On behalf of the Western Values Project, Democracy Forward filed suit against the Trump administration for failing to release documents detailing whether Deputy Secretary of the Interior David Bernhardt has complied with ethics requirements, including his pledge to recuse himself from working on matters involving his former clients, several of whom have benefitted from Department of Interior (DOI) decisions after Bernhardt took office. The case was filed after Interior failed to fulfill ten Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests by Western Values Project for Bernhardt’s official communications and other work
Prior to assuming the role of Deputy Secretary, Bernhardt served as chair of the natural resources group at a lobbying firm where he worked on behalf of mining and fossil fuel corporations. Since his swearing-in a year ago, the Department of the Interior has acted in ways that raise questions about Bernhardt’s compliance with his recusal. For example:
Western Values Project has submitted ten Freedom of Information Act requests to Interior relating to David Bernhardt, and received no responsive documents from the government.