Trump Stuffs Cabinet With Lobbyists

A complaint filed by the nonprofit Campaign Legal Center alleged that shortly after joining the department in August 2017 Bernhardt became involved in matters that were the focus of his lobbying for California’s Westlands Water District that lasted until mid-November 2016. Westlands has federal contracts to provide irrigation water to 700 family-owned farms in the fertile San Joaquin Valley. The complaint said Bernhardt had “lobbied on discrete provisions of a law directing Interior to maximize water supplies to his clients, and to minimize Endangered Species Act protections in that region.” Then, after joining Interior, Bernhardt breached his ethics pledge by directing government officials under him “to advance the particular matters he had previously lobbied on,” according to the complaint. “It is very hard to tell where Bernhardt’s lobbying career ended and where his public service begins,” said Brendan Fischer, director of the Campaign Legal Center’s federal reform program.

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