Former Interior Secretary David Bernhardt was recently re-hired to his former lobbying firm, Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck, even after the promotion of anti-democratic policies throughout his scandal-ridden tenure at the Department of the Interior during the Trump administration 

Washington, D.C. — In light of the recent news that lobbying firm Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck has welcomed former Interior Secretary David Bernhardt back to its team, government watchdog groups Accountable.US and American Oversight released the following statement. 

“It’s alarming that any organization would want to be associated with the scandal-clad David Bernhardt, but this only exposes Brownstein Hyatt’s true values. Bernhardt used his power at the Interior Department to peddle misinformation and undermine our democracy, and Brownstein Hyatt’s clients that work with him run the risk of being complicit in those anti-democratic values,” said Kyle Herrig, president of Accountable.US.    

Just months ago, Accountable.US and American Oversight penned a letter urging the lobbying firm and clients to carefully scrutinize Bernhardt’s time in the Trump administration if he seeks to return to his lobbying career. The firm has chosen to forego this warning and instead embrace the anti-democratic, dishonest values associated with Bernhardt.   

Bernhardt’s track record at the Department of Interior speaks to why no reputable organization would want to be associated with him. Learn more below:

  • In June 2020, the U.S. Park Police, which Bernhardt oversaw, violently cleared Lafayette Square Park by tear gassing nonviolent protesters and attacking journalists — all so President Trump could stage a photo opportunity.
  • The Department of the Interior’s internal watchdog revealed that department officials under Bernhardt’s leadership deliberately withheld “sensitive” and potentially damaging records about him that were to be released as part of a lawsuit prior to his confirmation process. 
  • David Bernhardt was recused from 25 entities in his 2017 ethics documents
    • “[Bernhardt] carries a 4-inch-by-3-inch card that lists the companies he must avoid, to help him — and anyone showing up at Interior — navigate the ethical thicket.”
  • Just four days after his confirmation, Bernhardt became the subject of numerous ethics investigations by Interior’s watchdog. 
  • Bernhardt failed to provide public documents and skirted meetings with Congress while working to roll back public land and wildlife protections that might have benefited former clients.

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