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Suits allege Biden admin broke law by not sharing Interior Sec Haland, daughter communications

One lawsuit was filed Monday against the Interior Department and the other against the Bureau of Land Management to compel the agencies to comply with the watchdog's Freedom of Information Act requests.

Published: April 18, 2023 4:00pm

Updated: April 18, 2023 4:00pm

The non-profit watchdog group Protect the Public's Trust filed two federal lawsuits against the Biden administration for allegedly violating the law by not sharing communications regarding Interior Secretary Deb Haaland's daughter, who has lobbied federal legislators on issues involving oil and gas leasing that her mother oversees.

One lawsuit was filed Monday, against the Interior Department, and the other against the Bureau of Land Management to compel the agencies to comply with the watchdog's Freedom of Information Act requests, which were originally filed on Jan. 2, according to Fox News.

The secretary's daughter, Somah Haaland, a media organizer for the New Mexico environmental and cultural group the Pueblo Action Alliance, traveled late last year to Capitol Hill to argue against drilling in the state. Members of Congress also watched a film the activists screened warning against oil and gas leasing that Somah Haaland narrated.

"Her daughter’s activism and lobbying efforts certainly have the potential to create the perception in the minds of the public that Secretary Haaland could be conflicted on issues under her authority," said the watchdog's director, Michael Chamberlain. "Further complicating matters is the participation of an organization that claims Somah Haaland among its leadership in the protest that turned into a riot at the Interior headquarters." 

In 2021, the New Mexico activist group was involved in a protest where demonstrators attempted to breach the Interior Department's headquarters in Washington, D.C.

At the time, Somah Haaland sought to distance herself from her mother by posting on Instagram, "I have my own life and I am politically involved my own way that is separate from my mother. I have no influence or control over anything that she does."

Madeleine Hubbard is an international correspondent for Just the News. Follow her on Twitter or Instagram.

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