A Quid Pro Quo Scheme To Damage the Environment

It’s been over a year since the Trump administration left office and more of its dirty dealings continue to come to light. We can’t let them get away with it or we will just inspire others to do even worse in the future.

That’s why SEEC members Rep. Raúl Grijalva and Rep. Katie Porter have called for a criminal investigation into former Interior Secretary David Bernhardt for engaging in a “quid pro quo” deal with an Arizona developer.

Their 37-page letter to Attorney General Garland focuses on a 2017 decision by the Fish and Wildlife Service to reverse a previous demand for an environmental review for a 28,000-homes residential development in Benson, Arizona. The Fish and Wildlife Service reasoned that the development needed assessment for its impacts on threatened or endangered species, including indirect effects like water usage.

However, that decision was quickly reversed the day after the residential developer and his associates made “highly unusual out-of-cycle donations” totaling $242,000 to Trump’s fundraising committees.

The letter also outlines the play-by-play of how this alleged exchange took place through various contacts between the Arizona developer and the Trump administration, including a breakfast meeting with Bernhardt that was left off of public calendars.

From our vantage point, this is an open-and-shut case of “quid pro quo” at the expense of the environment, orchestrated by someone who should be one of the government’s top environmental stewards.

SEEC members are calling out corruption when they uncover it and are holding ex-Trump administration members like David Bernhardt accountable for their environmental harm. Help take on anti-environment bad actors by rushing a contribution today to support their work.