Deb Haaland caught in another ethics conundrum

U.S. Interior Department Sec. Deb Haaland is once again in hot water — this time not because of what she directly did. Rather, Haaland’s daughter, Somah Haaland, is causing headaches for the Democrat, 62, after she was caught lobbying members of Congress to support a moratorium on oil and gas leasing near Chaco Canyon. 

Fox News reported, “Somah Haaland – who is a media organizer for the Pueblo Action Alliance, a cultural and environmental group in New Mexico – traveled to Capitol Hill alongside a group of fellow climate activists, according to the environmental group WildEarth Guardians. The activists argued that drilling near the Chaco Culture National Historical Park in northwestern New Mexico would cause irreparable damage to local communities and the environment.”

As well as lobbying federal officials to adopt enviro-Marxist policies, Somah Haaland screened a film for lawmakers narrated by her that “showcases the threats posed by oil and gas leasing in the region,” according to a release from WildEarth Guardians. Those in attendance to watch the film included Sen. Martin Heinrich (D-NM) and Rep. Teresa Leger Fernandez (D-NM), as well as “agency officials.” 

The Fox News report noted, “Meanwhile, the Bureau of Land Management (BLM), a subagency within Secretary Deb Haaland’s Department of Interior (DOI) that is tasked with managing nearly 250 million acres of federal lands, is expected to soon finalize a rule acceding to activists’ demands. Earlier this month, the agency closed a comment period for its proposal to withdraw 351,500 acres of public lands within 10 miles of the Chaco site for 20 years.”

Kathleen Sgamma, the president of the Western Energy Alliance, told Fox News, “In our comments on the withdrawal, we pointed out the conflict of interest Secretary Haaland already has as a member of a Puebloan nation that is advocating for the 10-mile buffer,” adding, “Her daughter actively lobbying for the buffer highlights the conflict of interest and lack of discretion.”

Both the Western Energy Alliance and the Navajo Nation Council are vehemently against the moratorium proposal. 

Sgamma continued, “The department is completely ignoring a compromise solution advanced by the Navajo Nation, whose lands are directly affected by the decision, whereas the Puebloan people are hundreds of miles away,” saying, “It appears that Secretary Haaland’s interests and kinship ties are clouding her ability to make a reasoned, balanced decision.”

The ethical conundrum with Haaland’s daughter is by far not the only situation the Interior secretary is battling. She currently is the subject of a Hatch Act complaint after she endorsed Democrat candidates in partisan races, has been sued by watchdog groups over unreleased travel logs and is the subject of investigations regarding her shady financial disclosures.

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