Interior Secretary Deb Haaland faces ethics complaint over financial disclosure

She lives in a million-dollar home and made $174,000 a year as a representative, but did not report having any assets

Updated: July 20, 2022 - 7:55am

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Interior Secretary Deb Haaland may have violated financial disclosure reporting requirements, according to an ethics complaint being filed Wednesday by federal watchdog Protect the Public's Trust.

In her required financial disclosure, Haaland's only source of assets she reported was a "Tribal annual per capita payment" of $175. She also reported having $15,001 to $50,000 in student loan debt. 

When asked on the disclosure forms about positions held outside of the federal government and her income and retirement, Haaland wrote "None."

Before she joined the Biden administration, Haaland served as a New Mexico Democrat congresswoman making $175,000 a year. She also owns a home worth over $1 million in her home state. 

"Though appointees are not required to report income from federal employment on the form, they are required to report all bank and investment accounts with a balance of at least $5,000," said the group, founded by retired and former public servants.

"Despite this income and being gainfully employed prior to serving in the House, she declined to report any personal bank accounts or investment accounts."

Haaland has a history of issues with correctly filling out financial reports, including during her time in Congress.

Protect the Public's Trust filed the ethics complaint Wednesday with the Interior Department's Office of Inspector General. 

"Part of our mission is to ensure the public’s trust is not weakened when senior public officials attempt to inappropriately maneuver around their financial transparency obligations or deceive the public about their true and complete financial interests," the group also said.

"In light of multiple public filings by ... Haaland providing scant information about her actual net worth prior to her marriage last August, we believe the circumstances warrant a deeper review of whether assets ostensibly relied on to support Secretary Haaland were all properly disclosed."

Michael Chamberlain, the group's director said, "If the Biden administration is to live up to its promise to be the most ethical and most transparent in history, it would be prudent for Secretary Haaland to go above and beyond the bare minimum reporting requirements."