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