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Committee Members Investigate Haaland's Conflicts of Interest Following Chaco Canyon Announcement

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Today, House Committee on Natural Resources Chairman Bruce Westerman (R-Ark.) led a letter to U.S. Department of the Interior (DOI) Secretary Deb Haaland, conducting oversight into her potential conflicts and compliance with ethics obligations. Given DOI's announcement late last week regarding the mineral withdrawal surrounding the Chaco Culture National Historical Park, these issues are particularly concerning. In part, the members wrote:

"Prior to joining the Biden Administration as Secretary of the Department of the Interior, Secretary Haaland was evidently involved with the Pueblo Action Alliance (PAA), a New Mexico based environmental and social justice organization that frequently engages in advocacy, protests, and lobbying throughout the United States. PAA and its leaders advocate for the dismantling of America’s economic and political system and believe America is irredeemable because there is no 'opportunity to reform a system that isn’t founded on good morals or values.' PAA’s work includes efforts to restrict domestic oil and gas production. Secretary Haaland has purportedly met with PAA leaders during her time as Secretary of the Interior to discuss PAA’s opposition to oil and gas production on federal lands. The Department of the Interior is responsible for managing oil and gas production on federal lands. 

"It is reported that Secretary Haaland’s daughter, Somah Haaland (Somah), has been employed by PAA since at least 2020. In 2022, Somah was involved in a PAA trip to Capitol Hill to 'lobby members of Congress' on legislation that would prohibit lease sales for oil and gas development on federal land. Earlier this year, Somah represented PAA at a People vs. Fossil Fuels rally and declared 'we all need to work together to stop oil and gas developments.' 

"Additionally, Secretary Haaland’s latest annual public financial disclosure report indicates that her husband, Skip Sayre, consults for the Laguna Development Corporation. Skip Sayre was previously employed in a leadership sales and marketing role for the Laguna Development Corporation. The Laguna Development Corporation is the 'business arm' for the Pueblo of Laguna. The Pueblo of Laguna is a federally recognized tribal entity that is eligible to receive funding and services from the Bureau of Indian Affairs. The Bureau of Indian Affairs is a federal agency within the Department of the Interior."

Read the full letter here.