House Committee introduces former Secretary of the Interior David Byrne for criminal prosecution

President Donald Trump is listening to US Secretary of the Interior David Byrne.

Secretary of the Interior David Byrne and then President Donald Trump in the East Room of the White House on July 8, 2019. (Carlos Barrier / Reuters)

The House of Representatives Natural Resources Committee First ever criminal introduction Sent to the Justice Department on Wednesday, Arizona real estate developer Mike Ingram, a campaign donor to Donald Trump, became a civil servant during Trump’s presidency, including then Deputy Secretary of State David Burnhart. He asked to investigate whether he had given a bribe.

Since 2019, the House Commission has investigated the October 2017 U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) decision to overturn previous opposition to proposed housing development in Benson, Arizona. Vineto village..The decision is Reversed again July 2021 after President Biden took office.

Steve Spangle, then FWS field supervisor, received a call, according to a report by the Commission in August 2017, during which a solicitor’s Interior Ministry lawyer asked Spangle to overturn the Army Engineers’ decision. .. You should consult with the FWS before reinstating the then-suspended Clean Water Act permit in the village of Vineto. The phone was reportedly “instructed by Dep. Bernhard after meeting Second Ingram.” Bernhard was the secretary of the interior from 2019 to 2021.

“Evidence strongly emphasizes that this decision was the result of a quid protocol between Vigneto developer Michael Ingram and possible Trump administration officials, including then DOI deputy secretary David Bernhardt. It suggests, “concluded the Commission’s report.

“The results of this study again show that the previous administration has abandoned career staff expertise and made a pay-to-play-based federal decision to fellow Trump and large donors,” said House Natural. D-Ariz, Chairman of the Resources Committee. Said in Statement released on Wednesday..

Democrat Raul Grijalva will speak at a hearing of the House Natural Resources Commission in turquoise and polar ties.

House Natural Resources Commission Chairman Raul Griharva, D-Arizona, June 2020, at a House Natural Resources Commission hearing in Washington, DC (Pool via Michael Reynolds / Reuters)

According to the committee, the development of Vineto is in an ecologically sensitive area. “The land where Vinhet will be developed is about two miles above the San Pedro River, the last major free-flowing river in the southwestern desert,” the Commission’s report said. “The surrounding ecosystem is a vulnerable yet very important habitat for many unique wildlife and is considered an important corridor for millions of migratory birds.”

As a result, the Army Corps was legally required to consult with the FWS under the Endangered Species Act, but withdrew the request for consultation after Trump took office. The Commission also documents that Ingram of Arizona and 12 other donors donated a total of $ 241,600 to the Republican National Committee, President Donald Trump and the State GOP Commission in 2017.

Katie Porter (D-Calif.), Chairman of the Subcommittee on Monitoring and Investigation of the Natural Resources Commission, issued a statement explicitly alleging corruption in the Trump administration.

“The exchange of money for certain government actions is the most obvious form of corruption, and Americans (Democrats, Republicans, independents) share the understanding that this kind of quidproquart erodes our democracy. I’m doing it, “said Porter. “In this case, our oversight is only a few weeks after the Trump administration’s Home Office dismissed a local career expert and a politically connected donor made a donation worth $ 250,000, environmental review requirements. Revealed that it has overturned its long-standing position on. Benefits from the Trump campaign. As this fact pattern requires at least additional fact-finding, the American people say the Trump administration is for the benefit of the people. Have an answer as to whether they acted in the interests of the highest bidders. “

Katie Porter at the hearing.

D-Calif. (Erin Scott / Reuters), chair of the Subcommittee on Monitoring and Investigation of the House Natural Resources Committee in Washington, DC in October 2019.

Bernhardt didn’t respond to Yahoo News’s request for comment before it went public, nor did he speak to Trump. Ingram’s real estate company, El Dorado Holdings, has sent a statement by lawyer Ranny Davis, a Washington, DC lawyer renowned for his many prominent political clients.

“The referrals sent by Chairman Grigalva and Chairman of the Porter Subcommittee are false, misleading and unfair, reminiscent of McCarthyism’s use of McCarthyism on behalf of the facts,” Davis said. “El Dorado participated in multiple meetings with this Commission, acted with full transparency and fully cooperated without a subpoena. Nevertheless, we refute the allegations in this introduction. The basic and basic opportunity to do so was denied, and even the opportunity to speak to the chair was denied. Unfortunately, Americans were insensitively accustomed to political attacks that had little to do with the truth, and this happened. Sometimes bipartisan anger is needed. It doesn’t matter if it’s a Democratic or Republican committee or a Democratic or Republican administration. I visit with Democratic and Republican members of this committee. And I will spend every minute convincing that what the Chair and the Chair of the Subcommittee have done is unjustified and did not fully report the fact that there was no misconduct by Mr Ingram or Mr El Dorado. I still believe that the final decision was made on the basis of law and facts. “

Environmental groups critical of DOI records during the Trump era saw referrals as proof.

“David Byrne has always said he couldn’t be Chief Cabinet Secretary because he compromised too much,” Jennifer Locala, managing director of the Western Priority Center, said in a statement. “This is proof of the straightforward favor of Pay for Play. Mike Ingram had a secret meeting with David Byrne in the early days of the Trump administration. Then Bernhard had a career official under him. On the same day that he turned over, cash flowed into the Trump campaign. “