- By Darren Thompson
The letter states that Haaland’s daughter Somah Haaland —who has been employed by the PAA since 2020–traveled with the organization to lobby members of Congress to pass legislation that would prohibit lease sales for oil and gas development on federal land.
The letter demands Haaland turn over all communications between Somah and herself from March 16, 2021, to the present day, to the House Committee on Natural Resources before June 26, 2023.
“As you are aware, Federal agencies are responsible for fostering cultures of ethical conduct,” the Committee wrote. “Employees unable to act impartially are not qualified to perform their role in government. To ensure appropriate conduct, the U.S. Office of Government Ethics (OGE) issues ethical standards by which all executive branch employees must abide.”
On July 13, the Energy and Mineral Resources Subcommittee submitted a letter to the House Committee on Natural Resources’s Republican members citing Haaland’s history of advocacy for the protections around Chaco Canyon.
Prior to her election to the House of Representatives, Haaland published an opinion piece with VICE on October 23, 2017, where she wrote about additional protections surrounding the Chaco Canyon and asserts that it is her ancestral homeland.
The Committee wrote that they are interested in Haaland’s connections with the PAA.
PAA submitted a letter to Haaland with 101 organizations opposing bill H.R. 4337, which would roll back protections of the lands surrounding Chaco Canyon, and had a legislative hearing on July 13.
The House Committee’s June 5 letter also requested additional information regarding Secretary Haaland’s husband, Skip Sayre, and his ongoing consulting contracts with the Laguna Development Corporation (LDC). The letter states that Sayre was previously employed by the LDC in a leadership sales and marketing position and that the LDC is the operating “business arm” of the Pueblo of Laguna, where Haaland is an enrolled citizen.
The, signed by the Committee’s Republican members — Bruce Westerman (R-AR), Paul Gosar (R-AZ), Doug LaMalfa (R-CA), Russ Fulcher (R-ID), Pete Stauber (R-MN), Cliff Bentz (R-OR), Lauren Boebert (R-CO), Jerry Carl (R-AL), John Duarte (R-CA), Harriet Hageman (R-WY), and Anna Paulina Luna (R-FL) — stated that federal government officials cannot use their positions for the gain of family members or nonprofit organizations.
In an email to Native News Online, the Department of the Interior stated they will not be commenting on the requests from the House Committee.
This is a developing story.
This story has been updated to include a statement from the Department of the Interior.
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