EPA deputy chief of staff for operations,Â supplied congressional Democrats with a lengthy list of accusations regarding Pruitt, claiming â€œwasteful spendingâ€ and a â€œdisregard for ethical and legal requirements.â€
TheÂ Daily Caller added:
But many of Chmielewskiâ€™s claims have been called into question by two sources familiar with Pruittâ€™s security detail. One source told The Daily Caller News Foundation of Chmielewskiâ€™s claims that â€œmore than 60 percent is false, the other 40 percent is information he distorted.â€
One of the objectives of the Democrat-aligned Washington establishment is to make POTUS Trump and his administration so radioactive that no one wants to come near it. That should help you understand these unprecedented numbers of investigations.
- Follow Jon Dougherty on Twitter at @JonDougherty10