March 28, 2019

Wyden on Interior Secretary Nominee: “You sound like just another corrupt official”

Washington, D.C. – U.S. Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore., today announced his opposition to the nomination of David Bernhardt as Secretary of the Department of the Interior. Wyden pressed Bernhardt on his questionable ethics and conflicts of interest during his nomination hearing before the U.S. Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources.

Wyden, a senior member of the Committee, raised concerns over evidence recently made public that Bernhardt meddled with science and blocked the release of a U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service report on toxic pesticides.

“[Y]ou sound like just another corrupt official,” Wyden said on the matter during the hearing.

Wyden also highlighted Bernhardt’s myriad of conflicts, citing a recording of one of Bernhardt’s former clients bragging about having “direct access” to the nominee.

“I’m not claiming you’re Big Oil’s guy. The Big Oil lobbyists are making that claim,” Wyden said. “I think you are so conflicted that if you get confirmed you’re going to have one of two choices. One, you’re going to have to disqualify yourself from so many matters, I don’t know how you’re going to spend your day. Or two, you’re going to be making decisions that either directly or indirectly benefit former clients, regularly violating your ethics pledge.”

A video of the exchange between Wyden and Bernhardt can be found here.