Former oil industry lobbyist David Bernhardt was picked to replace embattled Interior Secretary and former Navy SEAL Ryan Zinke - who resigned after falling under investigation over a number of potential ethics violations while leading the department.
Now we learn that Bernhardt - confirmed less than a week ago, is under investigation by the Interior Department's office of Inspector General over allegations of conflict of interest and other violations while he was the agency's deputy secretary, according to the report.
The confirmation comes less than a week after the Senate confirmed Bernhardt to his position. It keeps the spotlight on the nation's top steward of public lands, whose past lobbying for energy and agribusiness clients drew scrutiny from Democrats during confirmation hearings.
The disclosure was made in a letter to Rep. Betty McCollum, D-Minn., and Sen. Tom Udall, D-N.M. Last month, the lawmakers asked the inspector general to look into whether there was anything improper about Bernhardt's participation in regulatory activity that affected former clients. Bernhardt previously chaired the natural resources practice at lobbying and law firm Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck.