Even in the context of Donald Trump’s other anti-government, pro-corporate hires, his choice of industry lobbyist David Bernhardt for the No. 2 position in the Department of the Interior is remarkably cynical.

Bernhardt, who ran the natural resources department at lobbying and law firm Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck, has spent the last several years working on behalf of oil and gas companies and large agribusiness to weaken environmental protections.

His lobbying appears to have continued into this current year:

The Campaign for Accountability accused Bernhardt of continuing to lobby for a client, the Westlands Water District in California, after withdrawing his registration as a lobbyist last November, the Washington Post reported Friday. In a letter to the Justice Department asking it to investigate the claim, the group contended Bernhardt edited a draft executive order for then-President-elect Donald Trump involving water issues that stood to benefit Westlands Water.

The suggestion here is that the man is, in addition to an advocate for the very groups most wanting to take over more of the nation’s resources on the cheap, also crooked. If he is not crooked, he will have to recuse himself from much of his actual day job due to his myriad conflicts of interest; if he is crooked, he will sally forth despite those conflicts and dare the nation’s ethical watchdogs and law enforcement officials to stop him.

He was of course confirmed by the Senate on Monday, because nothing matters anymore.

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This is a Creative Commons article. The original version of this article appeared here.


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