Lobbyists get bang for the bucks at Interior

Dec 19, 2019

Clients have paid Secretary Bernhardt’s former firm $12 million to lobby the agency he now controls — and they’re getting results

Before joining Trump’s Interior Department, David Bernhardt was a high-priced lobbyist at Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck (BHFS), a major law firm. Since his nomination, BHFS’ revenues from lobbying the Interior Department have increased 310%, as dozens of companies in the drilling, mining, gaming, and water industries have sought to gain access and influence key decisions. Nearly three years into Bernhardt’s tenure at Interior, many of these clients are seeing their projects and policies advanced, from new mines and natural gas pipelines to weakened oil and gas regulations.

An analysis of lobbying disclosure forms finds that, since David Bernhardt’s nomination to become Deputy Interior Secretary on April 28, 2017, 36 clients have paid Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck a total of $11.96 million to lobby the Interior Department, including 19 clients that hired the firm after Bernhardt’s nomination. Of those 36 clients, at least 24 have seen their projects or policies advanced in some way by the agency.