Wild Horse Organization Accuses BLM Deputy Director of Illegal Action and Calls for Investigation by OIG
Washington, DC — Friday, June 14, Wild Horse Education (WHE)) filed a complaint with the Department of the Interior’s Inspector General (IG) urging an investigation into the appointment, and actions, of the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) Deputy Director Brian Steed.
Brian Steed did not fulfill requirements of working for the agency for a minimum of 90 days prior to being appointed by former Secretary Ryan Zinke. A month after he assumed the role of Deputy Director he was given the authority of the Director, a position that requires Presidential appointment.
It should be noted that BLM has had no Director, nor appointment for the position, during the entire Trump administration.
The complaint, filed today, states:
Brian Steed did not meet the criteria for appointment. This may, in fact, invalidate any decision made through his temporary authorization to “act as Director.”
“An action taken by any person who is not acting under section 3345, 3346, or 3347, or as provided by subsection (b), in the performance of any function or duty of a vacant office to which this section and sections 3346, 3347, 3349, 3349a, 3349b, and 3349c apply shall have no force or effect.” 5 U.S.C. § 3348(d)(1) (Emphasis added).
“Brian Steed is still working for Chris Stewart (R-UT) and the corporate interests that are fully represented in Stewart’s recent actions in the Appropriations process,” stated Laura Leigh, Wild Horse Education President. “Steed’s fingerprints are all over the document created while Steed was Chief of Staff for Stewart. Now he is using that as a basis to ask for programmatic funding and deep changes to wild horse policy by the BLM.”
One of the actions under serious suspicion, and should be a key point or stand alone investigation by your office, is the “Path Forward” document that Chris Stewart (R-UT) has introduced, and Steed has incorporated into the BLM Report to Congress on the Wild Horse and Burro program. While in Stewart’s office, Steed himself was involved in the creation of this document. The document that Stewart call an agreement, with a “corporate alliance,” that he presented to Congress, was admittedly begun in 2015 (through statements made by Stewart).
“This is an absolute outrage and goes way beyond a simple statement of conflict of interest. This is blatant thumbing the nose to any concept of ethics and responsibility to the American public. Steed will bulldoze the path for his former employer to get deep programmatic changes that include mass removals, brutal surgical sterilization and create millions of dollars in further subsidies of the back of the wild horse, that he himself took part in creating. The flagrant lack of ethics makes your head spin. I never thought this is what ‘my America’ would become.”
The group asks prompt attention from the Interior Inspector General as Steed pushes this agenda in the fiscal 2020 Appropriations debate, happening now.