Biden Environmental Appointee Faces Conflict of Interest Scrutiny on Hill

House Republicans have joined a watchdog complaint against the acting director of the Bureau of Land Management, questioning whether the former environmental activist has improperly given favor to her former employees.

Following a Monday complaint by Protect the Public’s Trust regarding acting director Nada Culver’s implementation of her former employer’s policy agenda, Reps. Bruce Westerman (R., Ark.) and Paul Gosar (R., Ariz.) wrote to the Department of the Interior’s ethics office requesting further information about any conflicts of interest.

“Ms. Culver’s known positions on the issues she is now tasked with deliberating raises serious doubts about her impartiality during the decision-making process,” the Republican congressmen, both on the House Committee on Natural Resources, wrote in a letter. The initial complaint alleges that Culver did the bidding of the National Audubon Society, a radical environmentalist special interest group, by taking lead on the Biden administration’s ban on drilling in Alaska.

The letter comes as President Joe Biden’s nominee to permanently helm the Bureau of Land Management, Tracy Stone-Manning, comes under fire for collaborating with eco-terrorists who spent years in prison over “tree-spiking,” a dangerous tactic used by environmentalists to stop deforestation. Culver will remain the agency’s acting director until the Senate confirms her replacement.

Westerman told the Washington Free Beacon that his committee is taking oversight of new Biden administration officials seriously, and Culver’s favoritism toward her former employer is “deeply concerning.”

“Culver’s various conflicts of interest—particularly when it comes to her involvement in Public Land Orders and previous non-government employment—are deeply concerning,” Westerman said.

Protect the Public’s Trust, the watchdog group, said the congressional letter raised new conflicts it wasn’t aware of regarding her decades of lobbying the agency she now runs. While working at the Wilderness Society as an attorney, she created the “BLM Action Center,” which worked to push the bureau toward conservation goals by “engaging in the agency’s decision making process.” The Wilderness Society filed several lawsuits against the Trump administration’s Bureau of Land Management while she was with the group.

Michael Chamberlain, the watchdog group’s executive director, told the Free Beacon the letter adds to its existing concerns.

“Combining the information revealed by the members of the committee with what Protect the Public’s Trust was able to uncover, the American public would rightfully have very serious concerns about Ms. Culver’s ability to act impartially,” Chamberlain said.

Chamberlain said the Biden administration is falling short on ethics issues, especially after lofty promises.

“The Biden administration promised to be the most ethically vigorous administration in history,” Chamberlain said. “If high-level officials are being allowed to do their former employers’ bidding, the American public is right to be skeptical of that promise and to question what purpose the Biden Ethics Pledge serves.”

The Bureau of Land Management did not respond to requests for comment on the complaint.

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