Warren calls Zinke, deputy 'corrupt' over lobbying ties

Warren calls Zinke, deputy 'corrupt' over lobbying ties
© Anna Moneymaker

Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth WarrenTrump criticizes Redskins, Indians over potential name changes The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - Trump wants schools to reopen, challenged on 'harmless' COVID-19 remark Judd Gregg: The coming Biden coup MORE (D) criticized Interior Secretary Ryan ZinkeRyan Keith ZinkeOVERNIGHT ENERGY: Senior Interior official contacted former employer, violating ethics pledge: watchdog | Ag secretary orders environmental rollbacks for Forest Service | Senate advances public lands bill in late-night vote Senior Interior official contacted former employer, violating ethics pledge: watchdog Overnight Energy: Trump officials may pursue offshore drilling after election, report says | Energy regulators to delay projects pending appeals | EPA union calls for 'moratorium' on reopening plans MORE on Thursday over reports that one of his top deputies has ties to lobbying groups.

"Ryan Zinke isn't the only corrupt official in the Department of the @Interior. Take a look at his second in command: @DOIDepSec & former oil lobbyist David Bernhardt, who Interior watchdogs are calling 'the ultimate DC swamp creature,' " she tweeted, adding the hashtag "#EndCorruptionNow."

Warren linked to a story from the left-leaning Mother Jones that described Bernhardt as doing the "dirty work" at Interior. The story suggested that Bernhardt has been effective in pushing Trump energy policies to the detriment of the environment, and argued he could conceivably become Interior secretary if Zinke departed.

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In his confirmation hearings, Mother Jones notes that Bernhardt, confirmed in July, plede, referring to his former lobbying groups.

“If I get a whiff of something coming my way that involves a client or involves my firm, I’m going to make that item run straight to the ethics office," he added.

A request for comment Friday to the Interior Department from The Hill was not immediately answered.