Friday, March 30, 2007

Science loses to property at the Interior Department

Landowner Issues Trumped Animal Protections, IG Says

A senior Bush political appointee at the Interior Department has repeatedly altered scientific field reports to minimize protections for imperiled species and disclosed confidential information to private groups seeking to affect policy decisions, the department's inspector general concluded.

The report also said MacDonald "misused her position" by disclosing confidential documents to "private sector sources" such as the Pacific Legal Foundation and the California Farm Bureau Federation, both of which have challenged endangered-species listings.

MacDonald acknowledged to Devaney that the policy document would not have been released under a Freedom of Information Act request but "said that did not mean she could not release it to a personal friend, the PLF attorney, as long as the attorney would not post the document on the PLF's Web site."

In the Bush administration, it's all about who you know. MacDonald had no problem denying confidential information to the public under FOIA requests. But felt it was completely acceptable to give it to a personal friend with a financial stake in the outcome. Maybe this is what got Libby in trouble.

h/t CarpetBaggerReport

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