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Committee Leadership Continues Investigating Agency Officials' Conflicts of Interest


WASHINGTON, D.C., June 15, 2021 -

Today, House Committee on Natural Resources Ranking Member Bruce Westerman (R-Ark.) and Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations Ranking Member Paul Gosar (R-Ariz.) sent a letter to U.S. Bureau of Land Management (BLM) deputy director of policies and programs Nada Culver and U.S. Department of the Interior's (DOI) designated agency ethics official Heather Gottry, raising concerns over Culver's potential conflicts of interest. This is the second oversight inquiry of this nature, as committee leadership requested similar documents from DOI official Elizabeth Klein on June 3, 2021. In part, the members wrote:

"Media reports indicate concerns about Ms. Culver’s ability to act impartially and whether she appropriately consulted ethics officials. Consultation with ethics officials prior to participating in matters that may present conflicts of interest or lead to the appearance of preferential treatment for Ms. Culver’s former employers is an essential feature of an ethically compliant culture.  

"Prior to Ms. Culver’s political appointment and employment at the Bureau of Land Management, she made a career of environmental activism related to matters she now handles in an official U.S. government capacity. For example, she is known as a 'sharp critic' of the Trump administration on matters including boundary modifications of Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante national monuments, sage grouse management, and oil and gas development on federal lands...

"Currently, Ms. Culver is exercising the delegated authority of the BLM director. Although the media reported President Biden considered nominating Ms. Culver as the BLM Director, Tracy Stone-Manning was ultimately selected. While official reasons for Ms. Culver not being selected are unclear, former president Obama’s BLM Director Bob Abby previously 'question[ed] whether Culver’s past positions as an advocate working at the Wilderness Society and Audubon could pose a problem with Senate confirmation.'

"As a result, Ms. Culver leads the BLM without the scrutiny of a Senate confirmation process. Additionally, unlike for Ms. Stone-Manning, Ms. Culver’s ethics agreement and financial disclosure statements are not public. Ms. Culver is, however, still subject to President Biden’s ethics standards. Therefore, for two years, she is prohibited from participating in 'any particular matter involving specific parties that is directly and substantially related to [her] former employer or former clients, including regulations and contracts.'"

Read the full letter here.


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Contact: Committee Press Office 202-226-9019

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