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David Bernhardt Faces Ethics Questions During Senate Hearing

David Bernhardt faced the Senate for a confirmation hearing for Secretary of Interior.
David Bernhardt faced the Senate for a confirmation hearing for Secretary of Interior.

Acting Interior Secretary David Bernhardt faced fiery questions during his senate confirmation hearing Thursday.


Senator Ron Wyden, D-Ore., wasted no time lambasting Bernhardt for his relationship with old clients.   

“Your former clients on the oil and gas industry have been caught on tape crowing about how you’re their guy at Interior."

Wyden also accused Bernhardt of quote “meddling with the science.” The Senator was referring to Bernhardt blocking the release of a U.S. Fish and Wildlife report that analyzed the effects of toxic chemicals on wildlife. 

Bernhardt insisted that he did nothing wrong and that the report didn’t have a sufficient legal review. In his opening statement, he promised to lead the Interior to a high standard of ethics. 

“I know how important and how devastating it is when folks at the top act in an unethical manner,” Bernhardt said. “It affects the department across the board.” 

Republican Senator Cory Gardner from Colorado jumped to Bernhardt’s defense. 

“This is why good people don’t want to serve this country, because people on this committee and others around this capitol decide they can attack the witnesses and impugn their character.” 

Bernhardt’s nomination is expected to pass the Republican-dominated Senate. 

Find reporter Amanda Peacher on Twitter  @amandapeacher .

Copyright 2019 Boise State Public Radio

This story was produced by the Mountain West News Bureau, a collaboration between Wyoming Public Media, Boise State Public Radio in Idaho,  KUER in Salt Lake City and KRCC and KUNC in Colorado.

Copyright 2020 Boise State Public Radio News. To see more, visit Boise State Public Radio News.

Amanda Peacher is an Arthur F. Burns fellow reporting and producing in Berlin in 2013. Amanda is from Portland, Oregon, where she works as the public insight journalist for Oregon Public Broadcasting. She produces radio and online stories, data visualizations, multimedia projects, and facilitates community engagement opportunities for OPB's newsroom.
Amanda Peacher
Amanda Peacher works for the Mountain West News Bureau out of Boise State Public Radio. She's an Idaho native who returned home after a decade of living and reporting in Oregon. She's an award-winning reporter with a background in community engagement and investigative journalism.
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