See How the Interior Department Has Tried to Stifle Ethical Doubts Raised About Its Acting Chief
When it comes to acting Interior Secretary David Bernhardt’s involvement in plans to loosen environmental restrictions on water flows, a few things are clear and many more are murky. “The public now can’t be sure if these decisions were made because they’re in the best interest of the public, or because acting Secretary Bernhardt has a former client with a big interest in getting this water and he put his thumb on the scale to make it happen,” says Delaney N. Marsco, ethics counsel for the Campaign Legal Center in Washington, which has questioned the ethics rulings.
The Campaign’ Legal Center maintains that Bernhardt’s activities violate not only the letter, but the spirit of the ethics rules. “The spirit of the whole ethics regime is to avoid even the appearance of impropriety,” Marsco says. “They exist because people need to have trust that their government officials are acting in the public interest.”
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