Biden Admin Quietly Nukes Trump-Era ‘Transparency’ Initiative Tracking Settlements And Payouts To Left-Wing Activists

Posted 3 days ago

From DAILYCALLER.COM

The U. S. Department of the Interior (DOI) under President Joe Biden has revoked a Trump-era order that gives the public more information through a database on settlements and consent decrees between the government and outside interest groups. Republicans have often criticized so-called “sue and settle” cases, in which a group legally challenges a federal department it knows to agree on a specific issue, followed by the department voluntarily ending a dispute and enacting policy that perhaps would not pass through legislative or other means. “You have the ethical problem with [government officials] on the inside now making deals with their former colleagues and not telling anybody about it,” William Perry Pendley, the Trump-era director of the Bureau of Land Management, told The Daily Caller News Foundation. “There is money going to groups that are turning around and using that money to fund litigation to again sue their former colleagues who are now in office.”

President Joe Biden’s Department of the Interior (DOI) has quietly rolled back a Trump-era “transparency and accountability” order creating a public litigation website so people can track details pertaining to lawsuits from outside interest groups that Republicans argue cost taxpayers unwieldy sums.

Interior Secretary Deb Haaland revoked the order, which was issued in September 2018, on Friday. The order made details concerning settlements and consent decrees, as well as cash amounts paid to lawyers of private entities, accessible online.

The website was scrubbed following the Biden revocation order and sought to “alleviate” any concerns by the public that it may not have a voice in “policymaking.” It made the Office of the Solicitor and the Office of the Chief Information Officer “post” a “searchable list” of final decrees and settlements “that continue to govern departmental actions,” according to the Trump order.

“Taken together, these limitations are burdensome, duplicative, and hinder the effective resolution of complex litigation matters,” the Biden administration said in its order revocation. “Transparency and accountability are paramount values for the Department.”

Trump’s DOI order was designed to limit so-called “sue and settle” cases, in which a group legally challenges a federal department it knows to agree on a specific issue, followed by the department voluntarily ending a dispute and enacting policy that perhaps would not pass through legislative or other means. Republicans have often criticized this practice.

“The American people need to know what kinds of agreements are being made and what kinds of monies are being spent on the public’s behalf,” William Perry Pendley, the former director of the Bureau of Land Management between 2019 and 2021, told The Daily Caller News Foundation.  There are former environmental group staffers that now work in the Biden administration and there needs to be transparency of possible “deals” happening behind closed doors, said Pendley.

“You have the ethical problem with [government officials] on the inside now making deals with their former colleagues and not telling anybody about it,” said Pendley. “There is money going to groups that are turning around and using that money to fund litigation to again sue their former colleagues who are now in office.”

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