Drain The Swamp: Interior Secretary David Bernhardt’s former lobbying firm is cashing in on the Coronavirus pandemic

  • Published on May 5th, 2020

New research released today by Western Values Project reveals that Interior Secretary David Bernhardt’s former lobbying firm Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck (BHFS) — the one that lobbies for the Westlands Water District — is “cashing in” on the coronavirus pandemic. BHFS has reported a huge uptick in business from clients seeking Coronavirus bailouts from the Trump administration, gaining 17 new clients in recent weeks, including a Trump-connected mortgage company, the project reported.

Stop dirty oil lobbyist David Bernhardt from heading the Interior Department

By Dan Bacher

“While the average American suffers, industry lobbyists are using the coronavirus pandemic to squeeze all they can out of the Trump administration,” said Western Values Project Director Jayson O’Neill. “Even in the middle of an unprecedented pandemic, this administration is making sure K Street is better taken care of than Main Street. Trump and his special interest allies are just enriching the swamp that he once promised to drain.”

Background: Even Swamp Monsters Are Shocked by DOI Admin Bernhardt’s Corruption

O’Neill said one of BHFS’ new clients seeking to lobby the government on the COVID-19 response is Colony Capital, a real estate investment firm run by Tom Barrack, a “longtime friend” of Trump’s. Barrack wants Congress to provide “‘$500 billion to the Secretary of the Treasury to support programs or facilities for the purpose of providing liquidity to the financial system.’”

“Benefitting from Trump allies and administration actions is nothing new for the politically well-connected lobbying firm; since Trump’s election, BHFS has enjoyed increased business from lobbying clients seeking to influence the administration. And after former BHFS partner and mega-lobbyist David Bernhardt became Deputy Secretary of the Interior, BHFS’ business lobbying the Interior Department quadrupled,” said O’Neill.

“Although BHFS has been getting rich from coronavirus-related business, the firm also represents the nation of Saudi Arabia, whose recent actions launching an oil price war have exacerbated the financial crisis US oil producers are facing,” said O’Neill.

The Huffington Post reports that BHFS “has earned millions from both major U.S. oil interests backed by Trump and their Saudi rivals.”

Learn more about the special interests fueling the Trump administration at Accountable.US and ongoing efforts to carve out more big oil, coal, and mining bailouts at WesternValuesProject.org.

About the Author

Dan Bacher is an environmental journalist in Sacramento who focuses on California's water issues, a healthy environment for the salmon fishery of the Northwest, and the attempts by big agriculture and big oil to hog all the water.