(LibertySociety.com) – A non-profit watchdog group called Protect the Publics Trust (PPT) has reportedly sued the Biden administration for withholding documents they requested through the Freedom of Information Act. According to Fox News, PPT requested the documents back in January 2023 from the Department of Interior (DOI) and the Bureau of Land Management (BLM), seeking communications between the agencies and the daughter of Deb Haaland, Secretary of the Department of Interior. Haaland’s daughter, Somah, is a political activist and member of the environmental group Pueblo Action Alliance (PAA). She is a media organizer for the group and has been directly in contact with the DOI and BLM.
The lawsuit filed is an effort for the court to demand the turning over of the communications between Somah Haaland and top agency officials at the DOI and BLM. Michael Chamberlain, Director of PPT, believes that Haaland’s daughter’s activism could cause Americans to perceive that Secretary Haaland “could be conflicted on issues under her authority.” Somah Haaland has visited Washington D.C. to lobby lawmakers and government officials, most recently in December 2022 when the PAA showed a film. The film, which was narrated by Somah, demonstrated why they believe that oil and gas leasing is a threat to the Chaco Cultural National Historic Park.
Officials from some government agencies attended the screening, along with Senator Martin Heinrich, D-N.M., and Representative Teresa Leger Fernandez, D-N.M. PPT’s FOIA request regarding this event include communications between Somah and government officials, including DOI Secretary Haaland. PPT believes that unless forced, these agencies have no intentions of turning over the requested documents. Chamberlain blasted President Biden, who “promised a return to normalcy,” saying that the relationship between officials and controversial political activists is not normal. Members of the PAA were involved in a protest that turned violent at the DOI in Washington D.C. in 2021, during which they also attempted to gain access to the DOI headquarters. Notably, an energy group out of Colorado recently requested an ethics investigation into Deb Haaland, citing the actions of her daughter and the PAA.
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