Trump’s interior secretary misusing post to aid California water district, complaint says

McClatchy DC Bureau

The nonpartisan Campaign Legal Center filed a complaint accusing Bernhardt of ethics violations by partaking in decisions directly related to his past lobbying work, resulting in rules that would free up more river water to Fresno-based Westlands and weakening protections for certain endangered fish populations. “In California, water is increasingly scarce and government officials are expected to protect public resources in the public interest,” said Delaney Marsco, ethics counsel at Campaign Legal Center.

“He knows that there was an ethical cloud over any actions he took concerning Westlands,” said Brendan Fischer, director of the Campaign Legal Center. “He should have taken every step possible to alleviate ethical concerns.” Emails obtained by Campaign Legal Center show Bernhardt was directly involved in November 2016 in the drafting of Trump’s executive order to direct the Interior Department to “maximize water supplies” to water entities such as Westlands.

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