For Immediate Release

Organization Profile: 
Contact: 

Yetta Stein, Communications Associate

Western Values Project

yetta@westernvaluesproject.org

(406) 529-1682

Watchdog Launches Mobile Billboard Highlighting Washington D.C.’s Most Corrupt Duo

Billboard Focuses on How David Bernhardt’s Former Clients are Calling the Shots at Interior.

Whitefish, MT. - Today, Montana-based public lands watchdog Western Values Project launched a mobile billboard titled ‘Corrupt and Corrupter’ showcasing Washington D.C.’s most corrupt duo: President Donald J. Trump and Interior Secretary David L. Bernhardt. The billboard specifically highlights how Sec. Bernhardt is allowing his former clients, like the Independent Petroleum Association of America (IPAA), to call the shots at Interior at the expense of America’s public lands and shared resources.

“To hold the dubious honor of being President Trump’s most corrupt and conflicted cabinet member takes some serious swampiness. But Secretary Bernhardt keeps one-upping Trump’s other swampy members by allowing his former clients, like IPAA, to influence nearly every decision at Interior related to public lands, wildlife, and resources,” said Jayson O’Neill, Western Values Project Deputy Director. “There is still a chance for Congress to save America’s outdoor heritage and hold Secretary Bernhardt accountable for turning Interior into his own personal lobby shop.”

The mobile billboard will be traveling around Washington D.C. the entire week of December 9, looping in front of the White House and Interior’s office buildings throughout the metro area. Passersby and viewers are encouraged to take photos with the billboard, share them online with the hashtag #StopBernhardt, and sign an online petition demanding Congress hold Bernhardt accountable. The petition already has over 100,000 signatures.

GRQC_GTDblZm94l7p5Ki_mnPk3zbO_Mlg9eYYcmr

“This billboard, which should turn some heads, would be funny if so much wasn’t at stake,” O’Neill continued. 

Shortly after being sworn-in as President, and before Bernhardt became the department’s deputy director, Trump signed an executive order promoting ‘energy dominance’ that gave Bernhardt the green light to immediately begin exploiting America’s public lands and shared resources.

Bernhardt, the ultimate D.C. swamp creature and extractive resource mega-lobbyist by trade, declared some 26 conflicts-of-interest that he was to be recused from working on for two years under Trump’s so-called ethics order. Immediately after a historically controversial confirmation vote to become the department’s secretary, Bernhardt became the subject of a multi-faceted investigation by Interior’s internal watchdog for allegedly violating ethics rules after working on particular matters that benefited his former clients.

While the investigation is still ongoing, an Office of Government Ethics’ annual report released this summer and additional reporting from ProPublica confirmed that Sec. Bernhardt and other Trump political appointees at the department violated the administration’s so-called ethics pledge with impunity.

News reports, Western Values Project, and many other watchdog and public land groups have documented IPAA’s and Bernhardt’s former clients’ outsized influence on the department and its decisions since he came on board in August of 2017.

Background:

Recording Reveals Oil Industry Execs Laughing at Trump Access

IPAA and other Oil and Gas Corporations Thank You Letter to Sec. Bernhardt

Oil and Gas Industry Communication with Interior and Bureau of Land Management on Sage-Grouse Habitat Overhaul

IPAA Influenced Decisions by U.S. Fish and Wildlife Services

IPAA Lawyer Blasts Trump’s Interior Department as Incompetent

Interior’s Second-in-Command Nominee Fast-Tracks IPAA Member Oil Corporation’s Permit

New Report Details Consequences of Bureau of Land Management Move

BLM’s New Headquarters Co-Locating with Oil and Gas

###

This is the world we live in. This is the world we cover.

Because of people like you, another world is possible. There are many battles to be won, but we will battle them together—all of us. Common Dreams is not your normal news outlet. We don't survive on clicks. We don't want advertising dollars. We want the world to be a better place. But we can't do it alone. It doesn't work that way. We need you. If you can help today—because every gift of every size matters—please do. Without Your Support We Won't Exist.

Please select a donation method:



Western Values Project brings accountability to the national conversation about Western public lands and national parks conservation – a space too often dominated by industry lobbyists and their allies in government.

Share This Article